Big South ponders Campbell

February 02, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

The Big South Conference has its share of problems, the least of which is that Towson State is pursuing a move to the North Atlantic Conference.

There remains the matter of what to do about Campbell University, which surprised the league by announcing last month that it intends to leave the Big South this summer.

Campbell's announcement has sparked two questions. Will the Big South take legal action against Campbell for violating the conference charter? And if Campbell follows through on its intention to leave, will the conference temporarily lose its automatic bid to the NCAA men's basketball tournament?

"In May of 1992, the conference unanimously passed a constitutional amendment requiring two years' notice, and that motion was made by the president of Campbell [Norman Wiggins]," said Big South commissioner George Sasser.

"We feel like this school has not fulfilled their part of the contract," he added. "We expect athletes to follow rules. We expect schools to follow NCAA rules. We should expect members to follow conference rules. We're consulting with legal counsel on the best approach."

Campbell's move would also jeopardize the Big South's automatic bid next year. The NCAA requires that, to obtain an automatic bid, a conference must contain six schools with at least five years of membership. Campbell is one of six charter members of the 10-year-old league.

Sasser said the conference may apply for a one-year waiver from the NCAA, since the league would again meet automatic qualifier requirements in 1996. Sasser added that conference president Anthony DiGiorgio plans to release a statement next week regarding Campbell.

UMBC is staying

The Big South developments have been watched with interest by UMBC, which joined the conference with Towson State in July 1992.

UMBC athletic director Charlie Brown said, regardless of how the conference resolves the Campbell situation, UMBC will compete the Big South next year, although Brown added the school's long-term interest may lie elsewhere. The school has been contacted by the North Atlantic and East Coast conferences.

"When we joined the Big South, we let them know this might not be our final resting place. This [the Campbell controversy] has not had any influence on our future plans," Brown said. "If we lose the automatic bid next year, we wouldn't be happy about, it but it would only be a one-year loss. We'll be in the Big South next year. In the long term, we're keeping our options open."

Stoffey, Loyola on a roll

Five weeks ago, Loyola's women's basketball team was wondering what it would take to earn a victory. These days, Loyola opponents are wondering what it will take to stop junior forward Patty Stoffey.

Stoffey scored 23 and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds Monday night, as the Greyhounds rolled to a 73-63 victory over Manhattan. The victory pulled Loyola (8-8, 6-1) within a half-game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference lead. And to think it took seven tries for the Greyhounds' first victory.

Loyola has won six of its past eight games, thanks largely to Stoffey, who earned her second MAAC Player of the Week honor last week after averaging 31 points and 11 rebounds in two victories. She scored a career-high 39 in Saturday's 68-63 victory at Fairfield.

Stoffey is averaging 24.9 points and 9.9 rebounds. She ranks third in the country in scoring and has moved up to third on Loyola's all-time scoring list with 1,412 points. She needs 144 to catch the leader, Lorrie Schenning.

Tigers make run

After starting the Big South season with a blowout loss at Radford, Towson State's men's basketball team is making a run at the lead. Saturday's 54-45 victory over UNC-Asheville moved the Tigers (11-7, 6-2) within a half-game of the top.

The Tigers went 7-2 in January, and senior center John James played a huge role. In nine games, he averaged 11.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 4.3 blocks.

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