Towson's fortunes tied to Campbell's departure

March 19, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

Unless Campbell University changes its mind and stays in the Big South Conference, the league stands to lose its automatic bid to next year's NCAA tournament. And that would deal a major blow to the basketball programs at Towson State and UMBC, two members of the Big South.

"The administrators at this school probably don't want to hear this, but it [losing the bid] would absolutely kill our recruiting," Towson State coach Terry Truax said.

The Big South filed a lawsuit this week in a state court in Myrtle Beach, S.C., asking that a judge force the North Carolina school either to pay $300,000 in damages or to remain in the league RTC until the school's contract with the conference ends in June 1996.

The league filed suit after the NCAA decided against waiving a rule that a conference must have at least six members with five years of continuous membership to qualify automatically for the national tournament. Campbell is one of the 10-year-old league's six charter members.

"We are going to appeal the NCAA's decision [not to grant the waiver]," Big South commissioner Buddy Sasser said. "In the meantime, we're trying to get Campbell to stay in our league."

Campbell surprised the Big South in January by announcing its intention to leave the conference.

Meanwhile, Towson State, which joined the Big South in 1992 and will fulfill its three-year commitment to the league next year, is looking to relocate to the North Atlantic Conference. If the eight-team NAC decides to expand next month, Towson State (( athletic director Billy Hunter said the school expects to receive an invitation.

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