Milanovich battles to stay eligible

January 26, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

Last year was even rougher on Scott Milanovich than first thought.

A record-setting quarterback for Maryland who missed two weeks of spring practice on a university suspension and lost his job as the Terps' starter in late September, Milanovich faces an uphill climb to be eligible to play his final season.

A Criminal Justice major, Milanovich withdrew from all of his courses last semester, when he contemplated leaving Maryland early to enter the NFL draft.

The NCAA requires athletes to pass 24 credit hours in the previous year to be eligible, and the "75-25" rule requires that 75 percent of those credits be earned in the regular school year, before summer sessions. That means Milanovich must pass all 18 of the credits he is carrying this semester, and six more in the summer, to be eligible to play for the Terps next fall.

As a result of dropping his complete course load last semester, Milanovich's cumulative grade-point average remained high enough for him to participate in spring practice.

According to a source at Maryland, Milanovich fell behind academically when he thought he might turn professional. In December, Milanovich wrote to the NFL advisory board that provides underclassmen an assessment of their probable draft status. When told he wouldn't go in the high rounds, Milanovich decided to stay at Maryland.

Milanovich could not be reached for comment last night, but he told The Diamondback, the school newspaper that first reported the development, that he didn't foresee any problems remaining eligible.

"I passed up the NFL draft to come back here, play in a bowl game and finish my degree," Milanovich told The Diamondback. "If I thought I'd be in some kind of academic trouble, I wouldn't have come back."

The prospect that Milanovich would return and be in good academic standing for his senior season led Kevin Foley to transfer to Boston University recently. Foley, who relieved Milanovich at West Virginia last September and started the next two games, left after it became clear Milanovich would stay at Maryland. Foley has two years of eligibility remaining.

Foley's departure left only two scholarship quarterbacks at Maryland, Milanovich and sophomore Brian Cummings. As a redshirt freshman, Cummings didn't attempt any passes, but he did direct the Terps' short-yardage offense, and carried 15 times for 63 yards.

In just 20 career starts, Milanovich has used the run-and-shoot attack to rewrite most of Maryland's passing records. He has a record 525 completions and 47 touchdowns, and his 794 attempts and 6,125 yards are close to the school records held by Boomer Esiason. Milanovich's career completion percentage, 66.1, is the best in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

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