Hula Bowl salve for Milanovich's wounded feelings

January 13, 1996|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

The East-West Shrine Football Classic decided that it didn't want Scott Milanovich after all, but the consolation prize for the Maryland quarterback won't be hard to stomach: a week in Hawaii courtesy of the Hula Bowl.

At the start of the college football season, the organizers of the Shrine Classic had lined up Milanovich and Ohio State's Bobby Hoying to play quarterback for the East. Hoying, however, bounced up to a more prestigious all-star game, next week's Senior Bowl, and Milanovich had his invitation to today's Shrine Classic at Stanford (4 p.m., ESPN) rescinded by the player selection committee.

Jeffrey Foster, the administrative manager of the Shrine Classic, said that when Milanovich missed the first four games of this past season while serving an NCAA suspension for gambling, then struggled and lost his starting position after returning, the Shrine Classic changed its mind and withdrew its early invitation.

"Our player selection committee makes early invitations in March, based on the performance from the junior year," Foster said. "In order to play in the game, it's only fair that that level of performance be maintained.

"In light of the lack of playing time [Milanovich] was receiving and when we saw he'd been benched, we felt the need to review the situation."

Milanovich, Maryland's all-time leader in completions, touchdown passes and passing yardage, started upon his return to the Terps in the fifth week. When he struggled against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, sophomore Brian Cummings started in Maryland's seventh and eighth games. Milanovich went the entire way in the Terps' last three games.

The Shrine Classic notified Maryland coach Mark Duffner before the end of the season that it was rescinding its invitation to Milanovich, who had no comment on the slight. Instead, he is set to leave tomorrow for a week of practice leading up to the Hula Bowl in Hawaii next Saturday.

It will be Milanovich's second senior all-star game this season. He was one of the MVPs in the Blue-Gray Game Christmas Day in Birmingham, Ala.

Instead of Hoying and Milanovich, the East quarterbacks in today's Shrine Classic will be Mike Groh of Virginia and Tony Banks of Michigan State.

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