NCAA moves to limit 'exempt' games Proposal allows 2 events per school in four years

Terps notebook

November 26, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Defending NCAA champion Kentucky is the headliner at the Puerto Rico Shootout. Last season, the Wildcats went to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. Two years ago, they were in the Great Alaska Shootout, and in 1995 they went to Madison Square Garden for the ECAC Holiday Festival.

The same marquee teams pop up in early-season tournaments at exotic locales, picking up extra games, a recruiting edge and more TV exposure, but legislation moving through the NCAA would limit the appearances a program can make in so-called "exempt" events, which don't count toward the regular-season limit of 27 games.

Last month, the NCAA's Management Council approved a proposal that, starting in 2000-2001, would allow programs to play in two such events in a four-year period, provided no more than one is located outside the continental United States. The regular-season limit would be raised to 28 contests, and currently exempt events would count as one contest.

The proposal is in the "comment" phase, and if one-third of the Division I membership dissents, it could be changed. The have-nots far outweigh the haves in Division I, however, and the chairman of the subcommittee that drafted the proposed legislation said: "It's a done deal."

"This kind of evens the playing field," said Rich Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which includes Loyola. "This is important when you look at at-large [NCAA] bids and the NIT. The schools with more opportunities have more of a chance get to 20 wins."

The rationale for the proposal includes the sentiment that promoters are making more money than the schools. Don't expect a rush for mid-major teams, because promoters will more than likely simply spread the invitations further around the major conferences to keep their TV contracts coming.

"It's not good for us, Hawaii or Alaska," said Chris Spencer, a Cincinnati-based marketer who's the director of the Puerto Rico Shootout.

Contracts for exempt events in future seasons that were signed by Oct. 20 would be grandfathered in. Maryland's participation in the Preseason NIT next season and the Maui Invitational in 2000 would not be affected, but then the Terps might not be able to go outside the continental United States again until 2004.

"Even if it's approved," coach Gary Williams said, "the limits can be changed again."

The rich-getting-richer argument is also at the root of a proposal that would eliminate preseason football games in Division I-A after the 2002 season. Starting that season, I-A members could schedule 12 games in years in which the regular-season window includes 14 Saturdays.

Prosser heals

Skip Prosser didn't miss four games like Williams did in 1995, but pneumonia nonetheless knocked the Xavier coach out of the Musketeers' preseason preparation.

"I was hospitalized for four days," Prosser said, "but I'm feeling fine now."

Prosser made his one season at Loyola, 1993-94, the most

notable in the Greyhounds' Division I history, leading them to the NCAA tournament.

His fifth Xavier team figures to meet Kentucky in tomorrow's semifinals, and the Musketeers might have been favored to win the Puerto Rico Shootout if ace forward Darnell Williams, last season's leading scorer, hadn't torn his right anterior cruciate ligament last June. Prosser said Williams won't be back this season.

No. 13 Xavier does have an accomplished forward in James Posey, who averaged 15.3 points and 8.4 rebounds as sixth man last season.

Pub Date: 11/26/98

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