tampabay.com

NCAA puts its stamp on optional 12th game

Associated Press
Published April 29, 2005


The National Collegiate Athletic Association's board of directors approved a proposal that allows Division I-A schools to play 12 regular-season football games if they choose.

Schools had been permitted to play a maximum of 11 games during the regular season, plus a possible conference title game and postseason bowl game.

"These institutions need additional revenue, and the presidents that voted on this saw this as one way to increase that revenue," University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway, the chairman of the NCAA's board of directors, said on a media conference call.

The board said it hasn't made a decision on whether schools would need at least a 6-6 record or 7-5 record to qualify for a bowl game.

"The ideal situation is to have a team with a record of at least 7-5 in the postseason," Hemenway said. "But is that possible given the number of bowls we have and the number of opponents you need?"

In addition, Division I-A schools now can count one win against a Division I-AA school every year in determining bowl eligibility, starting with the upcoming season. The previous rule allowed I-A schools to count wins against I-AA opponents only once over a four-year period.

Hemenway said the board has asked the NCAA's executive committee to develop a comprehensive policy about allowing alcohol companies to advertise during college sporting events. He didn't elaborate.

Beer companies spent an estimated $58 million on commercials during college sporting events in 2004, including $28 million during the NCAA men's basketball tournament, according to the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV.

That group and the American Medical Association have asked the NCAA to stop allowing beer companies to advertise during collegiate sporting events, saying the ads undermine efforts to combat binge drinking on college campuses.

The NCAA's board of directors also adopted a proposed rule that requires football programs to have an average home attendance of at least 15,000 once over a two-year period to retain Division I-A status.

Coker talks up the 'Canes

Coming off a season with three conference losses and a trip to the Peach Bowl, Miami coach Larry Coker says his Hurricanes will take their second season in the Atlantic Coast Conference seriously ... every week.

"My feeling going into the ACC was that from top to bottom it's a very tough league," said Coker, at the Smokey Bones restaurant in Citrus Park to speak to the Greater Tampa Hurricane Club. "Maybe I did a poor job as a coach getting that communicated to our players how you have to play every week. You beat a team like Florida State, it's like, we can just write it in now. It's certainly not that way. Our players understand that now."

Coker, making his annual trips to booster gatherings around the state, said he's found fans to be optimistic about the upcoming season, though a common question is whether Miami will be okay at quarterback after the graduation of Brock Berlin.

Coker has named sophomore Kyle Wright, who was a prolific high school passer in California but attempted only nine passes last season, as his starting quarterback entering the fall. Freshman Kirby Freeman will be the top backup, and Coker said while fans might not know much about the future at quarterback, they shouldn't worry about the position this fall.

"People say "Are you concerned?' because you don't have a lot of quarterbacks. Well, I'd be real concerned if we had five guys and didn't have one quarterback," he said. "A lot of people are in that position. I think we have two players we can win with. They're both very talented, both smart kids. ... Bernie Kosar and Steve Walsh, Kyle Wright has better stats than they do, and they both won a national championship."

Other items Coker addressed before facing a large showing of Hurricanes fans:

On his team's need to regain its swagger in on its home turf, the Orange Bowl, after losing twice there in 2004, to Clemson and Virginia Tech: "It's very important. We're not supposed to lose at home. When we play in the Orange Bowl, we have to get that feeling back."

On fans' uncertainty after last year's 9-3 record: "You can dwell on losing three games, but you can also dwell on 54-7 in the last five years. You've been to four BCS bowl games, you've won a national championship and played for another."

On new Florida coach Urban Meyer: "The Gators are very excited about his arrival in Gainesville and he has a fine team coming back. ... There's an excitement with newness. It's like, "Oh, wow, we have a new coach.' They have a different spiel (with recruits). I think there's an excitement with the newness."

- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer

Other sports

BASKETBALL: Brandon Stores, a 6-9, 220-pound power forward at Cincinnati Christian Center Academy, has signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of South Florida. BASEBALL: Florida State sophomore right-hander Bryan Henry, who beat national powers Florida and Miami in a span of six days, was named the national player of the week by College Baseball Insider. In two games, he allowed three runs in 15.1 innings.

OBITUARY: JoRuth Woods, 25, a former basketball player at Texas, was found dead in her home, an apparent suicide.