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NCAA's proposed changes move on to board of directors


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2001

The NCAA management council voted Tuesday to allow athletes to receive money for private lessons and to obtain a one-time $20,000 bank loan based on future earnings.

The council, meeting in Indianapolis, approved a series of proposals that likely will alter college athletics, especially basketball.

Those changes would allow athletes to accept pay for giving private lessons in sports such as golf and tennis. They also would allow the NCAA to pay disability insurance premiums and permit Olympic-caliber athletes to earn money for high-level performances in the Olympics.

To qualify for the bank loan, an athlete would have to be considered a likely first-round pick in men's basketball, women's basketball or baseball, and at least a third-round pick in football or hockey.

The council approved a proposal that would remove the exempt status of basketball tournaments such as the Preseason NIT and the Maui Invitational. Schools that participate in those tournaments would count all games in which they compete against the NCAA's mandated limit. Current rules allow each tournament to count as one game against a 28-game limit.

If approved by the board of directors, which is scheduled to meet April 26, the Preseason NIT could account for as many as four games. Conference tournaments would still count as one game. The limit of games also would increase, to 29.

The council sent the board of directors, a committee of university presidents, a proposal that would reduce basketball scholarships from 13 to 12 if a school's graduation rate dropped below 50 percent.

The council approved by voice vote an amateurism deregulation plan that would allow high school athletes to accept prize money, sign contracts, compete with professionals and earn money and enter the draft while retaining their eligibility. That proposal was sent without recommendation back to NCAA members for a 90-day comment period. Also moving forward without recommendation was a proposal to restructure basketball recruiting and summer basketball. In-season recruiting days would be reduced from 50 to 40, and summer recruiting days from 23 to 20.

MORE COLLEGES: Miami worked through a two-hour football practice. Tight end Jeremy Shockey practiced despite an ankle sprain sustained in Saturday's scrimmage. ... USF football coach Jim Leavitt said quarterback Ronnie Banks, a redshirt freshman, has moved ahead of sophomore Kevin Patullo for the backup spot to two-year starter Marquel Blackwell. ... A solid finish to spring practice has given Florida State redshirt freshman Chris Rix the edge over junior Anquan Boldin in the race to become the next starting quarterback. ... South Florida's Ken Eriksen and UF's Karen Johns are among the 12 coaches forming the Amateur Softball Association of America's women's national team coaches pool through the 2004 Olympics. Not included in the field was Dot Richardson, a member of the 1996 and 2000 gold medal teams who has no institutional coaching experience.

CYCLING: Marco Pantani, Tour de France champion in 1998, may not take part in this year's race because one of his Mercatone Uno teammates, Fabiano Fontanelli, 35, failed a blood test before Sunday's Tour of Flanders.

TENNIS: Elena Dementieva posted a straight-sets victory over Nathalie Dechy, and Chanda Rubin was upset in the second round at the Bausch and Lomb Championships at Amelia Island. ... The half-brother of Venus and Serena Williams, Richard Williams III, 35, was arrested after his wife said he began choking her at their home near Palm Beach Gardens, sheriff's deputies said. He was charged with domestic battery and released on his own recognizance.

SOCCER: The MLS' New England Revolution acquired Brazilian midfielder and forward Marco Antonio Lemes Cate. ... A judge in Hull, England, ordered a new trial for Leeds United stars Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate, who are accused of involvement in the severe beating of an Asian student outside a nightclub last year. The case against the players collapsed Monday after a jury failed to reach verdicts.

GOLF: Terrell Italiano of Palma Ceia shot a closing round of 74 for a 36-hole total of 145 at Tampa Palms to win the 57th annual West Coast Women's Golf Association title. Italiano, the 1999 Florida State Amateur winner, won by 10 strokes over runner-up Sandy Jones of the host club. Mary Critchfield of the Bayou Club, playing with an 8 handicap, took net honors(72-78-150).

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