ECC gets reprieve on NCAA automatic bid COLLEGE BASKETBALL


The East Coast Conference, which already was facing a 1991-92 season without an automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament, has been "brought back to life" by an NCAA move last week, commissioner John Carpenter said yesterday.

This resuscitation occurred when a special NCAA committee recommended a one-year break in automatic bids for conferences not having the required six members and

who then reach the minimum the next season. Previously, a five-year break had been recommended. The NCAA is expected to approve the new proposal next month.

"Without a possible bid for five years, all our schools probably would have gone elsewhere," Carpenter said after a meeting with conference athletic directors at the ECC offices in Bordentown, N.J.

A more well-known conference, the Metro, also may be helped by theNCAA move. But the Metro will need to add two members to become eligible for an automatic bid in 1992-93.

The ECC began to come unstrung when Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh withdrew after 1989-90. The University of Maryland Baltimore County and Central Connecticut then became official members. The seven-school league will shrink to five when Delaware and Drexel move to the North Atlantic Conference at the end of this school year.

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