Panel to toughen freshman standardsFreshman eligibility requirements...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Panel to toughen freshman standards

Freshman eligibility requirements may get tougher, but freshmen probably still will be competing under new guidelines proposed this week by the NCAA Presidents Commission.

The 44-member commission, the spearhead of college reform the past six years, was expected to end a two-day meeting today by calling for strengthened academic standards throughout Division I.

"The trend is toward strengthening initial requirements, rather than keeping all freshmen out," NCAA president Judy Sweet said.

The strengthened standards could include requiring freshmen to have a 2.5 instead of a 2.0 grade-point average in college preparatory courses and increasing the minimum number of credit hours needed to stay eligible throughout a college career.

The commission's proposals will be put to a vote of schools at the NCAA's annual convention in January.

One long-held goal of many college chiefs has been rescinding freshman eligibility entirely. But, contrary to predictions during the 1990 convention, that issue now "has lost some of its momentum," Sweet said.

"There are many freshmen who are quite capable of handling academics and athletics," she said. "The priorities for legislation will be academic standards. There is a pretty strong general support for strengthening academic standards. Now it's just a matter of determining specifics."

Basketball

Nevada-Las Vegas coach Jerry Tarkanian denied he signeticket request forms for convicted sports fixer Richard Perry. A Las Vegas television station, KLAS-TV, reported Monday night that a probe conducted by the Nevada attorney general's office will reveal the new link between the Rebels program and Perry.

The attorney general's office has been investigating the allocation of complimentary tickets for Rebels games, and is expected to release a report on that probe to Nevada regents tomorrow.

The coach said the ticket issue came up two weeks ago when it was learned that tickets were left for Perry four times in 1986 and 1987. Tarkanian said he was questioned by UNLV officials about the matter.

"Only one time was my signature [on the ticket request form] and it was forged," Tarkanian said. "It was not my signature."

* Officials for the University of Nevada System say they will not make public the voluminous response UNLV has filed to an NCAA Letter of Inquiry alleging 35 infractions by the school's powerhouse basketball program.

The university shipped boxes of material to the NCAA last week after UNLV counsel Brad Booke spent seven months preparing the university's response.

Members of the media asked for copies of the response, but Donald Klasic, general counsel for the University of Nevada System, said the response would remain confidential for now.

* Auburn has asked for an extra 30 days to respond to allegations that an assistant basketball coach violated NCAA rules while recruiting a player in 1989, a school spokesman said.

John Lewandowski, associate sports information director, said the 60-day period for Auburn to respond to the NCAA letter of inquiry ended Monday, but the school asked for and expected to receive the extension.

Steroids

Four professional wrestlers told a federal jury that thepurchased anabolic steroids from a suburban Harrisburg, Pa., doctor who is on trial as a drug dealer.

One by one, Rick Martel, Roddy Piper, Daniel Spivey and Brian Blair faced the crowded courtroom and admitted they used the muscle-building drugs. They said they bought steroids and painkillers from Dr. George Zahorian III, who was the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission physician at wrestling matches in Allentown and Hershey.

Zahorian, 43, is being tried on charges of supplying steroids and other controlled substances to the four wrestlers and a competitive weight-lifter. The wrestlers will not be charged because using steroids was not a crime at the time they admitted receiving the drugs from the doctor.

All four wrestlers said they ordered steroids over the phone, then received them from Zahorian by Federal Express. Federal prosecutor Theodore Smith III used subpoenaed records to show that deliveries were made to the men from Zahorian soon after the phone calls were made.

Tennis

Reed Cordish (Gilman) of Baltimore advanced to the boys 1singles quarterfinals at the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Association Junior Championship in Richmond, Va., by defeating John Sullivan of Reston, Va., 6-3, 6-1.

In the doubles quarterfinals, Cordish teamed with David Caldwell of Richmond to beat Nathan Cowles of Arlington, Va., and Neil Murer of Salisbury, Md., 6-3, 7-5.

Hockey

The NHL Players Association told the league that it has nright to unilaterally reduce rosters from 18 players and two goalies to 17 players and two goalies. The NHL made the change on the final day of its meetings, Monday in Buffalo, N.Y.

In a brief statement yesterday, the NHL said the question would be discussed during the next scheduled contract negotiations between owners and players during the week of July 8.

Pro basketball

Defending champion Yugoslavia, led by Toni Kukoc, DinRadja and Vlade Divac, beat Poland, 103-61, and clinched a semifinal berth in the European Basketball Championships. Italy also clinched a spot in the semifinals with a 75-72 victory over France.

* A proposed new arena for the Seattle SuperSonics won't be built because of insufficient financing, several television stations reported yesterday.

SuperSonics owner Barry Ackerley scheduled a news conference today to announce a "major development" in the project. But KING-TV, KIRO-TV and KOMO-TV, citing unidentified sources, reported the plan to build a $100 million arena near the Kingdome is dead.

* Dennis Rodman and the Detroit Pistons settled out of court with an Indiana woman who said that she was crushed into her courtside seat when the defensive star lunged for the ball during a Nov. 27, 1987, Detroit-San Antonio Spurs game at the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome.

Auto racing

Rain thwarted NASCAR tests yesterday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway that eventually could lead to rules changes for the Winston Cup Series cars.

"We only got to run a little over two hours," series director Dick Beaty said. "So what experimenting we did was pretty much inconclusive. Tentative plans are to try again Monday or Tuesday at Daytona [International Speedway]."

NASCAR officials are testing various aerodynamic combinations on the cars in an effort to find an alternative to the controversial carburetor restrictor plates.

The plates reduce the flow of the air/fuel mix to the engine, cutting horsepower and speed. They are used only at Talladega and Daytona, NASCAR's fastest ovals, to keep speeds below 200 mph for safety.

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