Division I-AA football is free-for-all Success likely tied to scholarships


As the NCAA continues to redefine what a Division I member is, Towson State isn't the only college having infighting over what the future holds.

Some state universities in New England, where the recession hit earliest and won't go away, are questioning their commitment to Division I-AA football. Last month, Massachusetts coach Jim Reid was told he would have only five scholarships to offer this year instead of 13, and he resigned.

The Division I-AA rolls are going to boom next year, when members who formerly played Division II or III football lose that classification. Several dozen are going to be playing non-scholarship football, but in the eyes of the NCAA, they'll still be I-AA.

One of the new Division I-AA members that plans to jump into the scholarship waters is Buffalo, which named Jim Ward head coach on Tuesday.

A graduate of Edmondson High and UMES, Ward coached football and track and field at Northwestern High during 1968-84, before stints as an assistant at Howard University and Norfolk State. Last season was his first as an assistant at Buffalo, which is part of the massive State University of New York system.

Ward recently signed 14 players to letters of intent. Next year, when Towson State is on the schedule, he'll be coaching in a 23,000-seat stadium that will be the site of the 1993 World University Games.

* On Saturday (7:30 p.m.), the basketball Game of the Weak sends UMES to Morgan State.

Morgan State is 4-11 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, 0-11 against non-conference competition. UMES is 2-12 in the MEAC, and its only non-conference win came against Division III Lincoln. Bob Wilkerson took over the Hawks in December, Mike Holmes is the Bears' second-year coach and they're working with two of the most inexperienced teams in the land.

USA Today's computer ranking of Division I has UMES No. 297 and Morgan State No. 299. Only Prairie View, which is setting records for futility, is keeping the Bears out of the basement.

There will be one quality team at Hill Field House Saturday (5:30). Under third-year coach Willie Simon, the UMES women are 15-9 overall, 10-3 in the MEAC. Sondra Cockfield, a senior from Lake City, S.C., is one of the conference's better guards. Susan Buckson, a 5-foot-10 senior forward out of Western High, is averaging 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds.

* The Morgan State wrestling team won its eighth straight MEAC title, 82 1/2 -76 1/2 , over Coppin State.

The Bears had finalists in eight of the 10 weight classes. Darrious Hill (142 pounds), a sophomore from Omaha, Neb.; Keith Smith (158), a junior from Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; and Robert Edmonds (167), a sophomore from Des Moines, Iowa, wontitles. Smith is a profile in courage; his right leg was severed below the knee in a 1988 motorcycle accident.

For Coppin State, 177-pounder Lionel Shields, a senior from Meade, won his fourth MEAC title. Clevan Robinson (118), Demetrius Monroe (126), a sophomore from Mervo, and Robert Carradine (134) also won titles for the Eagles.

All will be in the Eastern Regional March 6-7 at Morgan State, trying to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

* Renie Amoss was a one-woman show for Goucher this winter.

A junior guard from Chadds Ford, Pa., Amoss averaged 24.6 points, more than half of the team average. With 199 field goals and 97 assists, she figured in 70 percent of the Gophers' baskets. Amoss, an all-region field hockey selection who also plays tennis, has 1,610 career points.

Amoss was a first-team all-star in the Capital Athletic Conference. St. Mary's Chris DeLisi, a sophomore forward from Gaithersburg, was on the men's first team. The CAC second teams included Goucher's David Clark, a freshman guard from Catonsville, and Marymount's Violaine Romans, a sophomore from Mercy High.

* Coppin State's 4x800 relay of Courtney Bennett, Sam Willoughby, Nicholas Eugene and Euan Hinds will compete in the TAC national track and field championships tomorrow at the Meadowlands. . . . The Navy men and women will spend the weekend at Dartmouth, at the Heptagonals. . . . Triple jumper Marchelle Payne, a junior from Richmond, Va., was Maryland's lone winner at the ACC championships. . . . Loyola's Erik VanNostrand is the women's swim Coach of the Year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

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