There's usually a year or two wait between the day a Division I conference announces it is accepting new members and the time they're actually integrated.
December, however. Scheduling became even more frenetic last May, when UNC-Greensboro became the 10th member of the Big South, but the conference went to great lengths immediately to incorporate the three.
"Most schools that come in as late as those three usually have to spend another year elsewhere," said Buddy Sasser, commissioner of the Big South. "We felt that the best way to build up interest is to get our new members involved in championship play immediately, and Towson State and UMBC are going to be involved in all 12 of our championships."
The Big South, which began operations in 1984, is one of the newest members of Division I, and its men's basketball champion received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 1991. That perk was the main lure for Towson State and UMBC, because the East Coast Conference lost its bid after that season.
A year ago this week, the Tigers and Retrievers were playing an ECC soccer match. Today at Towson State, it will be a Big South matchup.
The rival schools met last weekend in volleyball, with host UMBC beating Towson State for the eighth straight time.
The Baltimore schools already have come upon their first controversy in the Big South.
Coastal Carolina is 10-0 in soccer, but four starters were declared ineligible last week, and earlier victories over Towson State and UMBC could be forfeited once the NCAA is done investigating. Four imported players, two from Australia and two from England, signed professional contracts in their home countries.
Go, go, Gophers
Goucher went through the 1991-92 season without a winning record from one of its women's teams, but two second-year coaches did some recruiting that is making a difference this season.
Noelle Navarro's volleyball team relies on two sophomores out of Parkville High, setter Laurie Bender and outside hitter Jennifer Wolinski, but three freshmen start for a team hovering around .500.
The Gophers finished 1991 with just seven field hockey players and a 2-7 record, but coach Andrea Bradley is getting contributions from eight freshmen, several of whom also are expected to play lacrosse next spring. The anchor remains three-sport star Renie Amoss, who has six goals this season, 39 for her career.
Goucher takes a 6-6 record into today's home game (4:30 p.m.) against the College of Notre Dame. The Gophers' growth was evident in overtime losses to Johns Hopkins and Frostburg State, which rank Nos. 2 and 5, respectively, among Division III teams in the South. Salisbury State is ranked No. 1.
The Loyola soccer team is feeling overlooked again.
Two years ago, the Greyhounds were left out of the NCAA tournament despite a 16-2-5 record. Loyola takes a 9-2-1 mark into today's game (4 p.m.) at Curley Field against Howard. Their losses this season came at a tournament in Miami. They have beaten George Mason and Old Dominion; both are ranked ahead of the No. 6 Greyhounds in the South Atlantic Region.
Loyola's seven-game homestand began with a victory over nationally ranked George Mason on Sept. 30, and it ends Saturday (2 p.m.) against No. 13 Boston University, the top team in New England.
The Greyhounds, who have gotten 16 of their 27 goals from freshmen, might have to go unbeaten the rest of the way to get into the NCAA tournament.
He'll know next May
UMBC junior Mike Myers won the ECAC golf championship Monday, but he has a long wait for his next match. The NCAA holds its championships in the spring, and even though his victory at Colgate's Seven Oaks course gives him bragging honors in the East, Myers will have to produce next March and April to get an invitation to an NCAA regional.
Myers, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, played the first five holes of Monday's second round in 3-under-par and tied Hartford's Jon Veneziano through 36 holes. Myers won on the third playoff hole.
Coming off of a major victory at the 41-team Indiana Invitational, Navy expects to continue its dominance of Army in cross country Saturday (11 a.m.) at the Navy Golf Course. . . . Salisbury State can clinch the Eastern States Athletic Conference soccer title with a victory in Allentown, Pa., Saturday. . . . Through Sunday's games, UMBC's Denise Schilte and Maryland's Kelly Amonte stood eighth and 15th, respectively, in the nation in soccer points. Both are freshmen. . . . The Mount St. Mary's women won their fourth straight Northeast Conference tennis title.
Field hockey Maryland: Goalie Irene Horvat, a sophomore from Victoria, Australia, was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week for her shutouts of Georgetown and Rutgers. The Terps (6-4-1) are ranked No. 7 in the nation.
Football Johns Hopkins: Sophomore CB Chad Van Den Berg was named Defensive Player of the Week in the Centennial Football Conference and co-Defensive Player of the Week in the ECAC Division III Southern Region. He had three interceptions in a 35-34 victory over Ursinus, the last of a two-point conversion pass with no time remaining.
Navy: DB Chad Chatlos, a senior from Youngwood, Pa., was named ECAC Division I-A Defensive Player of the Week. In an 18-16 loss to Air Force, he had 11 unassisted tackles and forced a fumble.
Salisbury State: Shawn Powell, a freshman WR who went to High Point High, was named ECAC Division III Southern Region Rookie of the Week after catching 10 passes for 70 yards in a 43-18 loss to Rowan.
Radford: Senior F Dante Washington, an Olympian who went to Oakland Mills High, was named Player of the Week in the Big South Conference. He had six goals and an assist in two games, giving him 77 and 63 for his career, respectively.
Salisbury State: Eric Strumsky, a junior who attended Perry Hall High, was named Player of the Week in the Eastern States Athletic Conference. He had three goals in two games.
Women's soccer Maryland: Cailin Mullins, a junior G from Beckley, W.Va., was named co-Player of the Week in the Atlantic Coast Conference. She shut out Loyola and Villanova.
Women's tennis Salisbury State: Kris Dodson, who went to Linganore High, was named Player of the Week in the Eastern States Athletic Conference after going 3-0 in singles, 2-1 in doubles.
Volleyball Loyola: Marilyn Percoco, a senior from South Salem, N.Y., was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week. She is ranked among the MAAC leaders in four of six categories.
UMBC: Kelly O'Brien, a junior from Potomac, was named the Big South Conference Player of the Week. She averaged 5.4 kills in three victories.
Navy: Plebe Jennifer Meininger was named Patriot League Player of the Week for the second time this season.