Terps await NCAA word on Milanovich's eligibility for opener


Less than two months remain before the University of Maryland opens its football season, and officials in the athletic department are playing the waiting game.

Waiting to hear from the NCAA concerning a report filed by the school that said some players violated NCAA rules by gambling on college sporting events. Waiting to find out if the Terrapins will be without starting quarterback Scott Milanovich, among others, for the season opener Sept. 2 in New Orleans against Tulane.

A story in yesterday's Washington Post said athletic director Debbie Yow confirmed that the school had declared some players ineligible, in accordance with NCAA procedures, though she would not reveal any names or how many. And Milanovich's father, Gary, said his son was in the report.

School officials began investigating alleged gambling by Terps players on March 6, and announced in April that they would go to the NCAA with their findings. No bets were placed on any Maryland games, officials have said.

Once the report was filed, officials issued an appeal seeking restoration of the players' eligibility. A decision is forthcoming from NCAA eligibility director Carrie Doyle, who did not return phone calls yesterday. She told the Washington Post a decision could come as early as next week.

School officials issued a statement yesterday that read: "The university has not commented about gambling allegations during the necessary process of review as mandated by the NCAA. Until the process is complete, and the university feels it appropriate to comment, there will be no specific details released regarding the names of individuals involved."

Yow said she wanted to keep everything "in perspective."

"We still regard this, if people are looking at the possible severity of the situation, in the category of student-athletes having stubbed their toes, not having broken any bones. There is a difference," she said.

Yow added that the university has "no idea at this point and time" what will come of the report. Her gut feeling?

"The NCAA has indicated that they appreciate the thoroughness of the review process on campus, so I think that can only help us," she said. "We certainly have taken it very seriously, but at the same time, we want to keep it in perspective."

Losing Milanovich, a senior, would leave the Terps with an inexperienced quarterback -- sophomore Brian Cummings, who scored four touchdowns last season while running the team's short-yardage offense. Last year's backup, Kevin Foley, transferred to Boston University.

"If any time you have a player miss a game, you've got to have other players ready to go," said coach Mark Duffner. "Brian has been preparing to play like any other backup on our team."

Milanovich got off to a shaky start last season and often gave way to Foley, but he finished 229-for-333 for 2,394 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also averaged nearly 42 yards a punt.

Milanovich, who has been taking spring and summer courses to remain academically eligible, was unavailable for comment. Gary Milanovich, when reached at his Butler, Pa., home, said he had no comment "until something comes up," adding that he earlier had been quoted "on things that I didn't say."

Duffner said his players haven't been distracted. "This team focused to do the best it could and to be prepared to go. We haven't gotten any official word from the NCAA, so we're just taking a wait-and-see attitude. But we hope to get some information soon."

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