Scott Milanovich and Matt Raydo, the Maryland athletes who were handed severe suspensions for gambling infractions by the NCAA, will plead their cases to the eligibility committee when it hears their appeals.
"In all cases, one of the most important parts of an appeal is that the committee wants to hear from the student-athlete and hear their case," said Carrie Doyle, the NCAA's director of eligibility. "The student-athlete is supposed to be prepared to participate during the teleconference."
Raydo, in his first comments since the suspensions were announced Monday, told the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in its editions yesterday that he thought he was doing the right thing when he cooperated with the university in its investigation.
"I gave them precise information about what went on and helped in any way I could," said Raydo, who is from Fort Lauderdale. "It was hard to believe that I received such a stiff penalty. I was devastated by the news."
As did school officials, Raydo said there was no gambling on Maryland games, but he declined to comment of the specifics of the investigation. "I don't believe the situation is as serious as it has been portrayed," he said.
Athletic director Debbie Yow was unavailable for comment yesterday, and a spokesman said that the university's legal affairs staff will not comment on the case until it is complete, but Maryland is preparing an appeal of the penalties.
Last month, Maryland suspended Milanovich, its record-setting quarterback, for two games, and Raydo, a walk-on basketball player, for seven, after it determined that they had violated NCAA rules against gambling on intercollegiate athletics.
The NCAA considered the infractions more severe, and lengthened the suspensions to eight games for Milanovich and 20 for Raydo. Maryland will appeal to the eligibility committee on the basis of several precedents.
Doyle said that she was in the process of notifying committee members of Maryland's intent to appeal and that she hopes it is heard within two weeks of the formal request.
"It's up to the institution and the committee, but the teleconference would probably include the eligibility office, the five members of the eligibility committee, a representative of the institution and the student-athlete," Doyle said. "Each student-athlete's case would be dealt with separately."
The appeal will be heard by the five members of the 11-person eligibility committee who represent Division I institutions. Two are from colleges that play Maryland in football this fall, Sandy Barbour, a senior associate athletic director at Tulane, and Chuck Ehrhardt, a law professor at Florida State.
Maryland begins its season at Tulane on Sept. 2 and concludes it Nov. 18 at Florida State.
The other members who will hear the Terps appeals are Milt Schroeder, an Arizona State law professor who is committee chairman; Sue Collins, assistant athletic director at George Mason; and Bob Baugh, dean of health, physical education and recreation at Eastern Kentucky.