Scott Milanovich and Matt Raydo, the Maryland athletes who were handed severe suspensions for gambling infractions by the NCAA, will get to 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."
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 handed Milanovich and Raydo two days ago.
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, however, 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, and two are from colleges that play Maryland 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 continues it Sept. 18 at Florida State.
The other committee members who will hear the appeal are Milt Schroeder, an Arizona State law professor who is the chairman of the committee; Sue Collins, an assistant athletic director at George Mason; and Bob Baugh, the dean of health, physical education and recreation at Eastern Kentucky.
Doyle said that communication between Maryland and the five committee members is not allowed.
"The eligibility office and the institution cannot talk to the members one on one," Doyle said. "So that everyone receives the same information, it is sent to the committee members through the eligibility office. Any documents that are relevant to the case will be sent to the committee members, and the institution will also receive those documents."
Since 1990, the eligibility committee has heard one appeal in a gambling case. Last year, the eligibility office did not restore the eligibility of a Division III men's basketball player who created a gambling operation, and the committee affirmed that decision.