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College Basketball : NCAA to Discuss Hot Topic: Making the Grade : Tracy Dodds

January 11, 1986

Is it any wonder that academic requirements will be one of the hottest issues at the NCAA convention next week?

In just the last week there has been news of two players being academically ineligible at Oregon State, although Darrin Houston and Mike Kaska have since been reinstated; guard Ron Singleton being academically ineligible and disqualified from school at Arizona State; guard Shelton Smith being academically ineligible at the University of Wisconsin, and even a Cal State Dominguez Hills player, Victor Nomaaea, trying to track down professors at American Samoan University because, he says, he passed courses there that are showing up F's on the transcript.

Seriously, now.

It doesn't take that much effort to stay academically eligible. These cases bolster the argument that schools should be more selective about who gets scholarships.

Gearing up for the convention, Duke Athletic Director Tom Butters said: "I am intrigued by those who say that requiring a minimum 700 SAT score . . . is unreasonable, unfair and discriminatory. Such reasoning is beyond my comprehension.

"It is senseless to concern ourselves with the freshman eligibility of some athletes at the expense of a continuing inability to graduate those same youngsters."

Although there was not much ado about it when Pervis Ellison signed a letter of intent at Louisville, it seems that the Cardinals might have recruited a prize. He's being called the sleeper of the freshman class.

Ellison is a 6-foot 9-inch, 215-pound center who, in his first 10 games, averaged 12.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and had a total of 28 blocked shots.

Louisville Coach Denny Crum said: "Not too many people knew about Pervis until late because he didn't go to camps. . . . He's consistent. I've yet to see him play a bad game. He's an excellent rebounder who has a knack of getting to the ball. He jumps well and has excellent speed for a man his size."

Most impressive was the way Ellison stepped right into the starting spot.

So what became of Barry Sumpter, the Cardinals' starting center last season?

He became academically ineligible last spring.

Basketball Notes Memphis State beat Louisville Thursday night, 73-71, and remained undefeated. Despite losing their "franchise" player, Keith Lee, to the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Assn., the Tigers, ranked No. 6, are off to the best start ever. Coach Dana Kirk said: "By making up for the loss of points in a team way, we're trying to get more production out of everybody." . . . Heart o' Texas Coliseum is a big old barn of an arena in Waco. It gives off a hollow echo even when it is full of lively basketball fans. Imagine what it must have sounded like last Saturday when Baylor, down to nine players since the NCAA suspended seven for rules violations, lost to SMU in a not-so-lively 54-41 game before a "crowd" that was described by Dan Langendorf of the Dallas Times Herald as "812 mostly silent people."

Baylor's Frank Williams became eligible to play Wednesday, but the other cases will be discussed today in New Orleans by the NCAA Council's subcommittee on eligibility. Also, Tito Horford will appear before that group today, appealing for eligibility at Houston. . . . Tough times in the Southwest Conference. The University of Houston, at 0-2, is off to its worst conference start in seven years and Coach Guy Lewis had reason to be a little miffed about that second loss. Playing at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Lewis was amazed to see an official signal two points that gave Tech a 69-68 victory when Tony Benford whirled and shot a 15-footer that found the hoop, quite apparently after time had run out in overtime. Alvin Franklin had just made two free throws with three seconds left. Benford twice bobbled Tobin Doda's length-of-the-court inbounds pass as the final seconds ticked away. TV replays showed zeros on the clock when Benford finally grabbed the ball, turned and flung it toward the hoop. Lewis called it "the worst I've ever had it put to me." He said, "They just flat took it." . . . Kansas Coach Larry Brown says he loves Lawrence. "I love the small-town atmosphere," he told the Dallas Times Herald. "They appreciate me here. And they let me coach." . . . After Georgetown had lost consecutive games to Texas El Paso and Pitt, Coach John Thompson was determined not to overreact and overanalyze. He decided to let everyone wonder, "What's wrong with the Hoyas?" He decided to think position and not even look at the films so as not "to start finding fault when there's no reason to." Bingo. Georgetown beat Providence the next time out. . . . Billy Packer, commenting on Sports Illustrated's story on Dale Brown: "The average person reading that article would look upon him as a half-crazed man instead of a man making some statements about intercollegiate athletics which need to be made. The guy in SI isn't the man I've known for 20 years, and it's unfortunate that the substance of what he said may be overlooked because of his style in saying it."

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