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Maryland Will Revise Athlete-Counseling Plan

June 28, 1986

University of Maryland officials went to work Friday on a plan that would give the academic sector, not the athletic department, authority over the counselors who are assigned to help athletes with their studies.

Athletic Director Dick Dull said the plan, which he hopes will be in place by September, was under consideration before the June 19 death of basketball All-American Len Bias focused attention on the university's athletic program.

Chancellor John B. Slaughter met with representatives of academic and athletic departments to begin the shift of responsibility, Dull said. He said the plan will put the academic counselors under the control of the chancellor for academic affairs.

After four years at Maryland, Bias was 21 credits short of a degree. In his last semester this spring, he failed three courses and dropped the other two in which he was registered.

The university has already released figures showing that not even a third of the basketball players earned degrees in the last few years, well below the average for all students. In addition, basketball players flunk out three times as often as university students on the whole.

Meanwhile, the investigation widened further in the cocaine-intoxication death of Bias. WRC-TV in Washington quoted unidentified sources as saying that athletes at Maryland have used diuretic drugs, which speed up the rate at which the body excretes liquid, to try to remove traces of cocaine from their systems before taking drug tests. However, Terry Payer, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Poison Control Center, said that diuretics would not have the desired effect in such an instance.

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