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Marcaccini's Move Could Imperil His Amateur Standing

August 26, 1993|STEVE ELLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former Notre Dame High standout Monte Marcaccini might have lost his amateur status when he decided to forgo a basketball scholarship at Indiana to play for a junior club team in Italy.

According to the NCAA, Marcaccini could be considered a professional if he plays for a Benetton junior club team this fall as planned.

Steve Mallonee, a director of legislative services with the NCAA, said that if Marcaccini's junior team is "directly supported or sponsored" by a professional team or pro sports organization, he may be considered a de facto professional.

Mallonee said he is unfamiliar with the specifics of the Italian league club system, but said that professional English soccer programs also field club teams at several tiers, and the lower-level teams are supported by the parent club. Players on the lower-level teams are considered professionals even though they do not draw a salary, Mallonee said.

Marcaccini, The Times' 1992-93 Valley player of the year, reportedly will play for the Benetton 18-and-under team and will not be paid. His older brother, G.C., signed a contract to play professionally with the parent Benetton team in Treviso. The pair will live together in Italy, where their father also resides.

Consequently, should Marcaccini decide to return to the United States--his mother Alicia said Tuesday that he has committed to play in Italy for one year--he may have to re-establish his amateur standing with the NCAA.

Janet Justus of the NCAA said that restoration of an individual's eligibility "could take days, weeks or months" depending on the complexity of the case. The foreign issue could complicate matters, she said.

Indiana's athletic department confirmed Wednesday that Coach Bob Knight, who is vacationing in Colorado, had spoken with the Marcaccinis. Monte's scholarship likely will not be used this year, said Gregg Elkin, an assistant sports information director.

"I would say (Knight) was understanding," said Elkin, who spoke with Knight on Wednesday regarding the matter. "If this is the best thing for Monte, and he can make a pile of money over there some day, then Coach would be all for it."

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