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Player's Eligibility Could Cost School : Women's Basketball: Cal State San Bernardino sends results of investigation to NCAA after athlete's status is questioned.

May 18, 1994|GREG SANDOVAL and ARA NAJARIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The Cal State San Bernardino women's basketball team, which finished second in the nation, might have used an ineligible player during the season, a Times investigation has shown. The use of an ineligible player could cause the school to be penalized by the NCAA.

Felice Logan, 26, a sophomore center, played professionally in Spain in 1991, which would make her ineligible to compete in any NCAA sport. In addition, questions have been raised about her eligibility based on her possibly attending Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1986. If she did attend, she would have been required to sit out a year at San Bernardino or receive a degree from a junior college before being eligible at San Bernardino.

School officials at Central Arizona College, a junior college in Coolidge, Ariz., said Logan did not receive her two-year degree. This past season was Logan's first year attending San Bernardino.

Officials at San Bernardino, responding to inquiries by The Times, called a news conference Tuesday to announce that the school has investigated the matter and sent a report to the NCAA. The school would not disclose the findings of the investigation.

In an announcement said not to be directly related, Athletic Director David Suenram said he was resigning effective March 1995.

Logan's professional experience in Spain was confirmed by Jose Antonio Parra, president of ADFB, a women's professional basketball team in Zaragoza, Spain. He said Logan received round-trip air fare and living expenses to try out with the team in September of 1991. Parra said that Logan played in "two or three practice games."

NCAA amateurism rules prohibit athletes from competing for any form of compensation after enrolling in college.

If the NCAA were to find Logan ineligible, it could result in San Bernardino having to forfeit games. The team advanced to the NCAA Division II title game before losing to North Dakota State.

"It is conceivable if a school is competing with an ineligible player, in a worst-case scenario, it would be forced to forfeit games," said Rick Perko, who interprets rules for the NCAA. "There are also other possible sanctions involved."

The other possible violation, dealing with the NCAA's 4-2-4 rule, is less clear. The rule says that a student who transfers from a four-year college to a two-year school must sit out a year or have a degree from the two-year school before being eligible to play at another four-year university.

Records show Logan enrolled at a four-year school--Cal State Dominguez Hills--in 1986. She then attended and played for Central Arizona College in 1988 and left before earning a degree.

San Bernardino officials said Logan told them she never attended a class at Dominguez Hills. If Logan attended any class or any team function at Dominguez Hills, she would not have been eligible to play for San Bernardino last season.

However, records show Logan's eligibility form, dated Oct. 23, 1986, was filled out after classes began in September. Kay Don, the athletic director at Dominguez Hills since 1993, said athletes routinely fill out their own forms. The form also said that Logan received $322 in scholarship aid.

Logan would not comment about her situation, referring all questions to the school.

A copy of Logan's transcript obtained by The Times also confirms that Logan was enrolled at Dominguez Hills in September 1986. A transcript does not indicate attendance, only enrollment.

San Bernardino officials said they received an anonymous call in mid-February telling them of possible violations. The athletic department said they investigated and found no violations.

According to Suenram, that investigation did not include talking to Don or anyone from the Spanish basketball league about Logan playing overseas.

San Bernardino initiated the second investigation after Don called the school on May 12 to let the school know that The Times was making inquiries into the matter. The subsequent investigation led to the school filing a report to the NCAA.

Suenram said the investigation was not the impetus for announcing his resignation, but it did have an effect.

"I have been considering this for some time," Suenram said. "My planning for retirement goes back before any of this. Nobody pressured me, but this led me to believe this is a good time to do it."

Suenram became San Bernardino's athletic director in 1989 and took the school from Division III to Division II, which he said was a high point for his tenure.

"Don't ask me about the low point because I won't talk about that," Suenram said.

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