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NCAA Schools Share Restricted Payout

Settlement: USC and UCLA will have to each pay $195,855.

April 22, 1999|DAVID WHARTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The NCAA has approved a controversial plan to have its Division I schools--large and small--share the burden of paying $54.5 million to coaches whose earnings were unlawfully restricted.

The organization must pay the settlement--its largest ever--after 2,000 coaches successfully contested a rule that capped their annual salaries at $16,000 from 1992 to 1995.

A third of the money will come from NCAA reserves, with the remaining $36.25 million supplied by 310 Division I members. Each school's share is determined by the basketball conference to which it belongs.

USC and UCLA must pay $195,855 each.

"We knew it was coming," said Steve Lopes, a USC associate athletic director. "Yes, it will affect us, but at least we have the ability to plan for it."

Smaller schools were not as comfortable with the NCAA's decision.

Loyola Marymount was assessed $79,561, less than half of what larger schools are paying. But the Westchester university has an athletic budget of $5 million, less than one-fifth of the $27 million USC spent on athletics last year.

Cal State Northridge, with a $6.8-million budget, is being charged $86,827.

"We're pretty much a bootstrap operation," said Grace Collins, a Northridge associate athletic director. "We're always trying to make our budget balanced."

Small schools had asked to pay less because they had few, if any, restricted-earnings coaches on their payrolls. Major schools argued that small schools voted for the rule.

"This does not appear to be sharing the load," Loyola Marymount Athletic Director Bill Husak said. "It's a pretty significant chunk of dollars for us."

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