Ike Harmon will begin his senior season with the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team Friday, but it might not be his last season playing for the Titans.
That will depend on action taken on a proposed NCAA rule change.
An NCAA committee has proposed legislation that would give Harmon, an All-Big West Conference first-team selection as a junior, hope of regaining the freshman season he had to sit out as a Proposition 48 nonqualifer.
Under the proposal, nonqualifiers who graduate in four years could regain the lost season.
"Athletes who were partial qualifiers have already been allowed to get the year back if they graduate in four years," said Kent State associate athletic director Judy Devine, who chaired the committee.
"The only person who can't regain the year as it stands now is the nonqualifer without a learning disability. It seemed to us to be unfair to the nonqualifier who does graduate in four years."
Continuing with such an exception also might be open to challenge in the courts, Devine said.
The proposal could be voted on as soon as April by the NCAA Board of Directors. If approved, it could go into effect in August of 2000.
The proposal already has been considered by the NCAA's Management Council and is being distributed to university officials for comment.
"I see no reason why it wouldn't affect current athletes as well as incoming athletes if it is approved," Devine said. "That was our intent. In the past, when changes such as that occur, the NCAA wants them to benefit the most student-athletes possible."
Harmon is pleased the legislation is moving forward.
But Harmon said he is proud of what he has accomplished, regardless of what happens with the legislation." I'm sure a lot of people didn't expect me to get my degree when I started, but I'm going to do it," he said.
Harmon is majoring in criminal justice, and plans to eventually work in youth probation.
I think playing one more year in college will help me be more ready for professional basketball," Harmon said. "I would definitely like to come back for another year."
Christine McCarthy, director of academic services for the athletic department, said Harmon is on track to graduate next summer.
"It's not easy for any student to get a degree in four years anymore, but it takes a tremendous amount of effort for athletes to do it in that time," McCarthy said.
"Ike has taken summer classes in the past, and he's also taken intersession classes. Those intersession classes [between semesters] are especially demanding for basketball players because January is when they're in their season. And they're usually four hours a day, four days a week."
McCarthy said she has been impressed by the consistency Harmon has shown in the classroom.
"As a nonqualifier, he had to have higher goals than we put on a freshman who is a non-athlete, and he proved that he could do it," McCarthy said. "Once Ike sets his mind to do something, he does it. And we've watched his requirements closely."
Harmon, who played for Santa Ana Valley High, had to pass 25 units as a freshman to become eligible the next year, and passed 29.
"I wasn't sure I was going to get through that first year without being able to play basketball, but a lot of people really helped me," Harmon said. "I've had to make sacrifices. But I think I had the willpower to want to do it. In high school, I didn't have that in the classroom. I guess that comes with maturity."
The infusion of talent on the Irvine men's basketball team left junior Malachi Edmond in the background. He was faced with two choices--work out or get out.
It was an easy call.
While Sean Jackson, Jerry Green, Greg Ethington and others have looked impressive in the two exhibition games, it was Edmond who stood out the most Friday in the victory over Kraitene Marijompole, a Lithuanian club team.
The Anteaters were trailing 24-11 with six minutes left in the first half when Edmond entered the game.
He had five points, four rebounds and three steals in the last six minutes, pushing the Anteaters on a 26-7 run.
"Everyone on this team is kind of searching for what their role will be," the 6-foot-1 Edmond said.
Edmond's part, though, was very hazy as of last spring. He was one of Coach Pat Douglass' first recruits, but had been overtaken by the talented players who followed.
But Edmond didn't fade. Instead, he spent the summer lifting weights and working on his shooting.
"I took 500 shots a day," Edmond said. "I wanted to build my game."
Staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this story.