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News Nuggets, 07.29.04

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

ACC pushes to replace redshirt year with 5th year of competition


07.28.04: ACC partial to long-term home for football title game ... Houston, Memphis stars on Maxwell list ... More...
07.27.04: Chopper ride for hearing-impaired will have a 'Voice' ... Fulmer shuns SEC gathering in hostile Alabama ... More...
07.26.04: Boyce to ride herd on Pirates' classroom pursuits ... IU fans' suit over Knight firing gets new life ... More...
07.25.04: Controversy-ridden Clemons seeks exile at Livingstone ... USM honors grad with N.C. business ties ... More...
07.24.04: ECU harrier coach hired by Longhorns ... .. Tulane, Florida A&M pair up for Superdome extravaganza ... More...
07.23.04: Future Pirate sprints to glory at World meet ... .. Legendary 'Big O' subs for sidelined Huggins ... .. Rattlers' I-A vision buried under avalanche of penalties ... More...
07.22.04: NCAA panel endorses major recruiting reforms ... Clemens honor gives Weaver sweep of baseball awards ... More...
No Nuggets 05.20.04 - 05.21.04 because of technical problems.
07.19.04: Former ECU assistant VanDerHeyden retires from UAB staff ... Bearcats land junior college punter ... More...
07.18.04: ECU touts corporate football packages ... SLU marketing themes earn national awards ... More...
07.17.04: Laurinburg Institute star inks with DePaul ... Long Beach State ace captures Golden Spikes ... More...
07.16.04: Stats ditched, computers downgraded in new BCS equation ... Huggins exile to end next month ... More...

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GREENSBORO — The Atlantic Coast Conference has proposed making football players eligible to compete for five years, saying the extra season might allow some students to get their degrees rather than leave school early.

The NCAA will vote on the proposal no earlier than April 2005, said Shane Lyons, the ACC's associate commissioner.

"Many students who have exhausted eligibility have to make a decision about whether they pursue their professional or athletic career without getting their education," Lyons said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We believe it's more likely that student athletes will return if they still have that eligibility."

The ACC, which proposed the rule to the NCAA earlier this month, suggested that the NCAA eliminate redshirt seasons, when players are on the team but don't play. A redshirt season does not count toward eligibility.

About 70 percent of college football players are redshirted, Lyons said.

The proposal shouldn't increase costs because the scholarship limit will remain at 85, he said. "The pool of athletes may be around a year longer than they are now," he said.

The average student, not just one who plays sports, takes 4.8 years to graduate, said Lyons, citing an NCAA study. In addition, the NCAA's new academic standards are based on five years for a degree, he said.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches has proposed similar legislation for men's and women's basketball players. The American Football Coaches Association has supported the legislation for several years, Lyons said.

WVU top dog in Miami-less Big East

EAST RUTHERFORD — Miami is gone and the Big East is moving on with less star power and — it hopes — more competitive balance.

"Every team can legitimately say that we have a shot at being in a BCS game," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said Wednesday at Big East media day.

The Hurricanes and Virginia Tech, the league's other heavyweight in recent years, have relocated to the Atlantic Coast Conference after winning or sharing a combined 10 Big East titles since 1993.

Boston College will join Miami and Virginia Tech in the ACC next season and Temple is also in its last year as a Big East school. The Owls were ousted from the league and are preparing for life as an independent.

Syracuse was also courted by the ACC, but decided to stay put.

To replace the departed, Connecticut joins the Big East this season a year ahead of schedule and Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida will come aboard next season.

For now, the Big East is a seven-team league without a marquee program but with a guaranteed spot for its champion in the Bowl Championship Series.

So while the Hurricanes and Hokies will be missed in some ways, the teams they're leaving behind aren't exactly broken up about it.

"It was always fun to play against Miami at Miami," Pittsburgh tackle Rob Petitti said. "Seeing them run out with their smoke and their fans, it was like a dance club in there. I am going to miss playing against them because I never got to beat them."

On the other hand, "I've been working my butt off for four years. If it got a little easier for our team to make it (to the BCS), that's fine," Petitti said. "I don't care how we make it to the BCS. If we're in the Sugar Bowl, we're in the Sugar Bowl. That's all that matters to me."

Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky put it another refreshingly honest way.

"Would you be disappointed if you didn't have to play Miami?" he said.

Just ask Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, the former Miami assistant who has lost three games to the Hurricanes by a combined score of 137-27.

"I've been asked that a lot: 'Are you going to miss the challenge of coaching against Miami?' Yes and no," he said. "I've got enough challenges right now. I took over a program that's synonymous with challenge."

Miami and Virginia Tech brought the national spotlight — and some of the nation's best players — to the Big East. They also created a gap between themselves and the rest of the league that did nothing for the conference's overall image.

"This never was a two-team league as some may believe," Schiano said. "You don't have to look much further than last year when West Virginia was co-champs. As far as I know they're still sitting in this room."

The Mountaineers bring back much of last year's team and — despite all the parity talk — have been dubbed the clear-cut favorite to win the Big East.

West Virginia earned 25 of 28 first-place votes in the Big East's preseason media poll. Boston College got the other three first-place votes and was the overwhelming choice to finish second, followed by Pittsburgh, Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers and Temple.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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