Ruling may affect UMass
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 3/9/1999

If the ruling made Monday by a federal judge in Philadelphia holds up on appeal, the restrictions on NCAA freshman eligibility standards will be drastically altered.

According to wire reports, U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter said the current Proposition 48 and Proposition 16 NCAA bylaws violate civil rights laws because of their unjustified impact on black students.

Currently, athletes who do not meet a minimum standardized test score and high school grade-point average are prohibited from receiving an athletic scholarship and from playing or practicing during their freshman year.

A recent rules revision held that players who receive a high enough GPA without the standardized test score would be allowed to receive a scholarship and to practice, but not compete in games.

Depending on how long the appeals process takes, University of Massachusetts Minutemen senior center Lari Ketner could be granted another year of eligibility.

Ketner has indicated, however, that even if the rule were changed, he would not return to school.

But the change could benefit sophomore center Kitwana Rhymer and junior guard Monty Mack, both of whom sat out their freshman seasons due to the NCAA rules. Mack already had the opportunity to regain his lost year if he earned enough credits to graduate in four years, but the rule change could guarantee him the extra year without requiring that a specific number of credits be fulfilled.

Several Minutemen in the 1990s have been affected by the rules, including Tyrone Weeks, Kennard Robinson and Donta Bright.

The NCAA has asked that Buckwalter issue a stay of his ruling until it appeals to the 3rd U.S. District Court of Appeals.

The ruling was made as a result of a lawsuit made on behalf of two Philadelphia High School seniors, who finished in the top 10 percent of their class, but didn't achieve the NCAA-mandated minimum test scores.

With the Spring National Letter-of-Intent approaching next month, the late recruiting landscape could change drastically, as schools that don't accept Prop. 48 players could get involved with a whole new pool of players.

Material from the Washington Post was used in this story.

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