The Preps / Scott Howard-Cooper : NCAA Ruling Definitely One for the Books

This one is for high school athletes with the ability and desire to play college sports.

And for the coaches who want to see them make it.

And for the parents who want to understand what it will take to get them there.

Having a 2.0 grade-point average, with classes such as physical education and woodworking, won’t cut it anymore if you want a college scholarship. Not with the NCAA’s Proposition 48 set to take effect Aug. 1, 1986.


Current seniors, who will enroll in college next fall, will be the first affected by the new rules, unless they are amended, which is the hope of some. But if everything stays as is, recruiters and athletes will find tougher standards.

The 2.0, on a scale of 4.0, will still be mandatory, but only core classes such as English, math, social studies and natural sciences will be counted. In addition, the student will need a 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or a 15 on the American College Test.

Most recruiters, no matter which sport, say that their jobs will be tougher because fewer people are expected to qualify, meaning that fewer athletes will be available.

“Let’s face it, in the past a lot of schools would go and look at a situation, and if the kid had a 2.0, that’s all they were concerned about,” said Jim Molinari, an assistant basketball coach who handles recruiting at DePaul. “But this narrows down the field of prospects. And another thing, some colleges might have to take a risk. Some kid might have a 2.5, but has not taken the tests yet. If he is a great player, most would sign him. But if he doesn’t pass the test (and the school has signed the player), the school loses a scholarship. He can come to school, but he can’t play athletics.”

Some students are already being affected and serious recruiting for football hasn’t even started. Just the other day, USC had to turn its back on a major prospect because Trojan officials did not expect him to make the grade, so to speak.

“I was talking with his coach today,” USC recruiting coordinator Dick Laguens said. “He has been keeping in constant touch for the past year and a half because he knows (the player) can be one of the top recruits around, a Marcus Allen All-American-type. He has been trying to get the player to understand what it will take to get him to make it to a four-year school, what kind of future he has down the road. That’s difficult to sell to a 17-year-old kid, but it has to be done.”

Getting the selling done certainly seems to be the problem. It’s as though this new ruling, which could determine if an athlete can go to the school of his choice, is catching a lot of people by surprise.

“I would be willing to bet that you would go 10 for 10 of students not knowing about the changes,” said Scott Hill, football recruiting coordinator for the University of Oklahoma. “That’s where the pressure comes in for the principals, coaches and parents--to get the word out.”

An informal survey last weekend in areas as diverse as the San Gabriel Valley, Watts and Orange County indicated that Hill’s statement was not farfetched. Not only were most senior football players unaware of the proposition, so were coaches and athletic directors. Of 10 people polled only three--two coaches and one player--knew anything substantive about the changes.

“I’ve received letters from college coaches about some of my players, but they said nothing of that,” Covina Coach Rick Brown said. “I don’t think there will be much on the subject until some great athlete does not make it to college.”

The regulation is somewhat controversial and has its share of opponents who may push for an amendment to loosen the standards, which they say are unfair to inner-city students. Others have suggested, as an alternative, a flexible system in which, for example, a football player could score less than 700 on the SAT if his grade-point average were 2.5.

“Different colleges have different admissions requirements,” said Frank Rienzo, Georgetown’s athletic director, who opposes the new regulations. “Each school deals with different constituents. I don’t think it is a positive idea to put each kid with the same professor in college when you didn’t give them the same teaching, money support and opportunities through high school.

“Now, all of the sudden, everyone is created equal when they become seniors in high school?”

Countered DePaul’s Molinari: “I really feel it’s a good idea. I think it has made high school coaches and young men in high school think about the future and the prospects of college.”

Proposition 48 is expected to have such a dramatic effect on recruiting that some national scouting services that supply information to colleges are taking note.

For example, Max Emfinger, who runs the National High School Football Magazine, concluded that the best prep player in the country this year is quarterback Billy Ray of Dunwoody, Ga. As a junior, Ray, a 6-foot 4-inch, 200-pounder, completed 63% of his passes, rushed for 610 yards and 10 touchdowns.

But beyond that, he has a 3.5 grade-point average, which makes him a real catch.

Prep Notes

Second-ranked Fontana has forfeited its 34-0 season-opening victory over Pomona Garey because it used a 14-year-old player. Varsity players must be at least 15 . . . Santa Ana Saddleback guard Bryant Walton has committed to play basketball at California. . . . Oklahoma, which has a long-standing relationship with L.A. Banning, is after Pilot lineman Mark Tucker, and the Sooners’ informal want-list of local players also includes Pomona running back J.J. Flannigan, Van Nuys Montclair Prep lineman Todd Bowser, Fontana lineman Nigel Clay and Long Beach Jordan lineman Dennis Brown. . . . What Southern Section football team has the best record in the ‘80s? Updating a Southern Section office list with the first two games of 1985, Atascadero at 63-7 for a .900 percentage just edges out Baldwin Park which is 54-7 for .885. Lynwood, 52-9-1 for .847, El Modena, 58-12-1 for .824 and Whittier Christian, 53-12-0 for .815 round out the top five. . . . Senior quarterback Scott Stark spent most of last season on the bench for the Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley football team, but the transfer from Ontario Chaffey has made up for lost time in a big way. He opened the season against Foothill, a defensive-minded team in recent years, by completing 26 of 34 passes for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Cougars won, 26-7, then followed that up Friday against Anaheim Canyon with 17 completions in 26 attempts for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns. Said Cougar Coach Dick Enright, who coached Dan Fouts at the University of Oregon: “I think he’s better than Dan was at this stage. He’s got those strong wrists that give him such a quick release.” To give Stark the starting job, Enright moved Nathan Call to wide receiver, and all Call did last season as quarterback was throw for 1,500 yards. Stark is the son of Ray Stark, a long-time teacher and coach at Chaffey who left football in 1983, then died of bone cancer last June. . . . La Canada St. Francis lineman Jeff Arrobio is son of Chuck Arrobio, who played at USC during the Mike Garrett era of the mid-60s and later with the Minnesota Vikings.

Times’ Top 10

SOUTHERN SECTION Through Games of Sept. 22

No. School, League Record 1. LB Poly, Moore 1-0-0 2. Fontana, Citrus Belt 1-1-0 3. Bishop Amat, Angelus 2-0-0 4. Riverside Poly, Citrus Belt 2-0-0 5. Claremont, Baseline 2-0-0 6. El Modena, Century 2-0-0 7. CC Canyon, Golden 2-0-0 8. Fountain Valley, Sunset 2-0-0 9. Servite, Angelus 2-0-0 10. St. Paul, Angelus 2-0-0


No. School, League Record 1. Carson, Pacific 1-0-0 2. Banning, Pacific 1-0-0 3. San Fernando, Valley 1-0-0 4. Gardena, Pacific 0-1-0 5. Kennedy, Valley 1-0-0 6. Granada Hills, Valley 1-0-0 7. Dorsey, Pacific 1-0-0 8. Canoga Park, Sunset 1-0-0 9. Locke, Freeway 1-0-0 10. Cleveland, Valley 1-0-0