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Alternative Eligibility Rule Urged : Bench Freshmen, Give Them 4 Years to Play, Coach Says

Associated Press

Louisiana State basketball coach Dale Brown, a critic of a new NCAA rule on scholarships, has proposed an alternative that would make freshmen ineligible for athletics but still give them four years of eligibility.

Brown suggested that his proposal begin as soon as next year and that all freshmen be allowed to practice with their teams.

“I’m advocating something that just makes common sense to me,” Brown said Monday.

Under present NCAA rules, freshmen are eligible to compete if they meet entrance and scholarship requirements, but their athletic scholarships end after four years unless they have been redshirted. Students athletes who miss a year of playing but keep that year of eligibility are said to be redshirted. Ineligible freshmen cannot practice.

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According to Proposition 42, adopted at last week’s NCAA convention in San Francisco, high school students who meet only part of the NCAA’s college entrance requirements would be denied scholarships as freshmen. A freshman could pay his own way but would then have only three years of athletic eligibility.

The new rule is scheduled to begin in 1990.

“Nobody thought it would go through,” Brown said. “We thought for sure they would adopt the intelligent proposal that if a kid stays in school, he would get a fourth year back. That failed. Everybody was shocked.”

Brown said he hopes to arrange a meeting with NCAA executive director Dick Schultz to discuss his idea. LSU Athletic Director Joe Dean said he approves of Brown’s plan but does not expect any further action on Proposition 42 before the NCAA convention next January in Dallas.

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