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Plan for New Conference Under Scrutiny

from Times Staff Reports

A bid to form an NCAA Division I independent basketball conference--possibly including Cal State Northridge--for the 1991-92 season has been put on hold after planning meetings Sunday and Monday in Marco Island, Fla.

Officials from six of the 10 schools originally considering membership--the six being Northridge, United States International, Southern Utah State, Chicago State, Northeastern Illinois and Missouri-Kansas City--have stated that they want to join the proposed American Conference, USIU Athletic Director Al Palmiotto said.

Cal State Sacramento and Wright (Ohio) State are reportedly undecided. Six schools are needed to meet the NCAA’s minimum requirement for a Division I basketball conference.

Palmiotto, the driving force behind the alliance, said no formal commitment was made by the interested schools. A June 7 deadline for decisions had been set, but several schools needed more time.

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Northridge Athletic Director Bob Hiegert was in transit from Florida on Tuesday and was unavailable for comment. Before he left for the meetings he said that CSUN would seek an extension.

Northridge’s Intercollegiate Athletic Board, which will meet in September, would need to approve such a move, Hiegert said.

“Obviously, we would have liked to agree that the conference is the best idea,” Palmiotto said. “We haven’t ruled that out. But the faculties, presidents, board of trustees didn’t have enough time to see the ramifications of a new conference.”

Instead, the schools in attendance agreed to continue playing basketball against each other in January and February. A meeting of those schools is set for Jan. 8-11 in Nashville, Tenn.

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