You win some and you lose some.
That, at least, was the attitude Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick adopted Monday, the first day of the 89th NCAA convention in San Diego.
Frederick voted in favor of a successful partial-qualifier measure, but his support wasn't enough to pass the hotly contested motion to grant a fourth year of eligibility for partial qualifiers who work their way into good academic standing.
"I knew the vote on the fourth year would be close," Frederick said in a phone interview from his San Diego hotel. "I was hoping we'd prevail on that, and I was disappointed that we didn't. If we are going to allow a partial qualifier financial aid and if we're going to allow them to practice, then to tell him or her at the end of three years of competition that he or she doesn't have any more chance to play, even though he or she may have made progress toward a degree, I don't think that's right.
"I think we should reward a young person who may not have had the greatest preparation in high school but comes to the university and does a good job."
The members upheld the stricter initial-eligibility guidelines spelled out in the so-called Proposition 16, but they voted to postpone their implementation until Aug. 1, 1996. Originally, they were to go into effect this August.
Proposition 16, which passed in 1992, uses a sliding scale that ties standardized test scores and high school grade-point average. Current Proposition 48 guidelines set admission standards as a 2.0 GPA in 11 core courses and at least a 700 SAT or a 17 ACT test score.
Proposition 16 would require a 2.5 GPA in 13 high school core courses and a 700 SAT or 17 ACT score. At the other end of the sliding scale, student-athletes with a 2.0 GPA would need a 900 SAT or a 21 ACT score.
On Monday, the NCAA members voted to keep the Proposition 16 guidelines and added a partial qualifier clause, whereby a student with a 2.75 GPA in the 13 core courses who scored a 15 on the ACT or a 600 on the SAT still could receive an athletic scholarship and could practice along with his or her team but could not compete.
The partial qualifier clause will take effect along with Proposition 16 in August, 1996.
"At this point, we have been favorably disposed toward accepting partial qualifiers who we believe had a chance to be successful," Frederick said.
But those partial qualifiers who work their way into good academic standing won't be granted a fourth-year of eligibility. To Frederick's dismay, that measure failed, 168-155 with six abstentions.
"Those people who voted against the idea thought that it would be abused and that coaches would tell high school student-athletes, 'Don't worry if you don't make your test score or GPA requirement, you can still come in and practice and have four years,'" Frederick said. "I think their thinking is that they'd lose some of the incentive to work hard in high school.
"But I'm not sure that young people of that age are thinking about all that down the line. I think it's more important, when they get to the university level and perform well academically, I think we should reward them with that fourth year of eligibility."
A measure that would end all freshman eligibility failed miserably, 311-17.
"I wasn't surprised," Frederick said. "I think there are some people who really believe that would be the best thing for student-athletes to make the transition. And I think there are other people who think that we have so many young people who are talented enough they can compete right away."
Perhaps the hottest topic at the convention will never reach the floor -- the idea that student-athletes should be paid to play.
"That may be addressed in the hallways -- anyplace except on the convention floor, because it's not proposed legislation," Frederick said. "But it may be a topic in future years."
Today's topics, Frederick said, included playing in practice seasons, recruiting and personnel matters.
"I don't think there's anything controversial," he said.