Archive for Thursday, April 23, 1998

NCAA OPENS CAN OF WORKS WITH NEW WORK RULE

April 23, 1998

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The NCAA may have opened a can of worms on Wednesday, yet Kansas University athletics director Bob Frederick vows complete compliance.

``We're obviously going to support the rule,'' Frederick said, ``and we'll be working to see that the rule is adminstered properly.''

The NCAA board of directors ruled that Division I athletes may hold part-time jobs. The rule, which takes effect on Aug. 1, limits student-athletes to earning no more than $2,000 every year. Many coaches and administrators -- including Frederick -- argued against the proposal, first passed in January of 1997, because of the potential for cheating.

``I think many people thought we needed to pass legislation to allow student-athletes to work,'' Frederick said, ``but the closer it came to reality, many people, including myself, became nervous about the potential for abuse.

``We seemed to be revisiting some of the old things that used to haunt college athletics ... when athletes were paid for not working.''

According to Frederick, when the legislation was first suggested back in '97, Kansas student-athletes weren't lining up for jobs.

``We did hear comments from student-athletes saying, `When will we have time?' '' Frederick said.

Quite likely, the KU athletics department will have to hire someone to administer the work program.

``We think it will require almost a full-time person,'' Frederick said. ``We have to get real serious between now and Aug. 1. We're going to do it right, and we hope everybody else does, too.''

The new rule not only affects current student-athletes, it will change recruiting. In the future, coaches might have to offer a scholarship as well as the promise of a job that will pay $2,000.

``That scares me to death,'' Frederick said.

Over the last several years, the NCAA has passed legislation that virtually eliminated boosters from recruiting. However, the new work rule passed Wednesday allows student-athletes to work for boosters.

Say, for example, two schools have boosters in the carpet cleaning business. One booster hires student-athletes to work for him at $10 a hour while the other hires his school's student-athletes for $7 an hour.

Also, what if a student-athlete is hired for a job -- for example, a parking attendant at a fancy restaurant -- that includes tipping. Where does tipping fit into the NCAA framework?

``Maybe I should say we're real excited about this rule because if I don't somebody could use what I say against us in recruiting,'' Frederick said. ``I just hope somehow this is all done the right way.''

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