Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Monday, January 12, 1998

NCAA should recognize feats of the AIAW

THOSE good folks at the NCAA are meeting this week, trying to put "student" back in the term "student-athlete."

This is a noble gesture. After all, the umbrella association for college athletics is making big bucks off its underpaid labor force (i.e. athletes).

Many will argue that student-athletes are already well-paid with scholarships, and possibly overpaid, since a good education is priceless. But it can be argued that these athletes have the right to work, just like the rest of the student body.

Last year's convention attendees approved a measure known as Proposition 62 that allowed athletes to hold part-time jobs. The NCAA Board of Directors delayed implementation of that plan for a year when it met last August, wanting more time to set up guidelines.

Those guidelines will be unveiled tomorrow when the board makes its recommendations on the work issue. Let's hope the new provisions won't mean another telephone book-size regulation manual.

"I think what they've tried to do is put in more provisions to allow for greater control by individual institutions," said Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Karl Benson, who is attending the convention in Atlanta. "The controls regard when athletes work, how much they can work and who can employ them.

"There is such a fear that this will cause or create violations. My feeling is there comes a time when you shouldn't be so concerned about a violation and be more concerned about the athletes you're supposed to be serving."

THE NCAA is so concerned about potential abuses that it is holding workshops on that matter this week. If there's so much concern, then find a solution.

Here's one: Take some of the millions of dollars paid by networks for the broadcast rights of college sports and provide allowances for each intercollegiate athlete.

A Division I-A football playoff system isn't one of the topics at this week's convention. Executive director Cedric Dempsey said the NCAA wanted to see how - and if - the Super Alliance that controls the postseason bowl alignment works to create a game to determine the national champion.

The revenue figures being tossed around for a championship playoff system are $100 million. That alone would provide some decent pocket money for student-athletes instead of worrying about them being in a booster's pocket.

One issue that should be addressed by the NCAA is recognition of records and championships from when women's athletics were overseen by the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).

THE NCAA only recognizes women's accomplishments as of the 1981-82 school year, ignoring decades of great teams and individuals.

Maybe the NCAA still holds a grudge after losing the Title IX battle. When it saw that it couldn't beat the equality law passed in 1972, the NCAA decided to control women's athletics.

It was a hostile takeover. Now the hostilities should end. The NCAA should recognize the feats of the AIAW.

This week's Sports Illustrated has a short piece on senior guards Alika Smith and Anthony Carter, Hawaii's "Dynamic Duo."

It also mentions the renewed fan interest in UH men's basketball, a program that for years "was being outdrawn by women's volleyball." Intended or not, it was an unnecessary swipe at UH volleyball, and Wahine volleyball in particular.

One of these decades, the mainstream media will come to appreciate more than football, basketball, hockey and baseball.

Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.

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