Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, April 24, 2001


Chaminade College

Chaminade joins
crusade for preserving
exemption status

Exemption fight gets political

By Brandon Lee

CHAMINADE UNIVERSITY is allying itself with powerful forces in an attempt to maintain the status quo for its Maui Invitational men's basketball tournament.

Certified exemptions make it more profitable for NCAA Division I teams to play in Hawaii tournaments. The proposed elimination of those exemptions could seriously hurt the Invitational and other tournaments hosted by Hawaii's four NCAA Division II schools.

Chaminade has joined a national consortium to take on the NCAA, should the proposal pass in Thursday's board of directors vote.

The Division II university and representatives from Kemper Lesnik Sports Marketing (which runs the tournament) have joined counterparts from Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks and representatives of the National Invitation Tournaments. Other schools and organizations that host and run tournaments may join later.

It is not yet clear if Hawaii's other Division II schools will participate. BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii-Hilo and Hawaii Pacific all host holiday tournaments involving Division I teams.

"We're moving forward in a positive fashion," Chaminade athletic director and head basketball coach Aaron Griess said. "The people at Kemper have been doing most of the groundwork so far for (Chaminade)."

The group is preparing to gather signatures from Division I presidents against the proposal. The consortium has 60 days after Thursday's vote to complete the petition and file a formal appeal.

Collection of 100 signatures suspends the legislation until a floor vote by all Division I members at the next NCAA convention in July. Collection of 30 signatures still initiates a floor vote, but doesn't suspend the legislation in the meantime.

Like Chaminade, Anchorage and Fairbanks are also Division II. All are Pacific West Conference members.

Anchorage hosts The Great Alaska Shootout and Fairbanks hosts the Top of the World Classic.

Like the Invitational, the Shootout has traditionally been able to attract top-caliber competition, such as current national champion Duke.

"We're working hard to preserve the exemption status (with the petition)," Anchorage associate athletic director Tim McDiffett said yesterday.

"(The amendment being upheld) would be a crippling blow (to the Shootout) and could eventually lead to its demise."


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