NCAA Suspends Terrapins' Milanovich
By Mark Asher
For Eight Games
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 11, 1995
University of Maryland senior quarterback Scott Milanovich was suspended for eight games by the NCAA for betting on college sports events, sources familiar with the case said last night.
Three other football players, including star wide receiver Jermaine Lewis, were suspended for one game each, and Matt Raydo, a seldom-used reserve basketball player, was suspended for 20 games, sources said.
The decision represented a more severe penalty for Milanovich, a preseason all-American, than Maryland officials were expecting. Athletic Director Debbie Yow had described the violations as "stubbed toes . . . not broken bones."
In a statement released last night, the university said that it had asked permission of all five athletes to release their names. Four agreed and the university was awaiting authorization from the fifth. According to Yow, linebacker Jaron Hairston, center Farad Hall and Lewis received one-game suspensions for betting on football parlay cards.
Raydo received the 20-game suspension for betting on college athletic events.
The fifth athlete, identified by sources close to the case as Milanovich, was found to have bet between $25 and $50 each on a total of six college football and basketball games. The university found no evidence its athletes bet on Maryland games or affected the outcome of Maryland games.
Maryland will appeal the suspensions of Milanovich and Raydo.
Milanovich, because he has been out of high school for more than three years, can renounce his final year (three games) of eligibility and apply to be considered for the upcoming NFL supplemental draft, an NFL spokesman said last night. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will make the final decision whether or not Milanovich could be drafted this summer.
Three weeks ago Maryland declared Milanovich and four other athletes ineligible. It recommended a two-game suspension for Milanovich, seven games for Raydo and one game for the other three football players. The school, in a report, requested the NCAA to restore their eligibility.
Rule 10.3, which Milanovich and the other athletes violated, prohibits organized gambling on college sports by athletes or athletic department staff members. It also prohibits the same people from knowingly furnishing information about their team to gamblers. The NCAA does not forbid gambling by athletes or staff members on pro sports, according to Dirk Taitt, an NCAA enforcement representative.
In issuing the penalities against Maryland, NCAA spokesman Francis Canavan said that eligibility staff took into consideration previous cases involving gambling. The eligibility staff "understands the penalties to be quite severe, but based on the facts of the case felt very comfortable that they warranted that." According to Canavan, there was a differentiation "between the fact situations in previous cases and the fact situation in this case."
"Although I respect the complexities for the NCAA eligibility staff in reviewing such information, I must say we clearly disagree with the severity of the sanctions in two of the cases," Yow said last night. "Based on precedent of penalties made in earlier cases, the penalties levied against two of our athletes appear to be excessive."
The Maryland suspensions come at a time when gambling by college students is gaining increased attention. The NCAA basketball tournament committee expressed its worries about the impact of widespread gambling on college games when it sought unsuccessfully earlier this year to ban from the Final Four sportswriters from newspapers that publish point spreads. This spring, Sports Illustrated published a three-part series chronicling gambling on college campuses by athletes and non-athletes. At the Final Four in Seattle, a panel of university administrators and media representatives met to discuss the problem of gambling on campus.
An allegation against Milanovich was first brought to the attention of school officials on March 6 by a journalist who was working on a story about gambling on college basketball. Maryland officials notified the NCAA and the ACC of the allegation that day and began their investigation, as stipulated by NCAA rules.
Yow and two attorneys -- Susan Bailey, from campus president William E. Kirwan's office, and Douglas P. Lobel, a Washington attorney and former state and federal prosecutor who provided the university with expertise in its review -- conducted most of the interviews. Men and women athletes from at least three teams were interviewed.
When he was interviewed during the spring Milanovich reportedly told the investigators the incident was reported "out of context" and that he was exaggerating the amount of his bet to impress a woman who was present.
The investigators concluded their review in May. During the week of June 19, Maryland declared Milanovich and the other athletes ineligible, as the university is required by NCAA procedures, and sent a report to the NCAA. The report included the facts of the case and Maryland's requests for the athletes' eligibility to be reinstated, after recommended suspensions.
Football coach Mark Duffner said last week Brian Cummings, who scored four touchdowns last season but has not thrown a pass in his college career, will start in Milanovich's absence.
Reached last night, Duffner said, "It's not what we were necessarily looking for but we're not looking back. We're looking forward to the start of the season, we're making steady progress. We're not going to let anything get in the way of that progress."
Basketball coach Gary Williams could not be reached for comment.
Milanovich completed 229 of 333 passes for 2,394 yards, 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions last season. He also is the Terrapins' punter, averaging 41.8 yards per kick last season. He was selected by Sport magazine as a 1995 preseason all-American.
After a record-setting sophomore season, Milanovich struggled at the beginning of last season and was benched for two games in favor of Kevin Foley. But Milanovich regained the starting job in the fifth week of the season and played well the rest of the year. Foley has since transferred to Boston University.
Milanovich contemplated entering the NFL draft after last season. He sent his name to the NFL evaluation committee that projects where non-seniors likely will be chosen. Milanovich was projected to be selected in the third through seventh rounds, and he decided to remain in school.
However, Milanovich dropped all his classes last fall, as Maryland rules allow students to do once without penalty. Milanovich successfully passed 18 hours this spring, and he is taking six hours of summer classes in order to be academically eligible to play this fall.
Staff writer David Nakamura and special correspondent Gene Wang contributed to this report.
© 1995 The Washington Post Company
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