NCAA members refused once again today to either reorganize, as many major schools had wanted, or to allow athletic aid to be granted on the basis of family financial need, as many smaller schools had sought.
Following a pattern established at two meetings last year, the annual NCAA convention waded through five hours of rhetoric and sometimes heated exchanges to eventually wind up where it had started.
At one point, the president of the niversity of California, Santa Barbara, advised the women delegates in attendance to learn from what was happening on the convention floor so they would not, in essence, let their athletic organization look as foolish.
The deeply divided NCAA, which many feel is headed toward some sort of split, will conclude its convention Wednesday, but many delegates are expected to leave early since formal discussion of the two most controversial issues has now ended.
The downfall of the reorganization proposal, which was backed mainly by the major football powers, came this morning. It was a victory for those so-called major basketball schools that do not field football teams. Their triumph was so decisive that the reorganization proponents admitted defeat without ever letting the measure come up for a vote.
Admitting that the reorganization legislation had run into strong, and unexpectedly pointed, opposition, proponents moved to table the proposal for more study. The tabling motion passed easily.
"It was a victory for a lot of hard work," said American University athletic director Bob Frailey, who was part of a steady lobbying force of mainly Eastern colleges that opposed the legislation. "It was a bad proposal. It was ill-timed and now they can come up with something better," Frailey said.
The basketball schools were incensed that the reorganization measure would have placed them in Division II instead of Division I (major cllege division) just because they do not have football. Although they would have been allowed to compete in individual Division I sports (such as in the NCAA Division I basketball tournament), they would not have had a vote at these conventions on any Division I ssues.
"It was incredible that they (the proponents) thought they could take a school like Georgetown, which has a rich academic and athletic tradition, and tell it that it was no longer a major school but now a minor school just because it doesn't play big-time football," said Georgetown athletic director Frank Rienzo. "Fortunately, enough schools realized how ludicrous this thinking was."
The football powers generally took the defeat calmly, unlike last year when many talked about leaving the NCAA immediately.
Boyd McWhorter, commissioner of the militant Southeastern Conference, said that he felt reorganization "still will come about and soon. I just don't think we have come up with a proposal yet that is narrow enough and that attacks the problems of football head-on. Once that comes about, things will fall into place."
It was not a total victory for some basketball schools, however. The convention did approve strictre rules for awarding conferences automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA basketball tournament. Those restrictions, which stipulate that conferences must sponsor championships in six sports by 1980 to keep their bid, affects the ECAC, which includes Georgetown, and the new Eastern Collegiate Basketball League, which includes George Washingto.
Neither conference currently sponsors six championships, although they could meet that criteria by 1980.
The proposals on need came up at the afternoon session, which lasted an hour longer than scheduled. Many NCAA officials had expected some sort of limited-need package to be approved, but delegates consistently refused to which includes George Washington ability.
The key test vote came on a proposal sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley, which would have awarded athetes financial aid only on the basis of need, except for tuition and mandatory fees.This legislation was a watered-down version of a proposal last year that called for even tuition and fees to fall under a need umbrella. That proposal was voted down by just eight votes in Division I.
The Berkeley legislation, however, was disapproved by a 146-102 vote in Division I and by a 66-45 vote in Division II. The small-college division (III) already is on a need formula.
Later proposals that would have included all sports but basketball and football within the need criteria were also defeated, despite pleas from proponents for the convention to try out "need" on a limited basis in the so-called minor sports.
The Rev. Edmund Joyce of Notre Dame, who last year was credit with fighting back a trend to "need" legislation with a fiery, last-minute speech, almost hurt the cause today for his side.
Near the end of another speech against the need philosophy, Joyce read from some old magazine stories outlining recruiting violations that occurred under similar need legislation adopted by the NCAA in 1950. Those violations involved athletes from UCLA, Southern California and Stanford.
UCLA athletic director J. D. Morgan replied that he was "aghast at what is happening I resent his (Joyce's) pointed remarks at my university."
"But what really bothers me is the feeling . . . that exists in this august body. I think we came together for the benefit of intercollegiate athletics and for fair competition and sportsmanship. I have seen very little of any of those. I believe I have seen the low of all time."
Joyce later apologized "if my remarks offended anyone" although he refused to back off from his major point that need legislation cannot be regulated and instead would be widely abused and misused.
That fear of cheating apparently won out over arguments by Pacific Eight schools that switching to need would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in athletic funds yearly.
The failure of need legislation to win convention approval was a stunning blow to the more thwn 100 college presidents in attendance here. Most had come to push need, which many think is the only way to avoid financial chaos for intercollegiate athletes.
Most major schools, however, feel such legislation would ruin their football programs. The major powers have let it be known that forcing need legislation on them would most likely lead to an immediate walkout.
About the only piece of legislation to gain approval today was a resolution allowing eight predominantly black schools, including Grambling, Alcorn State and Florida A&M, to compete in Division I football although they do not meet all the current criteria for admittance, especially in the scheduling area.