Howard University withdrew from the NCAA soccer tournament yesterday after school officials discovered an incligible player on the team.
Howard was scheduled to play in the tournament today.
The player, a freshman whom athletic director Leo Miles refused to identify, attended a semester a Colorado college last spring and therefore was a transfer student and ineligible for post season competition.
NCAA rules forbid transfer students who have not sat out one academic year from participating in national championship events, although they may be eligible for competition in their league.
"It's a policy of the NCAA soccer committee, that if a starter or frontline reserve is not eligible for post-season play, the school is disqualified from post-season competition," said Ralph McFillen, assistant director of events for the MCAA.
The NCAA also refused to identify the player involved.
Howard, 12-1 during the regular season, was scheduled to host Appan Regional semifinal. The NCAA said Appalachian will get a bye and advance to the final against Clemson.
Miles said Howard probably will forfeit its regular-season victories.
The ineligible player participated in every game and "was a good player," according to Miles.
"We discovered it Monday in double-checking our records," Miles said. "Coach Lincoln Phillips brought it to my attention. It had appeared he was coming in as a freshman from high school. "We notified the NCAA and, according to the rules, withdrew from the tournament. It was what we had to do, to be responsible people and act in a proper manner."
Although it disclosed the violation, Howard can be barred from NCAA tournament play for two more years by the NCAA Soccer Committee and with approval of the Executive Committee.
The NCAA Soccer Committee probably will take up the matter at its meeting next month in San Francisco. The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for April.
"That possibility does exist," said McFillen. "Howard has been extremely cooperative throughout the proceedings. It will be reviewed at the annual committee meeting in December."
It was the second time in seven years that Howard's soccer team, the 1974 NCAA champion, has been guilty of eligibility violations. But, unlike 1971, when the Bison were stripped of the title, it was Howard officials who discovered the violation.
In 1971, Howard's title was vacated because a number of the international players on the team failed to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test and therefore, technically, did not predict the 1.6 grade average then used as an eligibility requirement by the NCAA.
Miles still bitterly recalls that violation which he termed a technicality.
"They were 4.0 (straight A) students," he said, "but when they enrolled, they didn't predict D plus because they hadn't taken the tests."