Maryland football tailback George Scott, arrested last week on drug charges, "is in serious trouble as a student-athlete at the University of Maryland," Athletic Director Carl James said yesterday.
"I'm extudent-athlete at the University of Maryland." Athletic Director Carl James said yesterday.
I'm extremely concerned about the situation both for George and for Maryland," James said. "I think the nature of this situation has shocked us. This isn't like a test where we can call the professor and politely ask if he would consider a makeup.
"What I want to know now," James continued, "is whether he's going to class. I was asking one of the coaches this morning if Scott's been going to class. That's what he's supposed to be here for. George Scott has gotten himself into this and he's got to get himself out."
James said that Scott is taking two classes in the summer-school quarter that ends next week and is scheduled to take two more next quarter. "I believe he needs the courses to remain eligible for football," James said.
Scott could not be reached for comment on the situation.
James, athletic director at College Park for almost a year, discussed the Scott situation and other topics during an interview with The Washington Post.
The Scott incident is a major concern, James said, noting that it was the second arrest of as well-known Maryland athlete this year. Basketball captain Larry Gibson was arrested this spring on a breaking-and-entering charge.
(Gibson said last night that "the situation is all cleared up and I don't have any comment on it.")
Scott was charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine, distribution of marijuana and maintenance of a public nuisance.
Football Coach Jerry Claiborne is in Kentucky until next week and has said he will not take any action until he returns and talks to Scott.
"We know that sometimes our image isn't what it should be," James said. "Whenever something like this or the Gibson incident happens it is a real problem for us in terms of our image, especially in this area.
"We want to create a positive image for our athletes and our programs and when things like this happen we've got a helluva problem trying to do that. We've got to work a lot harder on these sort of things.
"You can't be with the kids all the time, especially in summer school. I know often coaches say to a kid, 'How you doing?' and they say, 'Great, coach.' Then the end of the semester comes and they've failed.
"It's hard on them but I don't want any of my coaches coming and telling me that the kid told him he was doing great. I don't want to hear that."
James said he would leave up to Claiborne a decision on what action, if any, should be taken with regard to Scott, adding, "Clearly, if George is guilty we've got a serious problem."
Overall, James said he was pleased with the football program, although he wants to increase dramatically the number of season ticket-holders from the current figure, 11,000.
"We should be able to fill Byrd Stadium just with the alumni we have in this area," James said. "But a lot of our current alumni were students when the football team wasn't doing well and they didn't go to football games as a result.
"I think it's important that we appeal to today's students because they are going to be alumni. I mean, give them whatever they want, free kegs or whatever, but get them in the habit of coming to football games while they're students."
Maryland has had to resort to half price ticket sales and constant promotions in order to fill Byrd Stadium in recent years, in spite of three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and six straight bowl appearances.
The schedule - Maryland has played many mediocre teams in recent years and, in fact, opens its 1979 season with Villanova - is considered part of the problem.
"I'm trying right now to get teams like Notre Dame and Pittsburgh on our future schedules," James said. "But it doesn't look like we'll be able to get Notre Dame until 1986. We want a balanced schedule but we also want a quality schedule."
James said he also would like to upgrade the basketball schedule, eliminating games with teams like Biscayne, a maryland opponent last season, and replacing them with teams like former ACC archrival South Carolina, signed for a gane in January 1981.
James Said he hopes to increase interest in the women's basketball team and has planned several women's basketball doubleheaders next season.
"It's funny, because the better our women's teams do, the more money they cost us," James said. "We're still not at the point where they're producing any revenue but when they do well we have to send them across the country to the nationals, which cost money.
"The one thing I want to be sure of at Maryland is that if we are going to spend this kind of money on funding scholarships, that the sports are treated intercollegiate, not as club, sports. I went to a women's field hockey games last year on Halloween and a lot of the girls were sitting on the bench wearing funny masks. Well, that's okay up to a certain point ."
While athletic director at Duke, James led a movement within the NCAA to make scholarships in nonrevenue sports based on financial need. Yesterday, however, he said that concept "is still down the road a ways."
But on the often controversial subject of football scholarships, which have dropped from unlimited to 30 a year, with a maximum total of 95, James was more definite.
"I think we can get by with 25 or 26 scholarships a year in football without any problem," he said. "But don't forget there are people out there who would still like to see a total of 120."
James said that while he admired former Athletic Director Jim Kehoe his style is quite different from that of his flamboyant predecessor.
"Jim Kehoe was at Maryland for 40 years," James said. "Before big-time sports, before a lot of changes happened, before a lot of the buildings on campus. I think he came to believe that Jim Kehoe's way was the only way.
"Certainly there's nothing wrong with that. But nowadays everything is political. Jim always came out and spoke his mind and didn't care what people thought.
"I don't see any real reason to put yourself in a position like that everyday. It's awkward now. I want a quality program. Each of my coaches has a goal, and it's my job to relate to that goal.
"If they come in to me with a (Renaldo) Nehemiah, I'm going to bust my butt to find a scholarship for him. But I don't want to give a scholarship to Joe Anybody. It isn't worth the money. CAPTION: Picture, Carl James