The annual Capital Classic high school all-star basketball game may die after this year because of a new NCAA rule.

The classic, which matches top national players against local stars, is one of several major postseason games likely to be eliminated by the rule change.

Under the new rule, the only all-star basketball games that will receive certification from the NCAA will be those between teams from adjoining states. That would mean the format used here, and in several other games around the country, would not be legal.

"We received notification about this change in November," said Bob Geoghan, director of the Capital Classic. "They were concerned that the kids were playing too many games. But this idea, the adjoining state thing, we hadn't heard a thing about."

Geoghan quickly applied to the NCAA for a waiver of the new rule, maintaining that plans and a date (March 26 at Capital Centre) for his game already had been set.

"We granted the waiver to a number of games, including the one in Washington, because we felt they had not been given enough time to make adjustments because of the new rule," said David Berst of the NCAA enforcement division. "But the waivers that we granted we think of as being a one-year thing because of the late notification date. As far as I know, no such waivers will be granted in the future."

If that is the case, the Capital Classic, now in its eighth year of drawing near-capacity crowds to Capital Centre, will have to change its format or go out of business.

"The NCAA told us that it would consider waiver possibilities for next year after this year's game," Geoghan said.