The NCAA allowa a Division I basketball team to issue a "medical exemption" scholarship to an injured athlete without counting it against the 15-scholarship limit, as George Washington University Coach Gerry Gimelstob said in a story in Thursday's editions concerning his decision not to renew the scholarship of Jon Turner. nder an NCAA rule adopted in 1979, the player does not count against the limit if he is injured "to the point that he apparently will be unable to participate in intercollegiate athletics ever again." Gimelstob said that GW team physicians had told him this was the case with Turner. Turner, who sat out his freshman year with a knee injury suffered during his senior year of high school, is appealing the coach's action. Gimelstob cited "attitude" as the reason he did not renew Turner's grant-in-aid.
Jon Turner, a George Washington University basketball player who sat out last season as a freshman with a knee injury, said last night he is appealing a decision by new Coach Gerry Gimelstob not to renew his scholarship.
Turner, a 6-foot-4 guard from Bloomfield, Conn., said he was unfairly ousted from the team. He charges that Gimelstob misinformed him of his options, then took away the scholarship when Turner talked of transferring.
Under NCAA rules, scholarships are renewable annually and a coach may decide not to renew one for a number of reasons, including injury, according to David Berst, NCAA director of enforcement. The same rules allow any athlete whose scholarship is not renewed to appeal to a faculty review committee, as Turner has done.
"I'm pressing this matter because I think they've been unfair," Turner said. "Obviously, I won't be playing for GW next year, or getting its scholarship money. I think I've been left in a bad situation.
"Here I've got a brace, and scars on my legs. I'm trying to find a school that will take a chance on me. . . I'm sorry GW doesn't want to, because I like the school."
Contacted last night, Gimelstob said, "He did not have the type of attitude that was positive for our team."
Asked to amplify, Gimelstob replied, "I don't think I should."
Both Turner, who had been assured in January by previous coach Bob Tallent that his scholarship would be renewed, and Gimelstob agreed that their relationship was strained from their first meeting.
The player and coach had discussed in early April Turner's options.
"It would have been foolish for me not to think of other schools," Turner said. "The coach said, 'Let's see what we can work out.' Then a few days later I told him I wanted to stay, but the earlier conversations were already working against me."
Turner has not played a full season of basketball since he was a junior in high school. He was a standout at summer camps between his junior and senior year, but injured his knee in the first game of his senior year. Since, he has undergone two operations, the second a complete reconstruction of the knee at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Turner said he visited the Mayo Clinic again last month and that doctors there told him he would be able to resume playing basketball. Gimelstob said last night he had been advised by GW's team physician, Steve Haas, that Turner would be unable to play again.
Gimelstob denied that the reason he did not renew Turner's scholarship was to have four grants-in-aid to give players he has recruited. Gimelstob had three scholarships available. He said Randy Davis, who announced Tuesday in a unrelated move that he was transferring to North Carolina-Charlotte, had told him previously he was looking for another school at which to play.
Davis, who will have two years of eligibility at UNCC, was GW's starting point guard and leading scorer last season. The team's record was 8-19, which led to Tallent's firing.
Gimelstob said that under NCAA rules, Turner could have remained on scholarship and it wouldn't have counted against GW's 15-scholarship limit because of "medical exemption." Bob Minnix, an NCAA investigator, said last night there was no such rule. Told that, Gimelstob replied, "Come by my office tomorrow, I'll show it to you."
Gimelstob said he would have kept Turner on scholarship had his attitude been acceptable.
Gimelstob, an assistant at NCAA champion Indiana last season, replaced Tallent in late March.Two months earlier, Turner said, he had asked Tallent whether his scholarship would be renewed and Tallent had assured him it would be. Tallent, in confirming this last night, characterized Turner as "a nice kid."