The issue of academic integrity, which has brought a record number of college and university presidents and chancellors as delegates to this NCAA convention, continued to be an emotional topic here today.
On the eve of the vote, proponents of the strongest academic proposal remained confident of victory without what they call crippling amendments.
There are 132 proposals scheduled to be voted on Tuesday and Wednesday, including major items such as the restructuring of the NCAA Council and executive committee.
The open debate on academic issues was continued at today's Division I round table. Afterward, representatives of the ACE and the black educators met privately to discuss possible compromises. No progress was reported, but Joseph Johnson, the president of Grambling State University, said in response to a question this afternoon that the proposal would pass if a roll-call vote is taken. But strategists for the ACE were wary tonight of last-minute lobbying and caucusing to change votes.
ACE authored the proposal that would require an athlete to make a minimum score on controversial tests and a 2.0 average in a core curriculum of 11 academic subjects in high school to be eligible to receive an athletic scholarship, compete or practice as a freshman.
"There are some good points raised by the representatives of the historically black institutions," said Peter McGrath, president of the University of Minnesota, during the Division I round table this morning.
"We want to be sensitive to that, and to the possibility of fine-tuning the proposal before it becomes effective (in 1986)," he said.
"The reality is, whether we want to say it publicly or not, there are abuses that have occured with the student-athlete . . . If this isn't the time to do so, I don't know when is."
George Johnson, the president of George Mason University, put the proposal in perspective: "It's to try to put the toothpaste back into the tube. We'll vote for it."
Among other Washington-area schools, delegates from Navy, Virginia and Towson State and American said they will vote for the proposal, No. 48, without comment; delegates from Maryland and Howard said they support more modest proposals on academics; Georgetown's position is unclear. On Sunday, a Georgetown delegate said the school could not vote for any proposal that requires a minimum test score, but today Georgetown was reported to be favoring the proposal. George Washington officials were not available for comment.
At a Sunday meeting of the 16-member Division I steering committee, a straw poll showed the committee voted, 9-7, in favor of Proposal 48.
The committee represents a cross-section of the division both politically and geographically.
The College Football Association has come out in favor of Proposal 48, but many of its schools apparently would rather pass a combination of Proposals 48 and 49, allowing a school to give a scholarship to an athlete who does not meet the eligibility requirement but has a 2.0 overall average in high school. The athlete also would lose a year's eligibility and could practice with the team.
Overshadowing the academic question is the possibility that the CFA might form its own division. One of the CFA's contentions is that other Division I schools have blocked efforts to impose tougher standards.
A roll call vote on the proposal is expected to be requested to put schools on the record.
If Proposal 48 fails, the major football schools would have more justification to seek their own division.