A.B. Williamson, Howard University's basketball coach, said yesterday that the NCAA's proposal No. 48, which places stricter academic standards on the 227 Division I schools, will effectively eliminate "almost all black kids from competition in their first year" and will serve only "cream-of-the-crop" schools.
"They should just go back to the freshman ineligibility rule," said Williamson, referring to the rule that required athletes to sit out their first season. That rule was dropped in 1973. "I think this rule will hurt almost all of the schools but a significant few who get the cream of the crop (recruits). And they were the ones pushing for passage of the rule."
No. 48 requires athletes to have completed a "core curriculum" of mathematics, English, social and physical sciences, and sets higher minimum standards for college entrance exams. Many black educators opposed the measure at the NCAA meetings, asserting that it was racially and regionally discriminatory.
Coach Floyd Keith of Howard's football team said the rules "wouldn't affect a player" on his team, but that he feels No. 48 will hurt the smaller, poorer schools but will help in the long run.
"I think, without question, it will hinder a good number of the urban, vocational schools. I have known a lot of good players with 1.8 grade point averages who got to school and became good students, and this rule will hurt them," he said. "But one balances out the other. It may make high school players become more serious students."
Chip Zimmer, acting athletic director at George Washington, said the new standards are lower than GW had required and would not affect its athletes. But he sees the new rule as an attempt to end corruption among Division I schools.
"I feel it is about time; it shows they are trying to get the outlaws back in line," said Zimmer, who advocates a return to freshman ineligibility. "There are so many illegalities occuring right now. I don't see it aimed at black schools, but mainly the larger universities and private schools. It will come down on the types of schools you see on probation.
"I look for this rule to get more severe in years to come."
Other area coaches or athletic directors could not be reached for comment.