National Football League owners decided today to leave their annual college football draft in the early spring instead of moving it forward to compete more directly with the U.S. Football League, an NFL spokesman said.
It had been proposed by the competition committee, chaired by Tex Schramm of the Dallas Cowboys, that the NFL move its draft to February to head off some of the inroads made by the USFL after its January draft.
"It would have taken more than 21 of the 28 clubs to move the draft up," said Joe Brown of the league's public relations department, "and there wasn't that kind of support to move it."
Next year's draft was set for April 30. "This gives them (NFL coaches) more time between the end of the season and the draft," Brown said.
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said the USFL's $1.2 billion antitrust suit against the NFL, declining television ratings -- particularly on the showcase Monday night series -- and escalating salaries were among today's topics.
Rozelle refused to detail the discussions, which he termed "privileged."
Brown said Wednesday's meetings will be devoted to the preseason schedule and discussion of players' salaries. Navy: Stars Just Visiting
Carl Peterson, president and general manager of the USFL Philadelphia Stars, will visit the Naval Academy today, but Capt. J.O. Coppedge, Navy's athletic director, said he still is not interested in leasing Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to the Stars next season.
"He said he'd come down and visit, and I always like to have a visit," Coppedge said. "But nothing has changed."
Stars owner Myles Tanenbaum has announced he will move the franchise to Baltimore for the 1986 season, when the USFL has said it will compete in the fall. But Tanenbaum needs a site for his team's games next spring, because the Baltimore Orioles' lease with Memorial Stadium prevents a football team from playing there in the spring.
Meanwhile, Dick Dull, athletic director at the University of Maryland, said he is continuing talks with the Stars. "But we haven't offered the place yet, and they haven't asked us," Dull said.
Dull said he has been told by the NCAA that it will be permissible to lease the stadium to a pro team and use the proceeds for athletics as long as it is on an emergency basis and the rental is a fixed fee and not a percentage of gross.