The National Collegiate Athletic Association will delay starting any drug-testing program for at least a year, it became clear today. In another development, the Atlantic Coast Conference and CBS agreed to a two-year deal for televising football games.
The ACC will receive a minimum of 14 exposures over two years and be paid what sources said will approximate $3.5 million. The ACC becomes the first, and likely only, one of seven major constituencies in the College Football Association to defect from the CFA package on ABC.
The ACC's switch to CBS does not represent a breakup of the CFA, whose TV plan is voluntary, nor did it cause animosity among CFA members. "There are no hard feelings at all about what they've done," said Notre Dame's Gene Corrigan, a CFA TV negotiator.
As football TV continues to be the overriding issue at this NCAA convention, there are no emotional issues to be covered when the first voting session begins at the Opryland Hotel on Tuesday morning.
The delegates favor a drug-testing procedure at NCAA championships and selected football bowl games. But, in discussions today, they raised legal and moral questions about the proposal. Those concerns included the list of drugs, which include performance-enhancers but not common street drugs; the role of team doctors and why drugs prescribed by a physician in medical cases would be banned.
The only remaining question is whether the proposal will be tabled or passed with implementation being postponed at least a year. NCAA officials see a bad public-relations image if the proposal is tabled without floor debate.
"I'm a physician; I oppose this," said Dr. Paul Gikas, professor of pathology and faculty representative from the University of Michigan. "I spoke with our team doctor, and he opposes it vehemently.
"It's bad legislation. It's not going to accomplish what it intends to accomplish. The drug problem is a major public health problem. This is not the way to attack it."
Charles Harris, athletic director at the University of Pennsylvania, said he expects the proposal to be tabled. "It's the motherhood trick," he said. "You can't vote against it. But it's not as good legislation as it possibly could be."
But outgoing NCAA President John Toner said he is against tabling the proposal until the 1986 convention. "I don't mind having the effective date postponed a year," he said. "But I think it's important legislation to pass now to get it on the books."
The structure of the drug testing proposal seems to be the most controversial item. Modification of what Toner calls "the infamous Proposition 48," requiring minimum test scores to achieve initial eligibility, will not be decided until the 1986 convention, and the issues of institutional integrity and finances have been put off until a special convention this summer in New Orleans.
The CBS-ACC deal is seen as a move that all parties can live with. The ACC will get more money as well as exposures, and the remaining CFA schools will have a larger slice of ABC's pie to divide.
The ACC, whose football ability is scorned by other CFA members, had the minimum two exposures (one game) on ABC last season.
The Big Ten and Pacific-10, the only major football schools on CBS last season, also have agreed to a two-year contract with that network. The departure of Army, Navy and now the ACC gives CBS a total of 30 schools; the network still is negotiating with Miami (Fla.).
"It's a good deal," said Maryland Athletic Director Dick Dull. "It gives Maryland a chance to be on national television . . . It's clearly superior to what we would expect under the ABC-CFA package, when you use last year as a projection of what we will receive this year."
Neal Pilson, executive vice president of CBS Broadcasting Group, said the network had declined overtures from other CFA members. "These are two-year deals, but they create the future framework for telecasting major college football after 1986," he said.