Unlike a year ago, a proposal to be considered at next week's NCAA convention that would establish drug testing at championship events and bowl games is not expected to face much opposition from delegates, according to NCAA president John R. Davis.
"Outside of the NCAA, there have been some things that might influence people's attitudes -- the situation in baseball, the kid at Tennessee (quarterback Tony Robinson, charged with selling cocaine)," Davis said. "There are some attitudes that, unless we move in on it, it's going to continue to go unchecked."
The testing, which would begin in the 1986-1987 academic year, would result in an athlete being declared ineligible for a championship event or bowl game for 90 days if he or she tests positive for any drug on a list that includes anabolic steroids and street drugs.
Regular-season eligibility would not be affected, and tests only could be administered in conjunction with an NCAA championship or bowl game.
The first testing is expected to be done at the NCAA cross-country championships.
Each test will cost about $200, according to the NCAA, and first-year testing is expected to total about $600,000. Fifty percent of the cost of testing would be paid out of gross receipts of revenue-producing events, including the bowl games.
Davis cited five reasons why the drug-testing proposal is not expected to face much opposition when it is voted upon at Tuesday's general business session:
*There is no confusion among the delegates as to what events the testing covers. A year ago, Davis said many delegates did not understand that the testing covered only championship events and bowl games.
*The list includes street drugs. A year ago, opponents chided the NCAA for not including them. For marijuana, which may be ingested by being in the same room with someone smoking it, a second positive test will be necessary for an athlete to be ruled ineligible.
*Language calling for penalties against staff members "who knew or should have known" about an athlete using drugs has been dropped. Instead, only staff members "who know of drug usage and do not follow institutional procedures" for reporting it will be subject to penalties.
*Certain drugs on the list, mainly diuretics, will be allowed with a prescription and with the approval of the NCAA executive committee. A year ago, the proposal forbade any exceptions.
*Athletes will be allowed to send a duplicate sample to an independent laboratory, following a procedure used by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Also today, basketball player Tito Horford went before the eligibility appeals subcommittee of the NCAA Council in his attempt to play at the University of Houston.
The subcommittee's recommendation will be announced Sunday.
Richard Van Horn, Houston's chancellor, said that the school would not go to court should the NCAA rule against Horford, that Houston would abide by the decision.
Horford, a 7-foot-1 native of the Dominican Republic, originally signed a letter of intent at Houston in November 1984. But the NCAA ruled Houston gained an unfair recruiting advantage when a university assistant visited Horford in the Dominican Republic during a period this summer when no off-campus recruiting was permitted.
The basis for the current appeal, according to Houston Athletic Director Tom Ford, is that Houston did not gain a recruiting advantage because of the coach's visit and that the university imposed its own sanctions when it discovered the violation by assistant coach Donnie Schverak.
On the eve of an appeal before the NCAA in August, Horford left Houston and enrolled at Louisiana State. He left LSU in early November, apparently after talking independently with NCAA investigator Doug Johnson about his recruitment.
LSU Coach Dale Brown has denied any wrongdoing in the recruiting of Horford, who Brown says also signed an affidavit to that effect.
Even if Houston wins the appeal, there is no certainty that Horford will be able to play college basketball. Part of the NCAA investigation centers on whether he compromised his amateur standing under NCAA rules by receiving excessive expenses when he played for Club Naco this past summer in the Dominican Republic.
There was no indication here when the NCAA will make a determination, or whether the Infractions Committee will accept Houston's self-imposed sanctions. Houston stripped itself of two scholarships and banned Schverak from off-campus recruiting for a year.
Ford said that Horford, who would be ineligible until next January if he is able to play, has registered for 16 classes at Houston next semester. Classes begin Jan. 20. Horford withdrew from all of his classes at LSU when he left there and lived at a friend's home in Washington, D.C., briefly.