After being guaranteed $1.2 million each for appearing in the Cherry Bowl last December, Maryland and Syracuse will receive only about $400,000 each because bowl officials were far off in estimating the level of support the game would receive.
Cherry Bowl officials missed their April 1 deadline for paying both participants. But Maryland Athletic Director Dick Dull said yesterday he is not angry with the bowl's officials because at least one representative flew here to talk with Dull and apologize for the $800,000 mistake. "I'm quite content with my dealings with the Cherry Bowl people," Dull said. "They've been very straightforward, and I know it was difficult for them to come forward as they've done."
Dull said he has "every confidence" that the minimum amount of $400,000 will be paid soon. This is not the first time that bowls have been late paying schools. Maryland has been paid late several times, including in 1982 after participating in the Aloha Bowl.
The Dec. 21 game in Pontiac, Mich., which Maryland won by a score of 35-18, drew only 20,000 fans to the 77,000-seat Pontiac Silver Dome after Cherry Bowl officials said publicly on several occasions that they had already sold 52,000 tickets.
Even when the first Cherry Bowl, in 1984 between Army and Michigan State, drew 70,000, the teams were paid less than $800,000.
The Cherry Bowl is just one of several bowls that could find future payoffs even more difficult to make because network and cable television are showing diminishing interest in televising the games.
The NCAA's bowl committee is scheduled to meet next week, when the body will review recertification applications from all the bowl games.
Randy Hoffman, associate athletic director at the University of Maryland, said yesterday the school is "about 90 percent through the interview process" as it works to complete its review of the Terrapins women's basketball program.
Hoffman, who with Gothard Lane is doing the interviews in the review being supervised by Dull, said Maryland hopes to complete the process by late next week. The program is being reviewed after an officer in the team's booster club presented the university with allegations of shoplifting and drug use by a small number of players.
Hoffman said players, coaches and team support personnel were being interviewed. Others who may have knowledge of the situation also will be interviewed, Hoffman said.
Team sources said the university began talking to players Tuesday, after a general, informational team meeting.