Terry Holland, the University of Virginia's basketball coach, said yesterday that center Olden Polynice's scholarship would not have been renewed even if Polynice had been found innocent of shoplifting.
"Had be been found innocent, it wouldn't have made any difference," Holland said. "Olden told me that he did it. My feeling was very strong and had nothing to do with the trial. Olden needs to be viewed and judged as a normal student."
Holland also did not rule out the possibility that, if Polynice stayed in school this year, he could play for Virginia during the 1987-88 season. "I certainly would be willing to discuss that," he said. "But the real object is to settle this current problem."
Athletic Director Dick Schultz said Sunday that the scholarship was revoked "with the idea that, if he was acquitted, it could be reinstated."
But Holland said that it wasn't a legal issue. "I thought of it as a team issue," he said. "Olden needs to divorce himself from the athletic department."
Schultz said yesterday that he and Holland had misunderstood each other. He had not known, he said, that Holland had told Polynice before July 1 that "it wasn't in Olden's best interests to play for Virginia next year." Schultz said he "wasn't privy to that conversation until today."
Schultz reiterated that he had been told the charge probably would be dropped. But he said Polynice's lawyer, John Lowe, was not the person who told him that, as reported in The Washington Post yesterday.
Lowe said yesterday he had told Schultz the exact opposite. "From the very first day or two," he said, "I told everyone, in fact, that the charges would not be dropped. Olden wanted to be treated like anybody else."
Last Thursday, the day Polynice pleaded no contest in District Court, Holland issued a statement saying he had written Polynice and his parents June 25 that he was recommending to the university that the scholarship be revoked.
Holland said he had not spoken with Polynice since July 6, and had not heard that he might turn professional. Polynice's brother Widmark said Friday Olden was considering doing so.
Olden Polynice was not available to comment yesterday.