A faculty review committee is considering whether to allow Terry Long, the starting center on the University of Maryland basketball team, back into school this fall, according to sources close to the team.
If the board readmits Long, a general studies major who was one of five basketball players academically dismissed at the end of the spring semester, he would need to pass two courses in the current session of summer school to be eligible to play next season, a source said.
Long is the only basketball player with eligibility remaining who had to petition for readmission. He averaged 16.5 minutes, 3.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season.
The Faculty Petition Board only considers grades accumulated in the first semester of summer school because decisions must be in by Aug. 15 and the second semester ends Aug. 22. Long flunked a history course and passed a recreation course during the first summer session, according to a source. This session he is repeating the history course and also a math course he previously flunked, the source said.
Students are allowed to attend summer school sessions while their applications for readmission are being reviewed.
Long, who has completed three seasons of competition, has flunked at least five different courses since the start of his sophomore year, sources said. In the fall semester of that year, he failed to pass a course, getting three Fs and an incomplete. He subsequently retook and passed all three courses.
Usually, readmission by the board is routine for a football or basketball player at Maryland. But revelations about academic shortcomings of the basketball team following the cocaine-induced death of Len Bias on June 19 have brought increased scrutiny to the program. Long was one of two players with Bias when he collapsed in their dormitory suite the morning of his death.
"The petition board is not here to make any moral judgments," said Susan Moran, an assistant director of undergraduate admissions who oversees the six-person board, whose membership is not made public.
"What we're looking at here is: Is Terry Long a viable degree candidate academically?" she said. "I have a concern that no one be given preferential treatment and, on the other side, no one be singled out for discriminatory treatment, whether he's an athlete or nonathlete, in the newspaper or not in the newspaper, under investigation or not under investigation."
Long, who is one of more than 75 people subpoenaed by a Prince George's County grand jury looking into Bias' death, is one of 202 students under review by the petition board. According to Moran, 1,468 of College Park's approximately 28,000 undergraduates were dismissed academically at the end of the spring semester.
Each applicant for readmission submits a statement, citing factors he or she considers contributed to the academic dismissal and presenting a plan to improve performance.
Moran said absences caused by team travel are an accepted reason, the same as sickness or a job for nonathletes.
Of the five basketball players academically dismissed after the spring semester, two were seniors -- Bias and Speedy Jones -- and three were underclassmen. Only Long had to apply for readmission, as he did after the spring semester last year, a source said.
The other two players, whose identities are not known, were reinstated after either incomplete grades were changed to a regular grade or a grade was reported late, the source said.
Since Bias' death, it has been revealed that he flunked three courses and had two incompletes during the spring semester; that Jones went to class once a week and flunked three courses that semester; that freshman forward Tony Massenburg was caught cheating on a final exam and has been ruled ineligible next season, and that an F was changed to an incomplete for former star Adrian Branch in 1984 at the request of a counselor.
Long, who has declined to talk with investigators in the Bias case, repeatedly has denied requests for interviews on the advice of counsel. His attorney, Alan Goldstein, also declined comment.