MIAMI, DEC. 30 -- The executive committee of the NCAA said it has scheduled a Thursday hearing on linebacker George Mira Jr.'s appeal for reinstatement to the University of Miami football team for Friday's Orange Bowl game against Oklahoma.
Miami asked the NCAA to reconsider the suspensions of Mira and offensive lineman John O'Neill, who were handed the penalties after urinalyses revealed the presence of diuretics in their systems.
Diuretics are on the NCAA's banned list because they can mask the presence of steroids in the body.
The appeals went to the NCAA's drug testing subcommittee, which tonight had not yet determined whether it would hear the cases. Jim Marchiony of the NCAA said the subcommittee already had turned down one appeal from the two players and that nothing in the NCAA bylaws provides for a second review.
Mira's appeal also went to the executive committee because he claims that there is a medical need for him to use diuretics and a family history of such need. O'Neill did not appeal to the executive committee, and his claim of a "shy bladder" -- causing him to have trouble supplying a urinalysis sample -- does not qualify as medical need, in the NCAA's view.
Mira's appeal will be heard in a conference call Thursday afternoon involving a Miami representative, Mira and his representatives and representatives of the executive committee.
Thursday morning, Mira and his lawyers will go to court, trying to force Miami to put him back on the team. Miami officials have said they will not allow Mira to play unless the NCAA clears him, for fear of losing bowl money and because of the possibility of other sanctions for allowing an ineligible player to participate.
Attorneys for the players are challenging the NCAA's right to test athletes. Also, Mira claims the diuretic he used, Lasix, cannot be used to mask steroid use and that he was not given proper notice it was on the banned list.
Mira, Miami's all-time leading tackler with 490 in his career, and O'Neill underwent private drug tests Tuesday. Mira claims those tests will show there are no traces of steroids in his body.