The University of Maryland will ask the NCAA Division I steering committee to reduce its sanctions to those originally proposed by the university when the steering committee hears the university's appeal next week, President William E. Kirwan said yesterday.
Maryland will seek a reduction of the basketball team's ban on postseason play from two years to one, elimination of a ban on live televising of Terrapins games this season, and a reduction of the probationary period from three years to two.
At his weekly media meeting, Kirwan said his reasoning and proposed penalties remain the same as the day in early March when the NCAA Committee on Infractions announced the first major NCAA sanctions against Maryland in the school's history. Most of the violations took place during the three-year tenure of former coach Bob Wade, who was forced to resign in May 1989.
"The penalties exceed the violations; they go too far." Kirwan said.
Under Maryland's original proposal to the infractions committee, the university would have received a year's ban from the NCAA tournament, a fine of about $470,000 representing Maryland's share of revenue from the 1988 NCAA tournament and the loss of two scholarships.
Maryland's appearance before the steering committee, composed of Division I members of the NCAA Council, is scheduled during the council's Aug. 1-3 meeting in Monterey, Calif. A decision on Maryland's appeal is expected on Aug. 3.
"We think we have a strong case," Kirwan said yesterday. "But, also realistically, I don't go out there confident of success because the past record would suggest it's not easy to win an appeal. But I think we do have a strong case."
Since more stringent rules on cheaters were voted in 1985, two schools -- Cleveland State and Marist -- have appealed and neither was successful.
Kirwan said he and John Anderson, an assistant state attorney general in charge of higher education, will present Maryland's case during its alloted 20-minute oral presentation. The university also has sent the steering committee and NCAA enforcement staff a sizable amount of response to the infractions committee's expanded report.
"It's unfortunate that something that is so important is reduced to 20 minutes of oral presentation," Kirwan said. "If the committee will read carefully all the material we submit, I think that could make a big difference. But I'm disappointed we only have 20 minutes. That's part of the rules. . . . It's just the way the process works."
He would not discuss Maryland's strategy, but said its legal office, the state attorney general's office and volunteer consultants from area law firms had spent considerable hours preparing the response.
He suggested that losing the appeal should not be interpreted as the latest in a long line of negatives concerning the athletic department the past four years.
"If we lose the appeal it will be a great disappointment, but this is a strong institution and we will get along with our life from that point," he said. "So I see whatever happens out there as bringing to an end an unfortunate chapter in our book of recent history. But we've got a lot to look forward to in the future and we're going to get on with it."
Eric Kjome, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward from Red Wing, Minn., has become the fourth basketball recruit to sign with Maryland, and will compete for a spot on the front line this season. He played two years for the Air Force Academy and two years for the Air Force before being recently discharged.
Before leaving the Air Force Academy after his sophomore season for what the academy yesterday described as "administrative reasons," he averaged nine points and five rebounds a game while shooting 53 percent overall and 36 percent from three-point range. Maryland officials were still checking to determine if he has one or two years of eligibility remaining.