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COMMISSION proposes limits on college sports


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Colleges with low athlete graduation rates should be banned from postseason play, a commission said Tuesday in chiding universities for the emphasis on winning.

Player uniforms also would be stripped of corporate logos and a new coalition created to promote tougher academic standards under the plan by the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

``We're not in the entertainment business, nor are we a minor league for professional sports,'' said the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and commission co-chairman.

He said 34 percent of basketball players at the largest colleges finish school and the graduation rate is 48 percent for football players.

``Your school is not worthy to be the champion of the country if you're not educating your kids,'' Hesburgh said.

The commission wants colleges to graduate at least half of students who play in each sport. Teams with rates lower than that would be barred from conference championships and other postseason games.

NCAA President Cedric Dempsey said he had reservations about the threshold and that instead athletic departments should be required to maintain rates similar to those of other college students.

Dempsey said most of the other commission recommendations tracked ideas the NCCA had been considering or has endorsed, including a prohibition against college sports betting in Nevada.

Bryce Jordan, president emeritus of Pennsylvania State University, said college sports has gotten more commercial since 1989, when the commission was first established to study reforms.

``In some institutions you win at any cost,'' said Jordan, whose name is on the basketball arena at Penn State.

He said die-hard fans may be angry at new restrictions, but many others want changes.

The NCAA adopted some commission-proposed reforms in 1996. Hodding Carter III, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a journalism consortium that sponsors the commission, said despite those ``you have big money washing out good sense.''
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