Boston College Revises Athletic Eligibility Rules

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A Boston College student this year retained his athletic eligibility after transferring to the college's evening school because of academic difficulties. But according to a letter issued by college President J. Donald Monan. S.J. this will no longer be possible.

The Boston Herald recently published a photocopy of a letter revealing the grades of Jay Murphy, a B.C. basketball team member, with an accompanying story that said Murphy was allowed to continue on the team despite flunking out of the college of Arts and Sciences and enrolling in the evening college.

Since then, the college has come under considerable scrutiny over its athletic eligibility requirements, although NCAA official say B.C. has done nothing against NCAA rules.

The controversy began several weeks ago when B.C. Captain Martin Clark quit the team after B.C.'s March 14 win over St. Joseph's in the N.I.T. tournament Clark's announcement came several weeks after a skirmish with B.C. Coach Gary Williams in the locker room after defeated B.C.'s regular season victory over Syracuse.

In his announcement. "Clark cited problems within the organization, but specified none" according to John Conceison, assistant sports information director for Boston College.

Clark later said in an interview that he felt the graduation rate on the basketball team was "very bad." He added that "only one black kid graduated in the last 10 years."

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the basketball program, Monan issued a five-page letter discussing the college's position on the issues.

According to the letter, a "review of the relationship between academics and extracurricular" revealed that "there is currently no university policy that would militate against Mr. Murphy's eligibility to participate in varsity sports."

Mohan went on to say that he "would welcome the proposal of a rule that would oblige any person who withdraws from one school in the university for academic reasons and enters another, that he or she become ineligible to represent the university in intercollegiate athletics until some period of successful full-time status has elapsed."

Clark said that although he is glad the school is "finally addressing the issues," he wishes "the college had admitted that it had problems within the athletic program."

One of the issues the college has already addressed, according to Clark, is academic advising for athletes. He said that the college's previous provision of one part-time advisor for 200 to 300 athletes was "useless."

In response, the college has proposed to hire several full-time advisors for athletes. In the letter. Monan said "Boston College can and certainly will do more to support academically those student athletes who need additional assistance."

Clark said he left the team "because of the press attention it would arouse," although he added that he did not want "the press to be too deeply involved. I want the school to handle the problem itself."