Jim Stoeckel, Harvard's varsity baseball captain, will be forced to watch his team from the sidelines pending a ruling by the Ivy League Deans' Committee on Coordination and Eligibility.
Robert Kaufman, assistant dean of the Faculty for Fiancial Affairs, declared Stoeckel ineligible yesterday, because "it appears he has violated an Ivy League regulation by signing a professional contract."
Stoeckel signed with one of the teams of the new World Football League, but neither he nor Kaufman would disclose with which team Stoeckel will play next year. Both the New York and Portland franchises have expressed interest in Harvard's record-setting quarterback. Tom Beer, director of player personnel for the New York Stars, stated March 5 that we've been talking to him (Stoeckel) and we're close to terms."
Kaufman said that Stoeckel had signed the contract in late March, but that "it just came to my attention Monday." He also said that the decision to suspend Stoeckel was entirely his, and that he felt "it would be better for Jimmy and the team as a whole if he were to sit out the next few games until a final decision is reached."
Kaufman sent a statement concerning the case to the Deans' Committee, which will reach a decision sometime next week. Stoeckel will not be allowed to participate in this weekend's games against Columbia and Pennsylvania.
According to the NCAA's recent rule change, an athlete can now sign a professional contract in one sport and compete on an amateur level in another. The Ivy League, however, "did not embrace those rules," Kaufman said. Next week's hearing will determine the exact interpretation of the Ivy regulations concerning professionalism.
Neither Athletic Director Robert Watson, Stoeckel nor members of the team would comment on the matter yesterday, citing Kaufman as the sole spokesman until the Ivy League makes its ruling, and no one from the Stars or the the Portland franchise could be reached for comment.
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