Friday, October 19, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 42



Criteria for Division I-A reviewed

By Tom Carpenter
Daily Cougar Staff

As many as 20 Division I-A schools might be regulated to Division I-AA status, according to the NCAA's Management Council, and Houston is on the list.

The NCAA will meet in Indianapolis on Monday and Tuesday to consider proposed scheduling, scholarship and other requirements designed to determine which schools should actually be in I-A.

The rule changes will attempt to discourage schools in lower divisions from attempting to leap into the major college athletic division. If the measures are approved, they could go into effect in 2004.

The modifications would require I-A schools to award at least 90 percent (76.5) of the 85 football scholarships allotted to major-college programs in a given season and offer a minimum of 16 sports and 200 scholarships overall.

Additional provisions could require that football programs play a minimum of five regular-season home games against I-A opponents each season and maintain an average of at least 15,000 fans per game.

Twenty-eight of the 115 I-A schools failed to meet one of those conditions over the past two seasons, including three from Conference USA: UH, Southern Mississippi and Alabama-Birmingham.

Larry Leckonby, Cougar interim athletics director, said he doesn't believe UH will be dropped from Division I-A in spite of the fact that the Cougars played only four home games last season and averaged 4.5 home games over the past two years.

"We've been informed of the football committee's ideas over the last several years and this is the latest," Leckonby said. "The home games (are) really not a problem for us. We did have only four home games last year, but we have six this year and we'll have five or six in future years."

The Cougars did dodge the attendance bullet, but just barely. UH averaged 15,795 fans per game in 2000.

This year, with a sellout crowd at the Texas game and near sell-out crowds for the Rice and Texas Christian games, the Cougars should move well beyond the minimum average needed to keep the school competing in Division I-A.

"I don't see (attendance) as a problem for us in the future," Leckonby said. "That's just a flat 15,000 per game, so over six games I don't see that as a problem for us with the schedule we have."

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