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Athletic Dept. releases draft NCAA recertification report

(12/12/96 10:00am)

The University completed a major step Tuesday in its efforts toward recertification by the National Collegiate Athletic Association by releasing the first draft of a lengthy self-study report. Each NCAA Division I school must be recertified every five years in accordance with standards adopted in 1993. At the end of the 12- to 14-month process -- which examines each school's governance and compliance with NCAA rules, academic integrity, fiscal integrity and commitment to equity -- institutions can be either certified, not certified or conditionally certified pending suggested institutional changes. An NCAA peer review team will visit campus in April to evaluate the University's final report. And the NCAA will vote on recertification in July or October, according to Carolyn Claude, the NCAA's compliance representative for the University. University spokesperson Barbara Beck explained that the self-study provides an opportunity to detail the inner workings of the Athletic Department, as well as the interdependence between athletics and academics. "The goals of this process for Penn included really an in-depth and comprehensive study of the structure of Penn athletics programs," Beck said. She added that the report -- which was prepared by approximately 60 faculty members and administrators from all areas -- demonstrates the University's upper-echelon Ivy League credentials. "The University has always maintained high standards of excellence in its academic and athletic programs," Beck said. "I think that the NCAA athletic recertification process gives Penn a chance to affirm those high standards." The first section of the report gives an overview of all of the University's athletic programs. A chart shows the 14 high-level administrators responsible for compliance with NCAA rules -- led by University President Judith Rodin, who takes "ultimate responsibility and authority for the actual operation of the athletics program." Each of the report's four sections lists plans for improvement in that particular area. The fourth section, for example, contains several strategies to help achieve greater gender equity and minority representation in Penn's athletic programs. Carol Tracy, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Women's Law Project -- which settled an equity complaint with the University in August 1995 -- applauded one of the report's proposed efforts, a survey that would determine women's interests and abilities in athletics. "[The survey is] one of the Title IX tests to see if student interest is being accommodated," said Tracy, a former director of the Penn Women's Center. Title IX is the 1972 gender-equity law requiring universities that receive federal funding to provide male and female athletes with equal resources. During the 1995-96 school year, males represented 63 percent of Penn's student-athletes -- raising questions that the University might not be fully responsive to women's athletic interests. Beck stressed, however, that several of the gender-equity improvements will be completed by the NCAA's April visit to campus. "I think that [the Athletic Department] has demonstrated its commitment to being fair and equitable in terms of men's and women's support programs," Beck said. Claude, who also serves as the NCAA's compliance liaison for many other schools, said institutions often improve policies as the result of such intensive self-studies. "The good schools get a little better, [whereas] the schools that are having trouble can take some time to get a little better," she said.

Palestra's VIP lounge opens to rave reviews

(12/12/96 10:00am)

Fans filtering into the Palestra's visiting bleachers Tuesday might not have been aware of it, but Athletic Department administrators were busy beneath them, unveiling the arena's newest set of renovations. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky proudly showed off the just-completed Class of 1971 Lounge -- located right below those seats. Bilsky, a member of that class, said he was happy with the results of two months' construction. "I'm very pleased," Bilsky said. "[Vice President for Facilities Management] Art Gravina's staff did a fantastic job, creating a really wonderful facility for hospitality and functions." The Class of 1971 designated one-fourth of last year's fund-raising drive -- which netted approximately $830,000 -- for the Palestra renovations. The total cost came to approximately $250,000, according to architect Frank Vitetta, whose firm designed the room. Bilsky said athletics alumni funds made up the difference between the Class of 1971's contribution and the room's final tab. Originally billed as a VIP room, the lounge has a sparkling hardwood floor and several trophy cases -- giving the room a basketball motif. It also contains an area that can be partitioned off for post-game press conferences, as it was after Tuesday's Penn-Villanova men's basketball game. Vitetta -- a varsity basketball player for Penn in the early 1950s -- said the room was finished only hours before the pre-game reception Tuesday. Currently, the room contains hardly any furniture. Vitetta noted that chairs and sofas will eventually be added in order to make the room more functional. "This is not only for basketball -- it is for the entire Athletic Department," he said. "We just wanted to get it finished for this year." And Audrey Schnur, director of major gifts for the Athletic Department, said the lounge's ambience and purpose will be fine-tuned in the near future. "We're taking our time this year to really straighten it out for next season," Schnur said. Officials said a more formal ceremony -- at the centennial basketball game against Yale on February 15 -- will celebrate the room's completion.

Patriot League votes to allow athletic scholarships

(12/12/96 10:00am)

The Ivy League is now the only conference in the United States that gives out purely need-based scholarships. In the fall of 1998, the Ivy League will be the last remaining Division I conference that prohibits athletic scholarships. The presidents of the seven main Patriot League schools voted Tuesday to allow so-called "athletic grants-in-aid" in men's and women's basketball. But several of the league's institutions said they would continue to offer only need-based financial aid, as the Ivies do. Because schools from both conferences often schedule each other in basketball -- and many other sports -- the Patriot League's decision could have repercussions for the Ancient Eight. Athletic scholarships effectively increase a school's chances of luring better student-athletes. Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said the decision will have an adverse impact on the Ivies. "It's certainly going to be a problem for the Ivy League," Bilsky said. "I think we should watch to see what happens with the Patriot League." Patriot League Executive Director Constance Hurlbut did not share Bilsky's views, though. "I don't foresee it having a strong effect," Hurlbut said, noting the two conferences have no formal arrangement with each other. Hurlbut added that it would take some time until the level of play in the Patriot League improves as a result of scholarships. "I think if that happens, it's going to happen over a number of years," she said. The Patriot League, formed in 1986, includes Army, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy. Army and Navy are federally funded and do not need to offer any type of aid. Holy Cross -- which stopped awarding athletic scholarships upon joining the Patriot League -- has been the most aggressive so far. The school's trustees voted this past weekend to recommend providing grants-in-aid for basketball. Next month, the Reverend Gerard Reedy, Holy Cross's president, will announce his final decision on the matter. Kathy McNamara, a spokesperson for Holy Cross, refused to say whether Reedy would approve the recommendation. In addition, Hurlbut would not divulge how many of the schools' presidents voted to allow athletic scholarships. Several presidents' statements, however, reveal a deep division within the league. The presidents of Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh all said they would continue to offer solely need-based aid to athletes. "We cannot declare an exception in our athletic programs without undermining an important institutional principle and commitment," Bucknell President William Adams said. Lafayette President Arthur Rothkopf cited the prohibitively high cost of athletic scholarships in explaining why his school would not exercise its option under the Patriot League's new rules. "This use of resources is not compatible with Lafayette's ongoing efforts to control costs and minimize increases in the price of tuition while improving the quality of our academic and co-curricular programs," Rothkopf said in a prepared statement. Ivy League Executive Director Jeff Orleans was unavailable for comment.

Wharton: A big draw for football, men's hoops

(12/06/96 10:00am)

Though the exact reason isn't clear, those two teams have a disproportionately large Wharton population. With top rankings from magazines and college guides, the Wharton School of Business's undergraduate division has an easy time attracting many first-class high school students interested in business careers. But Wharton also plays a major role in luring football and men's basketball recruits to the University. The proportion of Wharton students on those two teams is considerably larger than on other male sports squads or in the overall male undergraduate population. A Daily Pennsylvanian analysis found that during the 1995-96 school year, approximately 52 percent of Penn football team members and 60 percent of the men's hoops squad were enrolled in the business school -- more than in all the other undergraduate schools combined. By contrast, approximately one-fourth of all male student-athletes and male undergraduates study in Wharton. But Admissions Dean Lee Stetson said his office doesn't keep statistics of student-athlete admissions rates. "We are seeing just more applicants from prospective men's basketball and football athletes because there has been a tradition of students studying in the business curriculum in those [athletic] programs," Stetson said. He added that football and men's basketball recruits "receive no special treatment" in the admissions process, even though they are considered valuable to Penn athletics. Rich Comizio, a 1987 Wharton graduate who ranks No. 3 in career rushing yards for Penn, said he doesn't believe admissions standards are lower for incoming football recruits. But they might have a leg up on non-athletes anyway. "I would ascertain that the greater a person's athletic ability, the greater their chance of getting a spot in Wharton," said Comizio, who works for University Trustee George Weiss's company in New York. Comizio and other athletes and administrators said they were surprised to learn of the large percentage of football and men's basketball team members in Wharton. But they generally saw no problem with the numbers -- particularly because Wharton puts the University in a unique position among Ivy League schools and even nationally. "We're the only Ivy League university with an undergraduate business school, so it's a natural edge," Wharton Undergraduate Dean Richard Herring said, noting that many other top business programs only admit students after their sophomore year. U.S. News and World Report magazine recently ranked Wharton's undergraduate program as tied for first place with the University of Michigan's business school -- a two-year program. But a College sophomore who requested anonymity said she suspects incoming football and men's basketball recruits meet lower academic standards than non-athletes. "I'm sure there are instances in which students wouldn't have gotten in without help from coaches," said the student, who has been involved with the Penn athletic program. "I don't believe that anyone truly believes that we don't bend the rules." She compared the University's admissions policy for such athletes to the InterFraternity Council's "Bring Your Own Beer" policy, claiming enforcement for both are lax. Comizio, however, had strong words for anyone who criticized the relationship between Wharton and the football and men's basketball teams. "I'd say basically, 'To hell with them'," he said. "These are people who are competing in a collegiate league who are providing something to the University, and in return they're getting an education." Several Wharton students said they either saw no problem with the higher number of football and men's basketball players in Wharton, or didn't really care. "I think it's probably beneficial to the school because it brings in recognition," Wharton sophomore Scott Goldchain said. "I think many of these athletes are very bright kids." Wharton senior Mark Fleischhauer, a guard on the football team, said Wharton "definitely" played a role in his decision to matriculate at Penn. He added that several members of the team in other schools were denied admission to Wharton because they didn't meet the school's higher standards. "I personally don't know of any lower [admissions] standards" for football recruits, said Fleischhauer, who was recently one of 100 football players nationally honored by Burger King for athletic and academic performance. Wharton has enjoyed a strong reputation, particularly among football and men's basketball players, for years. Carl Robbins, a 1970 College graduate and co-captain of the 1969-70 basketball team, said he regretted not enrolling in Wharton initially. As an undergraduate, he became interested in business and took many Wharton electives, then continued to obtain a graduate degree from the school. "The reputation of the school really is paramount," Robbins said. "In short, I didn't know enough." According to Stetson, the number of football and men's basketball players in Wharton has remained higher than average because current team members play a role in recruiting high school students. "I think the present students help to recruit the new student-athletes and I believe many of the students are involved in the counseling process," Stetson said. "Of course, Wharton becomes a natural part of that discussion." For a small squad like the men's basketball team, the number of athletes in Wharton fluctuates from year to year, but is still consistently above 25 percent. This season, six of the 15 varsity team members are in Wharton. "I think it's been always 30 to 40 percent at any one time in Wharton," said head coach Fran Dunphy. Dunphy added that even though recruits may express interest in Wharton, the University's need-based aid policy often makes it more difficult to attract "middle-income" recruits. Like at all Ivy schools, no athletic scholarships are awarded at Penn.

Brown denied appeal on gender equity lawsuit

(11/26/96 10:00am)

After several appeals on a 1992 lawsuit, a federal court has once again found Brown University in violation of the Title IX gender-equity law. The 1972 statute requires universities that receive federal funding to provide male and female athletes with equal resources. In a 2-1 decision last Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston upheld a 1995 decision that ruled Brown was not in compliance with Title IX. The appeals court's 106-page decision is the latest chapter in the nearly five-year-old case. The saga began in April 1992 when two female Brown athletes filed a class-action lawsuit against the Ivy League university. The Washington-based Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, which has represented the women, argued Brown's decision to cut two women's teams in April 1991 was a violation of Title IX. Senior District Judge Raymond Pettine said in the July 1995 decision that Brown had not provided equal opportunities for male and female athletes and must fully fund four additional varsity women's teams. However, last week's ruling reversed the latter part of Pettine's decision, saying Brown is not required to provide the funding. Although the circuit court last week ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, both sides claimed victory -- to a degree. "It was an important part of the case and an important point to win on," Brown lawyer Jeffrey Michaelson told the Providence Journal-Bulletin, referring to the reversal of Pettine's order. Lynette Labinger, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, called the decision "an enormous victory for equal rights and women throughout the country." "Once again, the same standard that's reflected in the original appeals decision and in appeals decisions throughout the country has been affirmed," Labinger said. Brown spokesperson Mark Nickel said the university is currently considering several options, among them taking the case, Cohen v. Brown, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brown has 90 days to appeal to the country's highest court but just two weeks to ask the entire group of First Circuit judges to reconsider the case. According to Nickel, Brown will announce its course of action early next week. Nickel added that both sides intend to appeal the decisions as many times as necessary. Labinger said if Brown appeals the decision to either court, the school is not automatically entitled to a hearing. "Both of those [appeal options] are discretionary," she said. "They can be denied without any explanation or justification." Senior Judge Hugh Bownes, in writing the majority opinion for himself and Judge Norman Stahl, rejected Brown's argument that women were less interested in sports than men and that Title IX constituted affirmative action or required quotas. "Brown's talismanic incantation of 'affirmative action' has no legal application to this case and is not helpful to Brown's cause," Bownes's opinion read. "Title IX is not an affirmative action statute; it is an anti-discrimination statute." Chief Judge Juan Torruella, however, strongly dissented. He argued the Department of Education's three-pronged compliance test for Title IX "does not make sense" because, among other shortcomings, it does not separate men's contact sports from other sports. "[Brown has] established a legal rule that straitjackets college athletics programs by curtailing their freedom to choose the sports they offer," Torruella wrote. In the 1995-96 school year, 54 percent of Brown's athletes were male compared with 48 percent of total undergraduates. When the lawsuit was originally filed, men comprised 60 percent of the school's student-athlete population. Penn settled a similar Title IX lawsuit in 1995 by agreeing to hire several full-time women's coaches, upgrade facilities and form a gender equity advisory committee.

20-year women's tennis coach dies at 42

(11/25/96 10:00am)

Friends and colleagues called the accomplished coach's death a 'tremendous loss' for the University. Long-time women's tennis coach Cissie Leary passed away at her Haverford, Pa., home Saturday night at the age of 42. Leary died of scleroderma, a chronic auto-immune disease that may affect the skin and internal organs including the heart, lungs and kidneys, according to Athletic Department officials. Several of Leary's colleagues said she had also been suffering from kidney and circulation problems. Remembered for her warm smile and determination, Leary was in her 20th season as coach of the Penn women's tennis team. The Athletic Department hired her in 1977 at the age of 22 -- straight out of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. Friends and associates said Leary chose not to discuss her illnesses and always maintained a positive outlook on life. "She was a fighter up until the very end," men's tennis coach Gene Miller said. "She didn't even want to talk about [her illness] -- she only wanted to look ahead." Miller said Leary often formed close bonds with her players and also "affected many people's lives around the community." Leary molded the women's team into a powerhouse that was often competitive on the national level. During the recently completed fall season, Leary's squad compiled a 6-2 dual-match record and tied for third in the East at the ITA Team Regional Championships. Overall, Leary had a career record of 229 wins and 119 losses, including 16 winning seasons. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said Leary "always had a smile on her face" and was well-liked at the University and by women's tennis coaches across the country. "She didn't let anybody feel bad for her," Bilsky said. Hal Mackin, manager of the Levy Tennis Pavilion, called Leary "a very positive person" who often attended Penn football and basketball games. "It's a tremendous loss, not only to the tennis program, but to the University," Mackin said. In addition to her duties at Penn, Leary actively contributed her time and energy in the community. She volunteered with the Greater Philadelphia Kidney Transplant Association and participated with her team in the Fight Against Drugs Campaign for underprivileged children. Leary, whose real first name is Catherine, is survived by her mother, Catherine Meisner Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich.; husband, Michael; daughter, Katie; two brothers, Tucker Collins and Duff Collins. A memorial service will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Bilsky said the University will probably hold a memorial service on campus after classes resume in January.

20-year women's tennis coach dies at 42

(11/25/96 10:00am)

Friends and colleagues called the accomplished coach's death a 'tremendous loss' for the University. Long-time women's tennis coach Cissie Leary passed away at her Haverford, Pa., home Saturday night at the age of 42. Leary died of scleroderma, a chronic auto-immune disease that may affect the skin and internal organs including the heart, lungs and kidneys, according to Athletic Department officials. Several of Leary's colleagues said she had also been suffering from kidney and circulation problems. Remembered for her warm smile and determination, Leary was in her 20th season as coach of the Penn women's tennis team. The Athletic Department hired her in 1977 at the age of 22 -- straight out of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. Friends and associates said Leary chose not to discuss her illnesses and always maintained a positive outlook on life. "She was a fighter up until the very end," men's tennis coach Gene Miller said. "She didn't even want to talk about [her illness] -- she only wanted to look ahead." Miller said Leary often formed close bonds with her players and also "affected many people's lives around the community." Leary molded the women's team into a powerhouse that was often competitive on the national level. During the recently completed fall season, Leary's squad compiled a 6-2 dual-match record and tied for third in the East at the ITA Team Regional Championships. Overall, Leary had a career record of 229 wins and 119 losses, including 16 winning seasons. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said Leary "always had a smile on her face" and was well-liked at the University and by women's tennis coaches across the country. "She didn't let anybody feel bad for her," Bilsky said. Hal Mackin, manager of the Levy Tennis Pavilion, called Leary "a very positive person" who often attended Penn football and basketball games. "It's a tremendous loss, not only to the tennis program, but to the University," Mackin said. In addition to her duties at Penn, Leary actively contributed her time and energy in the community. She volunteered with the Greater Philadelphia Kidney Transplant Association and participated with her team in the Fight Against Drugs Campaign for underprivileged children. Leary, whose real first name is Catherine, is survived by her mother, Catherine Meisner Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich.; husband, Michael; daughter, Katie; two brothers, Tucker Collins and Duff Collins. A memorial service will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Bilsky said the University will probably hold a memorial service on campus after classes resume in January.

Equity reports frustrate Ivy athletic depts.

(11/18/96 10:00am)

Understanding and complying with new regulations can be a business's worst nightmare. The athletic departments of the Ivy League are no exception. In compiling the inaugural Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act reports, officials at several Ivy League schools, including Penn, have pointed out several problems with federal regulations associated with the act. Officials at the U.S. Department of Education, however, argued that the regulations are clear and said they aren't planning to change them. The EADA, a 1995 federal law, requires most universities with intercollegiate athletic programs to release extensive information on participation rates, expenses and average coaches' salaries for men's and women's varsity sports. The numbers indicate the extent to which a school complies with Title IX, a 1972 law requiring institutions that receive federal funds to provide equal resources for male and female athletes. Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Penn's senior associate athletic director, said the forms provided for salary disclosure failed to distinguish full-time from part-time assistant coaches. As a result, the average assistant coach's salary on the report does not accurately reflect the actual figures, Femovich said. "I think the numbers as a rule across the board, regardless of institution, are a little bit misleading," Femovich said. "When you look at the assistant coach salaries, you have to realize that they're definitely not all full-time positions." But David Lorenzo, a program specialist in the Education Department's General Provisions Branch, said athletic departments could have provided the breakdown of part-time and full-time assistant coaches' salaries. "They can always do that if they don't think that's giving a correct impression of what they're paying their people," Lorenzo said. Administrators at other Ivy League schools called for broad improvements in the EADA forms, saying much of the language was ambiguous. "Even in our league, there were different schools interpreting the directives differently," Dartmouth College Athletic Director Dick Jaeger said. "It all depended on how they and their counsels read the directions in the required report." Yale University Athletic Director Tom Beckett voiced similar concerns. "I think it would be a lot better for all concerned if the instrument that they're using clearly stated how they wanted it reported," Beckett said. But Carney McCullough, chief of the Education Department's General Provisions Branch, dismissed the idea that the forms detailing the regulations are vague. "We think that the regulations are very clear," McCullough said. "At the present time, we are not planning any sort of changes to those regulations." She added that schools have leeway in following the EADA forms and may provide any extra information they feel is necessary to explain certain figures. "Any type of information that is additional we would encourage," McCullough said. Athletics officials also complained that complying with the act required an excessive amount of administrative work. "It was a royal pain in the neck to assemble things," said Al Carlson, Columbia University's associate athletic director. But Carol Tracy, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Women's Law Project, said the positive aspects of the EADA greatly outweigh its flaws. "It may be that it could be more detailed," said Tracy, a Penn graduate and former Penn Women's Center director. "I'm surprised that [athletic directors] would want more." McCullough explained that although several schools were late in providing their reports by the October 1 deadline, no action would be taken against them. "This year we just wanted to make sure everybody does it," McCullough said. In subsequent years, the filing deadline will be October 15.

Equity in Athletics Disclosure reports: Progress, not equity

(11/14/96 10:00am)

The Ivy League male/female athlete ratio is still 3-to-2. But Ancient Eight statistics are improving, and are better than some scholarship conferences. The Ivy League prides itself on the large number of women's varsity sports its schools offer -- more than any other conference in the nation. But according to the Ancient Eight's first-ever Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act reports, men's teams as a whole still have more members and receive considerably more funding than women's squads. The reports detail participation rates, expenditures and average coaches' salaries during the 1995-96 school year. They were released last month in accordance with the EADA, a 1995 law that requires most universities with intercollegiate athletic programs to provide this information to the public on request. The act makes it easier to judge whether an institution is complying with Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title IX requires universities that receive federal funding to provide equal resources for male and female athletes. In 1995-96, the eight Ivy schools (and Barnard College, Columbia University's all-female school, whose athletes play for Columbia) had 55,949 undergraduates and 7,748 athletes. Though the entire Ivy League student population split roughly 50-50 -- 28,620 men to 27,329 women -- there were three male athletes for every two female athletes. Ivy League Executive Director Jeff Orleans said the conference is well ahead of all of its counterparts in women's athletics, despite the gender gap in the data. "I really do think that if you look at the variety of the sports we sponsor, the success of our teams? [and] the national scope of our recruitment for men and women, that we have the best opportunities in the country," Orleans said. Though the Ivy League does not offer athletic scholarships, its athletic resources are more equitably distributed than those in at least one scholarship conference -- the Big 12, which mostly includes large state schools in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas. According to a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Big 12 schools had 5,314 athletes in 1995-96 -- 2,434 fewer than the eight-school Ivy League. And roughly 65 percent of the Big 12's student-athlete population was male, meaning that overall women's athletics participation was lower than in the Ivies. Carol Tracy, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Women's Law Project, said she would like to see Ivy schools do more to encourage female athletes, especially in the area of recruiting. All Ivy institutions' recruiting expenditures favored male athletes by at least a two-to-one margin, mainly because of football recruiting, officials said. "There has to be a relationship between participation rates of women and recruitment," said Tracy, a Penn graduate and former Penn Women's Center director. "All of these schools need to increase their participation." Tracy added that by increasing recruitment budgets for women's sports and by cutting costs from football programs, schools could raise women's participation rates. At all Ivy institutions, the football team had the largest operating expenses of any sport. But Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Penn's senior associate athletic director, defended football as "a vital part of our program," citing high equipment costs as the major factor in operating expenses. The Ivy League has already taken steps to compensate for football's disproportionate share of athletic budgets. Several years ago, the league limited each school to accepting 35 football players per year. Previously, as many as 60 football players each year matriculated at Ivy schools. In addition to the disparity in operating and recruiting expenses, the EADA reports revealed that head and assistant coaches for men's sports almost always had higher average salaries than women's sports coaches. Yale University's head coaches for men's teams earned an average of $56,534 last year, to $43,544 for women's head coaches. The former average salary and the men's-women's gap were the largest in the Ivy League. Yale Athletic Director Tom Beckett said the high salaries resulted from seniority among the university's coaches. "I think there's probably one very strong reason, and that's Carm Cozza," Beckett said, referring to Yale's 32-year football coach, who will retire after this season. Beckett added that only a handful of Yale's coaches have been at the school for fewer than 10 years, and several have been there for more than 20 years. At $49,981 for men's sports and $45,091 for women's sports, Penn has the second-highest head coaches' salaries in each category -- and the second-smallest gap in the league. Femovich said while football and basketball coaches' salaries are the largest, Penn instituted a system two years ago that pays coaches based on experience and accomplishments -- ensuring men's and women's coaches similar judgement standards. "I feel very comfortable with where we are with equity between men's and women's sports head coaches," Femovich said. "I think the one thing that we feel particularly good about is that all of our head coaches for women are full time." Still, participation rates remain the key concern surrounding Title IX. Combined, Columbia and Barnard's undergraduate population is 60 percent female, but less than 40 percent of the university's athletes are women. Al Carlson, Columbia's associate athletic director, attributed the gap to the age of Columbia's women's athletic programs. The Lady Lions currently field 13 women's varsity squads, the least in the Ivy League. He added that Columbia regularly surveys students to gauge their interest in certain intercollegiate athletic teams. Dartmouth College comes closest to equity in participation, as the percentages of female undergraduates and female athletes differed by less than one-half percentage point. According to Dartmouth Athletic Director Dick Jaeger, the school recently added women's volleyball and softball varsity teams and has devoted additional resources toward gender equity for the past five years. With 21 men's and 20 women's intercollegiate sports, Harvard University leads all NCAA Division I schools in both categories. Its participation rates are relatively close to the undergraduate split. Harvard athletics spokesperson John Veneziano said the university is "proud of what the report says about our athletic program." "We don't do things just to be in compliance with the law," Veneziano said. Despite the fact that men's intercollegiate teams in the Ivy League had higher participation rates, operating expenses and recruiting expenses than women's squads, most administrators doubt the percentages and dollar amounts will ever be on an exact par. Mark Nickel, a spokesperson for Brown University -- which in 1994 settled a Title IX lawsuit that made national headlines -- said Brown complies with the law. "Title IX does not require dollar-for-dollar parity in the budgets," Nickel said. "What it does require is that athletes are treated equally." Tracy, who settled a Title IX lawsuit with Penn in 1995, voiced similar views. "I don't think anyone has really argued for total equality in terms of exact numbers," Tracy said. And Tracy predicted improved gender equity in the near future, with a growing number of high school and junior high school women playing sports and annual submission of EADA reports.

Road trips caused most of basketball funding gaps

(11/14/96 10:00am)

Penn's men's and women's basketball teams differed in their operating expenses by $43,000 last season -- the largest gap in the Ivy League. And the numbers didn't make sense until Senior Associate Athletic Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich examined the budget dollar by dollar. According to Penn's first Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act report, the men's basketball team spent $106,000 in operating expenses, while the women's squad rung up just $63,000. "I think initially I was surprised that there was that kind of a difference," Femovich said. The EADA, a 1995 law, requires that most universities with intercollegiate athletic programs release operating expenses for each varsity team, among other data. As defined by the law, such expenses include lodging, meals, transportation, referees, uniforms and equipment. The principal factor behind Penn's basketball budget gap, according to an Athletic Department statement, was $26,200 for additional men's basketball road trips. Each season, both the men's and women's teams may attend a tournament over Thanksgiving or winter break. Last year, the men's squad traveled to Arizona State University, while the women went to Northwestern University, near Chicago. The men's Arizona trip cost significantly more than the women's Northwestern trip, presumably because of the greater distance. In addition, the men's squad played one game at St. Louis University, an Atlantic City double-header and a playoff game against Princeton at Lehigh University. "The women would be afforded the same opportunities should they receive similar invitations," the statement said. Other operating expenses incurred by the men's basketball program -- but not the women's team -- included the following: ·$4,500 for radio personnel travel expenses; ·$6,000 to cover greater referee costs; ·$4,100 for the junior varsity team. These additional expenses total $40,800, accounting for most of the gap between the two teams. The statement also indicated that the women's team had a budget surplus last year. Carol Tracy, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Women's Law Project, initially criticized the Athletic Department for the basketball disparity. But after talking with women's head coach Julie Soriero, Tracy said she is satisfied with the explanation for the gap.

Palestra crowd hopes for shot at hoops tickets

(11/11/96 10:00am)

Students camped out in line for men's basketball tickets, on sale yesterday. Throngs of basketball fans have crowded the Palestra during its storied 69-year life. But this weekend, sleeping bags, futons, textbooks, board games, playing cards and food took over the historic arena's hallways. Continuing a Penn tradition that dates back at least 30 years, approximately 100 students camped out in the Palestra over the weekend for the first sale of season tickets. Those nearest the front of the line were able to pick the best seats when tickets went on sale at 6 a.m. yesterday. For some students, the annual line has been a key memory of their college years. "I met my best friends waiting in line freshman year," said College junior Mandy London, who secured the fifth spot in the line. Even those at the very end of the line, however, consider the event sacred. College of General Studies senior Jared Minsk, who held the 98th position, explained that Quakers hoops is like a religion to him. "I think Fran Dunphy is God, the starting five are his prophets and the Palestra is my only true church," Minsk said. As in past years, students signed up in teams of up to four and took turns waiting the entire 48 hours between the initial wristband distribution --Eat 6 a.m. Friday -- and the ticket sale. But everyone who signed up for the line had to be at the Palestra for the final six hours, starting at midnight Saturday night. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky came to the Palestra late Saturday night with his wife Sue, son Jeff and daughter Katie. Even though records indicate the line was much smaller this year than last year -- when roughly 400 students camped out -- Bilsky was confident season-ticket sales would be comparable. "It's a Saturday night, so we had no idea how many would show up, but I think we're going to be in about the same position we were last year," Bilsky said. Sue Bilsky, a 1975 College graduate, recalls waiting in line for season tickets as an undergraduate -- especially since her future husband, a 1971 Wharton graduate, was a Quakers basketball standout. But she said she wants to see her children, now ages seven and 12, to be on the court at Penn -- not camping out for tickets. "We're hoping one of them is sitting on the bench or playing instead of waiting on line," she said, as her daughter, Katie, slept nearby. If Saturday night was any indication, Jeff Bilsky, who sank three pointers while the waiting students cheered him on, might just live up to his mother's dreams. College freshman Robert Rutkin, a line newcomer, said he got his first taste of Penn basketball when he watched the Quakers' 1995 NCAA tournament game against the University of Alabama on TV. "I've heard the Palestra has an amazing atmosphere and I want to be a part of that," Rutkin said. After Bilsky became athletic director in 1994, one of his first -- and most popular -- actions was making the ticket line more orderly and fun for students, partly in response to a near-riot at the 1993 line, when students were trampled and one suffered a concussion. This year, Bilsky and his assistant Debbie Newman, raffled off prizes including signed basketballs, away-game tickets and one trip to anywhere in the continental United States courtesy of USAir. Only students who were in line were eligible for the contest. In addition, Pepsi donated hundreds of soft drinks, while Abner's provided cheesesteaks and hoagies for everyone -- a departure from the last two years, when the Athletic Department ordered pizzas for all the students. "We've got to keep everybody off guard," Bilsky joked. Wharton sophomore Jeff Snyder, number 40 in line, said he plans to arrive earlier next year. London said she is excited for the Quakers' Ivy League championship prospects this season, even though the team has many young players. "I think we have a lot of potential and we're going to be a real, real good team when the season starts," she said.

U. to earmark $2.2 million for athletic facilities

(11/11/96 10:00am)

Physical Plant plans toPhysical Plant plans toupgrade and repair thePhysical Plant plans toupgrade and repair thePalestra, WeightmanPhysical Plant plans toupgrade and repair thePalestra, WeightmanHall and Hutch Gym. University officials plan to spend approximately $2.2 million over the next five years for renovating athletics buildings. Targeted facilities include Weightman Hall, the Palestra and Hutchinson Gymnasium. Contract Maintenance Director Bob McKain said Physical Plant -- the department responsible for maintenance and development of University facilities -- has earmarked $800,000 for fixing the trouble-plagued Hutch pool's steel structure. The pool, which recently reopened after closing August 15 due to chlorine and water leakage problems, will shut down again next summer. Even so, Associate Director of Athletic Facilities Larry Lauchle said the pool's current filtering system is more than adequate for this year. "It's an old system, but it's still an excellent system," Lauchle said, adding that officials are "looking at different solutions to the problem." According to Contract Maintenance Project Manager Bill Wilkinson, the University will spend $1 million to renovate Weightman Hall's exterior and repaint and seal cracks inside the building. Wilkinson said the designers of Weightman Hall used relatively untested techniques in constructing the 1894 building. Unfortunately, the building's structure offered little protection from water in the long term. "The steel structure was somewhat of a novelty," Wilkinson said. "When these were built, the architects and engineers were still experimenting." But water caused rust and cracks. If the decay reaches a certain level, Wilkinson said, it could increase exponentially, resulting in "consequences to the fundamental structure of the building." Wilkinson explained that Physical Plant recently spent $85,000 renovating Weightman Hall's north tower, which was deteriorating at a faster rate than other parts of the building. "We really had to deal with that immediately or run the risk that you begin to damage the interior," he said. "If we let it go any longer, the consequences could have been catastrophic. If you don't attack the exterior in a timely fashion, you also run the increased risk that you lose the whole of the building or some portion of it." Lauchle said Physical Plant is close to securing money for a new electrical generator for Weightman Hall. The lack of electricity has been an ongoing difficulty for Franklin Field and Weightman Hall. "Physical Plant's been working very aggressively to try to get the electricity that's needed," Lauchle said, noting that the department has already received bids. As for the Palestra, Physical Plant plans to replace the exterior doors -- the same doors that remain from when the facility opened in 1927 -- to the tune of roughly $400,000. Although Physical Plant documents indicate that the funds are budgeted for 2000-01, McKain said the new doors should be in place well before that time. "We're trying to find a suitable vendor," McKain said, adding that the renovations are "probably going to happen some time next year." Lauchle said he is pleased the Palestra doors will finally be replaced. "It's been on the deferred maintenance list for a considerable amount of time, and it's nice that they're looking into it again," Lauchle said. Wilkinson emphasized that all the renovations are part of a five-year deferred maintenance plan that includes many other University buildings and are therefore subject to some changes.

From behind the scenes, Femovich works at play

(11/07/96 10:00am)

Carolyn Schlie Femovich may not have as high a profile as her boss, Athletic Director Steve Bilsky. But although she often finds herself in the background, the senior associate athletic director -- Bilsky's right-hand woman -- plays a principal role in the day-to-day departmental business. "I see my role as the facilitator, part of the team, to work with the coach of a particular sport and then collectively with coaches in general to get the job done," Femovich said. She said in contrast to Bilsky's duties, which include "an awful lot of external relations," her own job description includes only a minimal amount of alumni interaction. Femovich and Associate Athletic Director Elton Cochran-Fikes are each responsible for half of Penn's approximately 30 varsity sport programs. "It's everything from budget to schedules to student-athlete issues," Femovich said, noting that she works closely with coaches to ensure that the Athletic Department meets their needs. Femovich grew up in southern Florida and headed to Indiana for her education, receiving her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Valparaiso University and Indiana University at Bloomington, respectively. Her next stop was Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, where she coached women's basketball and tennis, coordinated women's athletics and taught health science. "At the time, I was very much interested in coaching," Femovich said. "It was at Gettysburg College that I got much more into administrative work." Penn lured Femovich to its athletics administration in 1982 with the prospect of running both men's and women's sports -- a rarity at the time. "The standard then was [that] women did women's sports, the men did the men's sports and never the two shall meet," Femovich said, noting that Penn had recently merged its programs when she arrived. Femovich was appointed to her current position in 1986 after then-Athletic Director Paul Rubincam reorganized the department. In her oversight of varsity sports, Femovich said she focuses on staying on top of the Ivy League competition. "I'd like to think that every one of the sports that I'm involved with -- that even the sports I'm not involved with -- are going to be contending for winning an Ivy championship once every four years," Femovich said, adding that success is "important for the student-athlete experience." Femovich said the goal of the department's current reorganization attempts is "to make us efficient and successful." This effort has led to "some restructuring of our administrative staff," as well as the recent installation of former men's heavyweight crew coach Stan Bergman as head of the entire crew program, she said. Although Femovich said she enjoys her job and doesn't plan to leave the University anytime soon, she admitted that she might accept another opportunity that "would challenge me or provide a new experience." "It's never boring around here," Femovich said. "We're always challenged and there's always new things to get involved with day in and day out." Femovich added that she thinks University President Judith Rodin has demonstrated a substantial commitment to Penn athletics. "I've seen a lot of change in 14 years and I think we're definitely on the right track," Femovich said. "I think we have a president who cares about athletics and recreation in all the right ways."

Cochran-Fikes tracks eligibility of Penn athletes

(11/07/96 10:00am)

Since exchanging the large Harvard University track where he once coached for the small Weightman Hall office he now occupies, Elton Cochran-Fikes might have become detached from the student-athlete population. But the one-time director of W.E.B. DuBois College House, who now oversees the Athletic Department's compliance and eligibility programs, said he still relishes contact with Penn students and wishes he had more time to spend with them -- if only his job required it. "In my current position, I'm not quite sure if more is possible," he said. "Not every student-athlete wants to have anything more than a relationship that is absolutely necessary with the compliance and eligibility offices." Along with Senior Associate Athletic Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Cochran-Fikes also oversees half of the intercollegiate sport programs. But while Cochran-Fikes, the associate athletic director, said he is "having a great time" at the University, he hinted that he may one day hang up his administrative shoes, trading them in for coaching or residential life. "It was extremely enjoyable [and] pleasurable working with the students [at DuBois], helping them with some of their transitions to the University," said Cochran-Fikes, a 1974 College graduate who also holds a graduate degree from Wharton. After his stint at DuBois in 1980, the North Carolina native became an athletics administrator at Harvard -- and a successful women's cross-country coach, leading his teams to a 14-0 record and two Ivy League and Heptagonal titles. He came to Penn in 1986. Cochran-Fikes said his Wharton degree, normally a ticket to a high-salaried position, originally hindered his career goals. "Once the prospective employer learned of my Wharton MBA, they became very leery that they wouldn't be able to hold on to me," he said. These days, though, an advanced degree is a plus for aspiring athletics officials, he added. Cochran-Fikes, a star distance runner as a Penn undergraduate, said he identifies with the concerns of today's undergraduates, especially on residential issues. He noted that students were "real excited" about the construction of the high rises in the 1970s. Several years after they opened, the buildings lost popularity. "The sense of community was really lost, not for everyone, but for a lot of students," Cochran-Fikes said. "If we could somehow have a mixture of college-house communities and apartment-style living, then I think that [Penn] would have a very good mix," he said. Despite his interests in residential life, Cochran-Fikes devotes most of his time to the Athletic Department, which he thinks is headed in the right direction. "I think there's an increased sense of direction, hope for the future, that we're going to realize some of the dreams that we have, especially in the area of authority," said Cochran-Fikes.

Ivies may soon be only scholarship-free league

(11/06/96 10:00am)

Presidents of the Patriot League will meet in December toPresidents of the Patriot League will meet in December todiscuss the issue of athletic scholarships. There are only two Division I conferences that offer need-based financial assistance in lieu. On December 10, that number might drop to one. The Ivy League and the Patriot League have prided themselves on having competitive athletic programs without athletic scholarships, otherwise known as merit-based aid. But facing the pressures posed by scholarship schools, Holy Cross, a member of the seven-member Patriot League, is looking to change. The Ivy League will probably not undergo such radical changes anytime soon. But December's meeting of the Patriot League schools' presidents could have repercussions for the Ancient Eight. The Patriot League, created as a football conference in 1986 and expanded to 22 sports for the 1990-91 academic year, regularly provides opponents for Penn and the other Ivy League institutions. Patriot schools typically recruit athletes from similar pools of academically-talented student-athletes. "We're a like-minded conference in that we both offer need-based aid," Patriot League Assistant Executive Director Todd Newcomb said. "We were formed as a sister conference." The Patriot League includes Army, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy. Army and Navy do not give any aid at all because they are federally funded. Fordham only participates in the league for football. But Holy Cross is now demanding more. The school's Board of Trustees's Steering Committee on Athletics recommended in September the switch from need-based aid to athletic scholarships for men's and women's basketball. According to a press release, the purpose of the change is to "improve competitiveness" in the sport "without compromising the college's academic standards and integrity." The committee also recommended urged the University to "maintain, if possible, affiliation with the Patriot League." In early December, Holy Cross's trustees will meet to discuss the committee's suggestions. Newcomb said the board is expected to approve the move to scholarships for both basketball teams. "I don't think we're worried about it," Newcomb said. "It's something we'll have to adapt to." Then, on December 10, the Patriot presidents will determine the course of financial aid in the conference -- as well as the course of the league itself. "The future of the league hinges on the presidents meeting in December," said Lafayette Athletic Director Eve Atkinson, who added that her school does not support merit-based aid. Holy Cross Athletic Director Ron Perry insisted that his school has no desire to leave the Patriot League, even though its aid policy might be unique in the conference. "I don't know where people are getting this idea," Perry said. "This speculation is really driving me crazy. There's nothing to say because there's nothing to say." Ivy League Executive Director Jeff Orleans refused to say what he thinks would occur if the Patriot League broke up. "They want to do whatever they need to do to remain a league," Orleans said. "I really don't feel comfortable commenting on the possible demise of the league." But Newcomb explained that the Patriot League is gearing up for a possible overhaul. While Newcomb believes Holy Cross's impending decision "doesn't leave us in the situation where the league is going to fold" since the athletic scholarships would only apply to basketball, member schools are getting ready for changes. "I think that the presidents, now more than ever? are also discussing types of institutions they may want to approach about joining the conference," Newcomb said. As for the Ivy League, the ramifications will probably not be too deep. But the conference might have more difficulty searching for Division I-AA opponents of similar skill levels. Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said he is worried that the number of Division I schools that only offer need-based aid might diminish. "Whenever I think of schools like Holy Cross, which has a great basketball tradition, experimenting with it and then quickly determining that it's not working? it concerns me in terms of the status of basketball in the Ivy League," Bilsky said. Bilsky is concerned about the effects that the Patriot League's switch to basketball scholarships could have on Penn. "I think Penn, certainly as much or more than any other school in the league, has a greater investment and tradition in basketball," he said. In general, Newcomb explained, Ivy League teams would continue to play those from non-scholarship schools, even if that number decreases. "I think the Ivy League would still schedule like-minded institutions," Newcomb said. "Competitively, it's very, very difficult these days to go against scholarship institutions." For instance, since 1986, the Penn football team has only played one school outside the Ivy and Patriot leagues: William & Mary, in 1992 and 1995. The Quakers fell to the Tribe in both contests. In 1986, the Ivy and Patriot leagues reached a scheduling agreement in which teams from both conferences would play each other in football. Although that agreement is not in effect anymore, schools from the two leagues still regularly compete against one another in many sports. Holy Cross dominated the Patriot League in football from 1986 to 1991, compiling a 60-5-1 record and taking five league titles under coach Mark Duffner. But under coach Peter Vaas, from 1992 to 1995, the Crusaders went just 14-30. New head coach Dan Allen has led Holy Cross to a 1-6 record so far this season. Despite the fact that Holy Cross's stated goal is to keep need-based aid in football, the league presidents' meeting in December could possibly alter the conference's future, as Atkinson said. "To keep the league as strong as we want to keep it, we may have to change as well," Newcome said. While Holy Cross's football program has faltered in recent years, the school's men's and women's basketball teams are not in dire shape, by account of their recent win-loss records. Since Patriot League basketball play commenced with the 1990-91 season, the men's squad has compiled a 104-79 record -- including a league championship in 1993 -- though it has hovered around .500 the last three years. And the women's team has dominated the league since its inception, winning four championships in six seasons with an overall record of 122-59. However, Lehigh women's basketball coach Sue Troyan said she feels athletic scholarships would provide teams with "a lot more flexibility without trying to compromise the athletic end." "It would give you a great competitive advantage to attract the brightest students and the best athletes," Troyan said. On the other hand, Bucknell men's basketball coach Patrick Flannery said he does not support abandoning the current system of need-based aid, especially if Holy Cross is the only institution to do so. "It will certainly give Holy Cross an advantage," Flannery said. "It's something that they feel they've got to do. We'll just have to do the best we can with it." Flannery noted that if Holy Cross moves to aid in basketball, there will be little noticeable change for the first few seasons. But after the Crusaders matriculate several scholarship classes, the other Patriot League schools that offer only need-based aid could be behind the curve. "I think in the short term it will be just as competitive," he said. "In the long term, I don't think anybody really knows." Penn men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy said he feels that if the Patriot League were to embrace athletic scholarships, the Ivy League teams would have more difficulty recruiting "middle-income" student-athletes. "In our minds, we're trying to recruit people who are truly scholarship kinds of players," Dunphy said. "If you are comparing an outstanding education, cost free, with an outstanding education costing a great deal of money? it won't help us."

Alumni mentors to help athletes prepare for future

(11/05/96 10:00am)

Since athletes spend so much time practicing their sport,Since athletes spend so much time practicing their sport,the mentors will help them with career development. Penn graduate Carl Robbins is worried about what Quaker basketball players will do with their lives after graduation -- "when the cheering stops." In order to assist men's and women's team members achieve their career goals outside of sports, Robbins, a 1970 Wharton graduate and co-captain of the 1969-70 men's basketball team, plans to implement a mentoring program this season. Robbins said student-athletes, particularly basketball players, must spend a particularly large portion of their time practicing and improving their basketball skills, even during the summer. As a result, they do not have the time to focus on planning their careers or obtaining summer internships, he added. Non-athletes, on the other hand, often have the advantage of gaining experience in their chosen fields before graduating from college. "These guys are caught up in internships by their sophomore year," Robbins said. "They're well on a path around career management." To help alleviate the disparity, Robbins and the Penn Basketball Club -- a group of alumni and friends of Quakers men's hoops -- are recruiting alumni to serve as mentors for current undergraduates. But Robbins said he already knows problems associated with the program might arise, such as finding alumni to participate or "making sure there are certain safeguards in place so there are no abuses either way." "You've got to find alums who are willing to donate some of their time," Robbins said, adding that he is now compiling a database of former players interested in mentoring. Men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy called the mentoring program "a great idea and a great help to us." "His idea is that these guys spend? the better part of three hours every day practicing their skill in basketball," Dunphy said. "By the time they're reached their junior or senior year, [they've missed] doing an internship or getting a job during the course of the year that may help them in their careers later on." College junior and men's basketball player Garett Kreitz, who had an internship with Sunoco last summer, said the program "would be a good idea." "It's harder to get time for the job interviews," Kreitz said. "We have much more strict schedules than everyone else on this campus." Kreitz added that a summer internship like his could benefit athletes' careers. "I'm sure some people would appreciate 9-to-5 summer jobs," he said. One of Robbins's former teammates, current Athletic Director Steve Bilsky, said the mentoring program will provide alumni with an alternative to opening their wallets and donating money to the department. "It sounds great to me," Bilsky said. "People think of alumni getting involved and giving us money, which is nice, but there's lots of ways for alumni to get involved." This is the first program of its kind specifically geared toward student-athletes. Other mentoring services and programs are available to undergraduates through the Department of Academic Support Programs and the Trustees' Council of Penn Women.

Few use Athletic Dep't laptops

(11/04/96 10:00am)

Athletes on road trips can check out one of 15 department computers. Only a few of Penn's student-athletes have taken advantage of the laptop computers the Athletic Department purchased for their use this past summer. But Assistant Athletic Director Robert Koonce said he is pleased with the program and expects more athletes to take advantage of the computers during the winter season. The department bought 15 notebook computers -- five Macintosh Powerbooks and 10 Texas Instruments IBM-compatibles -- so student-athletes could complete classwork on road trips. But according to the log sheet, only 12 out of the more than 900 student-athletes have taken advantage of the service during the first two months of the fall season. "It will increase in the winter," Koonce said. "With the wrestling and basketball, women's basketball, those winter sports traveling with Ivy League weekends, we'll see a lot of usage." The department is keeping a stricter watch on the computers since one student reported that he believed his borrowed laptop had been stolen from his apartment. "In fact, it wasn't stolen. He had left it somewhere," Koonce said, noting that the department now forbids students from taking the laptops home with them. Currently, the Athletic Department requires students to reserve a computer at least one day before a road trip and to agree to be liable for anything that happens to the computer. Despite the low use so far, Koonce said the department is considering purchasing more computers, most likely IBM-compatibles, since those have been more popular than the Macintoshes. College senior Pat Larco, a member of the men's soccer team, said he used one of the Texas Instruments laptops to write a paper that was due soon after a road trip. Larco said the computer "was very good" overall, although he had trouble using the trackpad -- the pad which controls the cursor -- while the bus was in motion. "It got easier once you got used to it," he said. Larco added that the computer's batteries did not last very long, something he said was typical of any laptop. Although he did not use the modem, Larco said he could have through a hookup in his hotel room. Women's crew co-captain Heather Whalen said the computer she borrowed "was extremely useful" for an English paper she wrote during a week in which she had several papers and presentations due. "We were in Boston all day Saturday and all day Sunday, and needless to say, I needed a computer," the College senior said. Whalen added that she was appreciative of the Athletic Department's efforts to help athletes with their classwork. "When we go on long trips, it's really hard and we're really pressed for time," she said.

Recreation director unveils plans to improve department

(10/24/96 9:00am)

Students who remain on campus next summer could serve as counselors at a University-run day camp for children of faculty and staff. Or for roughly $150 -- less than most local health clubs -- those interested in physical fitness could spend 10 sessions with a personal trainer. These are just a few examples of the new programs Recreation Director Mike Diorka intends to introduce this year. Two months into his new job, Diorka has focused on clarifying the Recreation Department's purpose, addressing student concerns and even raising school spirit. Diorka, along with intramurals assistant directors Stu Gelfond and Murray Grant, are informally surveying students who participate in University-sponsored recreational activities or use athletic facilities. "I think what we were trying to assess was what students were really feeling -- what they were trying to get out of recreation," Diorka said. "Students are generally interested in having fun at what they do." For instance, Diorka has scheduled the first-ever "Locust Walk Mile" -- a race open to the entire University community -- for Homecoming Weekend, the morning of November 2. "We think it can generate a lot of excitement," Diorka said. "We're going to try to make this into a tradition at every Homecoming." Grant said there are also plans for an upcoming "late-night extravaganza" at Franklin Field in which students would compete in field-goal kicking, throwing accuracy, sprints and other football- and soccer-related contests. And at the beginning of next semester, the Recreation Department aims to hold a week-long "Quaker basketball mania" featuring three-point shootouts and free-throw contests. Finalists would then compete at halftime of a Quakers basketball game, according to Grant. "A lot of the changes that we will be making in the next month are coming directly from what the students want," said Grant, calling the students' responses "very, very informative." Gelfond noted that the Recreation Department is also trying to centralize its operations to eliminate past confusion. Previously, many people believed that Hutchinson and Gimbel gymnasiums were managed independently of one another, when in fact the Recreation Department oversees both of them. "A lot of people may be? not even aware of the fact that there is something called campus recreation," Gelfond said. Diorka explained that the department has kept an active eye on the Hutch and Gimbel weight rooms, a subject of past student complaints. In October 1994, students filed a petition demanding better equipment and facilities in Hutch. As a result, the University repaired the floors, ventilation system and some equipment the following semester. "Every machine is up to speed and up to par and areas have been identified where we need to replace parts," Diorka said. "I think Recreation is very conscious of having [weight] rooms in good working order." He added that the Hutch weight room has a new rowing machine and that the department might "change a few pieces around" in the Gimbel weight room. But students who work out at Gimbel say there is much room for improvement. Chris Mora, a first-year Law student, called the facility "highly inadequate" and cited the need for a new, comprehensive recreation complex, such as the one at Tulane University where Diorka previously served as recreation director. Wharton sophomore Amar Bindra complained about the machines' age and the lack of free weights. And Drexel University sophomore Liz Eure called the Gimbel equipment "mediocre," although she added that the machines are sufficient for her use. "They're still pretty good for the most part," she said. Diorka cited the summer camp as a particularly good opportunity for students. "That could be a real neat experience," he said. Grant said the camp would provide a unique opportunity for children in West Philadelphia who "have never been on, at or near a university setting." Diorka noted that the personal trainer program could especially aid people who feel intimidated by the weight-room equipment. "Sometimes you look at the machines and they seem medieval, like they're some kind of contraption that can torture you," he said.

Three Penn grads making best of NBA shots

(10/24/96 9:00am)

Although the Penn basketball team has been at or near the top of the Ivy League in recent years, the Quakers are not traditionally known for regularly producing NBA-caliber players. But right now, three alumni are getting playing time in the NBA preseason. Guards Matt Maloney and Jerome Allen -- who led Penn to three straight Ivy championships and NCAA tournament appearances from 1993 through 1995 -- each signed one-year contracts with the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers, respectively, while guard Ira Bowman is on the Pacers preseason roster and hopes to make the final cut. The NBA regular season officially begins November 1, one week from tomorrow. Maloney, the 1995 Ivy Player of the Year, has seen the most action so far, starting four out of the Rockets' six preseason games. He has averaged 25.3 minutes and 6.8 points per game, hitting 42.9 percent of his shots from behind the arc while dishing out 3.2 assists per game. "I think I'm playing well," the 6-foot-3 point guard said. "I'm getting along with the players well on and off the court." As for whether or not he will start when the regular season begins, Maloney said the decision is between him and Brent Price, the younger brother of former All-Star guard Mark Price. "It's something that the coach is going to decide," Maloney said. "I just want to get a chance to play." Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich called Maloney "a well-rounded player who is very fundamentally sound." "We'll look at Matt to be one of our floor generals, a distributor of the ball," Tomjanovich said. "He's a solid spot-up shooter that works well when teams double [center] Hakeem [Olajuwon] and [forward] Charles [Barkley]." Allen and Bowman, the 1994 and 1996 Ivy Players of the Year, on the other hand, have not had much success so far with Indiana. After seeing little action with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a rookie last season, the 6-foot-4 Allen has been relegated to the Indiana bench for now. He has played in all five preseason games but has averaged just 9.4 minutes and is 2-for-12 in overall field goals. The 6-foot-5 Bowman is also spending most of his time off the court, averaging 8.7 minutes and 1.7 points per game for the Pacers. He played in Australia's National Basketball League over the summer, where he averaged a comparably large 24.5 points in 11 games with the Gold Coast Rollers. "It was being able to play in that league for three months or so that really helped me stay in shape and get me prepared for this," Bowman said. He said the Pacers will decide by next Friday whether or not to sign him. For Maloney, who made it to the final round of cuts with the Golden State Warriors last year and spent last season with the CBA's Grand Rapids Mackers, a second chance at the NBA is a welcome opportunity. "I'm enjoying every minute and pretty much getting acclimated to my teammates and looking forward to this year," Maloney said. Maloney added that working with Barkley, a former league MVP and outspoken personality, is "fun" and "unpredictable." He said future Hall of Famer Olajuwon "is not as outgoing, but he's definitely one of the best players to play the game." Bowman added that he is having "a lot of fun" playing with his former teammate Allen and has learned a great deal from Indiana coach Larry Brown. "He's one of the few coaches in the NBA who really still likes to teach the game," Bowman said. Maloney impressed the Rockets this past summer at the Rocky Mountain Revue, a rookie and free-agent camp for several NBA teams, where he averaged 10.8 points and five assists per game. Allen, a three-time all-Ivy selection, is Penn's all-time leader in assists and steals. The Timberwolves selected him in the second round of the 1995 NBA draft.

ESPN will not air nay M. Hoops games

(10/22/96 9:00am)

Although a number of Penn athletic teams will have broader regional television exposure this year with the recently arranged Comcast television deal, the Quakers men's basketball team -- which has played to national audiences in each of the last two seasons -- will not have any games on ESPN or ESPN2 this season, according to Decker Uhlhorn, Penn's director of athletics development and public affairs. "I am not aware of any games this year that would be on ESPN or ESPN2," Uhlhorn said. This season, ESPN and ESPN2 will each show one Princeton basketball game, according to ESPN Senior Publicist Dean Diltz. ESPN will carry the Tigers first-round preseason NIT game against Indiana, while ESPN2 will broadcast Princeton's regular-season matchup with North Carolina. Since neither ResNet nor Wade Cablevision is affiliated with Comcast, Penn students will not be able to view any Penn broadcasts carried on the Comcast Network. Uhlhorn -- who returned to Penn in 1995 after spending nine years handling the Philadelphia Eagles' television contracts -- explained the athletic department might discuss with Comcast the possibility of supplying UTV13 with tapes of some games. "I know Comcast has been very cooperative," Uhlhorn said. Robert Smith, Comcast's area director of public and government relations, emphasized that Comcast is providing its subscribers with "a heavy dose of high school and intercollegiate sports." "I don't mean to be cavalier, but what we're trying to provide is services to Comcast customers," Smith said. "We simply can't serve the areas that we don't serve." Uhlhorn said Penn is only one of several institutions to have athletic events covered by Comcast. The cable company's schedule includes contests featuring numerous New Jersey and Philadelphia-area schools, including Princeton and Villanova. "One of the things that drove the Comcast people? was that they were looking for programming," Uhlhorn said. "We're just one piece of this system." So far, Philadelphia-based Comcast Cablevision has broadcast three Penn sporting events on its Comcast Network, which reaches approximately 1.2 million subscribers in the New Jersey/Philadelphia area. But Uhlhorn said the Penn athletic department has not inked an official agreement with Comcast. "Even though they have begun to televise, we do not have a signed document yet," Uhlhorn said. According to Uhlhorn, Penn began negotiating with Comcast earlier this year to broaden regional television exposure. "The issue as far, as the [athletic department] was concerned, was to try to bring exposure across a wide variety of sports," Uhlhorn said. Comcast has already broadcast two Quakers soccer matches -- one men's and one women's -- and will probably carry women's basketball, wrestling and men's and women's lacrosse -- sports "that would normally not have the opportunity to be televised," Uhlhorn noted. Uhlhorn added that the ongoing Comcast agreement does not preclude Penn from other television agreements. "We are not limited in the Comcast deal," Uhlhorn said, noting that Penn basketball coach Fran Dunphy "has a relationship with the ESPN people." At this point, the Big 5 has not announced a television schedule for the coming season, although Comcast is tentatively scheduled to broadcast all of Penn's Big 5 games. "Each of the Big 5 schools is negotiating their own separate package," said Big 5 Acting Executive Director Paul Rubincam, adding that the schools' athletic directors will discuss television coverage at a meeting next week.