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Brand leaves playoff scenario to BCS

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA will allow football teams to play
12 games per year, but it won't enter the postseason playoff fray.

The board of directors approved proposals on Thursday that would
add a 12th game to Division I-A schedules -- starting in 2006 --
allow schools to count one victory over Division I-AA schools each
year toward bowl eligibility, and loosen the requirements to
qualify for Division I-A status.

"The season will not be elongated, it just means the bye week
would be taken out," NCAA president Myles Brand said. "Nor will
it lead to any additional midweek games.

"But I seriously suggest you take up the tournament situation
with the BCS."

The Bowl Championship Series has tried to pit the two best teams
in a national championship game since the system was created in
1998. The NCAA has tried to avoid the playoff debate.

One argument against a football tournament is that lengthening
the season could force student-athletes to miss more classes.

Brand has supported academic reform since taking over as
president in January 2003 and said Thursday that an additional
football game each season won't create a problem.

Board chairman Robert Hemenway, the chancellor at Kansas, said
schools could make more money with an extra game but he insisted
that wasn't the only reason why the proposal passed.

"There was also a feeling that if you had another game, that it
does give you some flexibility in your scheduling," he said. "A
school like Oklahoma State, for instance, could possibly play a
game in Tulsa or Oklahoma City and play to that fan base."

Brand said the extra money could also be used to help fund
athletic departments that are losing money.

The board also adopted a resolution that strongly urged schools
not to adopt the new Title IX Internet-based surveys, which the
U.S. Department of Education said in March could be used to
scientifically gauge whether schools must expand or create women's
teams to meet demand.

"We felt that it was not true to the principles that have been
in effect," Hemenway said.

The board also asked the NCAA executive committee to propose a
comprehensive policy on alcohol advertising during college
telecasts. Hemenway said the committee took that action after a
lengthy discussion to include Division II and III events under any
new standard.

On Wednesday, the American Medical Association asked the NCAA to
ban all alcohol advertising. The current policy allows one minute
per hour of alcohol ads and prohibits the sale or advertising of
alcohol at NCAA championship events.

But the biggest winners Thursday were Division I-A football
teams.

Besides the 12th game, the NCAA will allow schools to count one
victory over a I-AA opponent each year, starting this fall.
Previously, schools could count one win every four years.

And smaller football programs, such as those in the Mountain
West and Mid-American Conferences, also got good news. The NCAA
will now allow schools to qualify for Division I-A if they average
15,000 in paid or actual attendance once every two years.

Previously, schools had to have 15,000 in actual attendance.

Division I vice president David Berst said schools could also
include students who attend games at a reduced price.

"I think it's a case of fixing things," Brand said. "When we
went to the turnstile attendance, I think we inadvertently harmed
some teams because they don't control the weather. I think that's
an indication that we had the wrong rule."

The board also approved a provision that would give men's
basketball coaches more flexible recruiting calendars, and another
proposal allowing men's and women's basketball coaches to instruct
players for up to two hours per week during the offseason.

Freshmen also will be permitted to play in preseason exhibition
games and keep their four additional years of eligibility as long
as they do not play the rest of that season.

Also approved was an increase in the number of scholarships for
women in gymnastics, soccer, volleyball and track and field. The
board agreed to grant another year of eligibility to players who
were academically ineligible as freshmen but completed 80 percent
of their degree requirements after four years.

The committee defeated a measure that would have allowed coaches
to watch voluntary workouts.