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Wuerffel receives NCAA honor, may sit out Hula Bowl

January 13, 1997

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel, still nursing a sore right shoulder from the Sugar Bowl, was among the NCAA’s Top Eight award winners at Sunday’s awards dinner at the NCAA Convention.

The Heisman Trophy winner was in town to receive his award before traveling to Honolulu for the Hula Bowl. Wuerffel, however, said there is a chance he won’t play in Saturday’s game because of his shoulder.

``It’s still sore,″ Wuerffel said. ``I saw a doctor and I’ll have an MRI when I get back from the game.″

He said he called bowl officials to inform him he might be unable to play.

Wuerffel, who was sacked five times and knocked to the ground about a dozen more times in the Sugar Bowl, hurt the shoulder in the second quarter but warmed up on the sideline and returned to finish a three-TD, 306-yard performance.

Coaching Wuerffel’s team Saturday will be Florida State’s Bobby Bowden.

The Top Eight awards are given to athletes who excel in sports, academics and leadership.

Also honored were running back Tiki Barber (Virginia), diver Adam Burgasser (Cal-San Diego), basketball player Jennifer Clarkson (Abilene Christian), soccer player Michael Fischer (Virginia), swimmer Berit Puggard (SMU), soccer player Jennifer Renola (Notre Dame) and swimmer Annette Salmeen UCLA).


PAYNE HONORED, TOO: Billy Payne, chief executive officer of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, was presented with the Theodore Roosevelt Award on Sunday by the NCAA Honors Committee.

The NCAA’s top individual award is presented annually to a former college player who demonstrates a continued interest and concern for sports. Payne, a former football player at Georgia under Vince Dooley, was nominated for the award by his school.

``I am a firm believer that we all stand on the shoulders of people who have helped us get there,″ Payne said before Sunday’s awards dinner at the NCAA Convention. ``And that’s the message I hope to impart in the hopes it will affect and impact some of these wonderful young athletes who have set no such high expectations for the balance of their careers.″

Also, the silver anniversary award winners were honored for distinguishing themselves since completing their college careers 25 years ago.

The winners were: Tommy Casanova (LSU, football); Jack Ford (Yale, football); David Joyner (Penn State, football and wrestling); Edward Rust (Illinois Wesleyan, football and wrestling); James Tedisco (Union, basketball); and Herb Washington (Michigan State, track).


SIGN OF THE TIMES: Veteran NCAA staffers and delegates were shocked to see corporate signs and displays in their area at the Opryland Hotel. For the first time, NCAA corporate partners such as Pizza Hut, Hershey’s and American Express were allowed a presence at the meetings.

``There’s something I never thought I’d see at an NCAA convention,″ said one delegate.


SO MANY SCHOOLS: The 902-member NCAA breaks down like this: Division I-A _ 110; I-AA _ 117; I-AAA _ 78; Division II _ 246; Division III _ 351. There also are 92 provisional members.


END OF CFA: For the first time since the College Football Association was formed in 1978, the CFA did not have a meeting at the convention. With the end of the CFA television agreements, the association of 64 major football schools is disbanding. Its board of directors met Sunday to begin the process.

``There was just not any reason to meet,″ said Chuck Neinas, the only executive director the CFA ever had. ``We officially go out of business next summer.″

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