LSU will appeal eligibility ruling
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ LSU will appeal a state judge’s ruling that would require the school to let a javelin thrower compete with the track team because the athlete was not to blame for breaking an NCAA rule.
District Judge Curtis Calloway sided Monday with Delyle Woods, who said school counselors made a mistake when they figured how many credit hours he needed to remain eligible.
A school official told Woods he needed to earn seven credit hours during the Fall 1996 semester when he really needed 17, according to papers in his court file. Nevertheless, LSU barred Woods from competing this spring _ his last at LSU _ and the NCAA denied his appeal, his petition said.
Mike Pharis, a lawyer for LSU, said he would appeal Calloway’s ruling.
``This puts us in a terrible box″ with the NCAA, Pharis said.
Defense lawyer Bradley Myers disagreed.
``I just don’t think there’s any realistic possibility that the NCAA will sanction LSU for doing what a judge in Louisiana ordered them to do,″ he said.
Unless a higher court overturns Calloway’s ruling, Woods will be able to compete in the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships May 15-18 at Auburn, Ala., Myers said.
Woods also will be eligible for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 4-7 at Bloomington, Ind., Myers said.
Woods’ troubles began before the start of the 1996-97 academic year, his petition said.
Mary Boudreaux of LSU’s Academic Center for Athletes told track coaches that Woods needed to complete seven credit hours during the fall 1996 semester, according to a letter she wrote to the NCAA.
Based on Ms. Boudreaux’s information, Woods signed up for 12 hours and completed nine, according to his petition. After the semester ended, Ms. Boudreaux discovered her mistake and realized Woods should have taken 17 hours, according to her letter.
``Unfortunately, this was a typographical error,″ Ms. Boudreaux wrote to the NCAA.
If Woods had known he needed to take that many hours, he would have attended summer school to make up the time, his petition said.