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Baptist univ. joined by 30 others in stance against Sun. competition

BUIES CREEK, N.C. (BP)–A North Carolina Baptist college’s stance against competing on Sundays has drawn the required support of 30 other colleges to force the National Collegiate Athletic Association to take another look at a rule change adopted by the Division 1 board of directors.
In April, the Division 1 board eliminated the requirement that championship schedules be adjusted to accommodate a school’s policy against Sunday competition.
As of May 26, 32 other requests for an override vote of the Division 1 change had been received by the NCAA, according to a news release from Campbell University, Buies Creek, N.C.
The requests for an override will require, initially, that the Division 1 board of directors review its adoption of Proposal 98-32. Ten board members voted for the change on April 23, one abstained and four were absent.
If the board does not rescind Proposal 98-32, a vote of Division 1’s active members will be taken at the NCAA’s January 1999 annual meeting, with a five-eighths majority needed for an override.
Campbell University has had a policy against Sunday competition since its founding in 1887. The university joined the NCAA Division 1 ranks in the 1977-78 academic year. In the 1990s, various Fighting Camel teams have advanced to NCAA post-season competition in baseball, men’s basketball, women’s golf, softball and wrestling. The women’s golf team currently is ranked seventh nationally by Golfstat. Campbell University left the Big South Conference several years ago over the issue of Sunday competition.
The recent NCAA rule change also is opposed by Brigham Young University in Utah, which 35 years ago was instrumental in the NCAA’s adoption of Bylaw, often referred to as the “BYU” rule, which called for accommodation of colleges’ policies against Sunday competition.
If 100 requests for an override are received by the NCAA by July 6, Proposal 98-32 will be suspended until the override vote.
“We are gratified to know that there is a national concern about this unfortunate change in a time-honored policy of the NCAA …,” Campbell University President Norman A. Wiggins said.
“This (override) effort strives to continue a fair and reasonable accommodation that has existed for more than 35 years, with very little consequence for the NCAA membership,” he said, noting, “It is in no way an attempt to change the policies, principles and practices that other institutions may have concerning Sunday play.”
Campbell University director of athletics Tom Collins, referring to the NCAA Division 1 board of directors stated concern for “increased promotional opportunities” through the rule change, said, “In the past 35 years, the accommodation provided through Bylaw has not significantly limited the opportunity for television revenue or exposure. In fact, looking at the revenue earned by the NCAA through television rights fees alone ($191 million in 1996-97), it is safe to say that the NCAA has thrived during this period.”
Universities supporting the override thus far include Baptist-related Baylor and Samford universities, along with Duke University, Stetson University, U.S. Naval Academy, University of Hawaii, Northwestern University, Texas A&M University, Stanford University and University of Southern California.