RIGHTING A WRONG
It's unfortunate that Florida State junior forward Diego Romero had to miss 15 games this season for what was essentially a legislative oversight, but the NCAA's management council did the right thing on Sunday when it paved the way for his reinstatement.
The 6'10" Romero was declared ineligible last November because he had signed two underage contracts with a professional club in his native Argentina and received about $2,400 in living expenses. Under a previous NCAA rule Romero would have been suspended for eight games, but in October 2002 the NCAA increased that penalty to permanent ineligibility.
An exception was grandfathered in for students already playing at four-year colleges, but the exception did not explicitly include players then in junior college. Romero was a sophomore at Lon Morris College in Texas when the rule changed, and he enrolled in Florida State last fall believing that the old standard applied to him.
The NCAA ruled that it didn't, and after several appeals Romero's career at Florida State appeared to be over before it began. But the management council revised the rule on Sunday, making Romero eligible immediately. Now the Seminoles must decide whether Romero will redshirt this season, given how much time he has already lost. "This decision reinforces my faith in people doing what is right once the facts are understood," said Florida State athletic director Dave Hart.
Think you had a bad week? Despite playing well, Providence lost two games, each in the blink of an eye. On Jan. 5 Texas freshman P.J. Tucker released a shot with a few hundredths of a second remaining to beat the Friars at the buzzer. Five days later Providence blew a five-point lead in the final 19 seconds and lost 65-64 when Rutgers' Herve Lamizana sank a three-pointer with 0.4 left. Said Friars coach Tim Welsh, "It can shake you up losing these games. We have to keep these guys from wondering if lightning is going to keep striking."
UNDER THE RADAR
Taylor Coppenrath Jr., F, Vermont
Hailing from the small Vermont town of West Barnet, the 6'9" Coppenrath has been a steal for Catamounts coach Tom Brennan, who was sold on the forward after viewing a highlight tape sent by Coppenrath's father. At week's end Coppenrath, who redshirted as a freshman, was the nation's fifth-leading scorer (24.0 points a game) and was third in the America East Conference in rebounding, with 7.5 boards a game. The reigning league player of the year, Coppenrath scored 38 points in a one-point loss at UCLA on Nov. 29, and on Jan. 7 he went for a career-high 41 in an 88-78 win over Northeastern.
1. Stanford's Mike Montgomery is the first-half coach of the year. No one expected the Cardinal to start 13-0, especially with Josh Childress missing nine games.
2. Watch out for Wisconsin. The 11-2 Badgers aren't pretty, but they're tough and will only get better when sophomore forward Alando Tucker returns from a foot injury.