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Post Landers pushing for a good rules change

Friday June 2, 2006

Many Georgia fans know that Andy Landers’ frontcourt was decimated before the 2005-2006 season even started. Four forwards and centers were wiped from the roster through injury and attrition. Out of desperation, Landers turned to Georgia volleyball player Maria Taylor after the volleyball season had ended. Taylor had been an accomplished basketball player at Centennial High School but was on volleyball scholarship at Georgia. Because Bear Bryant (and I suppose others in that era) abused athletic scholarships from other sports and stockpiled football players, the SEC (and only the SEC) has a rule that prevents football and basketball teams from using players who are on scholarship in another sport. Landers’ plan to use Taylor (who had even begun practicing with the team) was stopped in its tracks after an appeal to the SEC fell through.

Now at the SEC spring meetings, Landers is promoting a rules change that would remove women’s basketball from the rule, and the suggestion has been well-received. Landers obviously has a specific motivation for suggesting this rules change, but he also presents the idea as an issue of opportunities for female student-athletes. “To limit those (opportunities) for any reason at this point in the evolution of women’s sports is I think wrong and counterproductive,” he said.

What Landers attempted to do with Taylor last year was entirely above-board and not against the spirit of the “Bear Bryant rule”. It wouldn’t have received a second thought in any other conference. It’s a little too late to help, but I hope he’s successful in this campaign.

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