New rules limit number of varsity athletes on teams
By MIKE CONNOLLY
Senior Staff Writer
New eligibility rules for Bookstore XXXI are designed to level the playing field and produce a more competitive tournament, according to head commissioner Brian Clemency.
Starting this year, a team may carry no more than three players who have suited up for a Division II or III college in the past 15 years. Any team with a player who suited up for a Division I college in the last 15 years may not carry more than one Division II or III player.
Division II and III players are now classified the same way as Irish football players.
"It was a rule whose time had come. It will make the game more open for everybody," Clemency said.
The only team affected by the new rule was a team of Saint Mary's basketball players, said Clemency. Last year the Hardcore Strokers, which included five Belles players, made it to the finals of the women's tournament.
This year, Hardcore Strokers includes three Saint Mary's basketball players — Anne Blair, Shaun Russell and Katie Miller — and two other Saint Mary's students.
Blair, a senior, said she was a little disappointed about having to break up her team this year but understood why the change was made.
"I understand if they think it's too competitive. If we play together for the whole season we have an advantage," Blair said.
"Having plays in bookstore basketball goes against everything bookstore is all about," Clemency said.
Other than the Saint Mary's team, Clemency said he thought the new rule change might impact graduate or law school teams with Division II or III players in future years.
"I don't want to see a team with a bunch of D2 players just go out and beat down on everybody," he said.
NCAA eligibility rules usually prevent college basketball players with eligibility remaining from participating in Bookstore Basketball since it, among other things, predetermines rosters, has corporate sponsorship and use referees in later rounds. Thus, Notre Dame basketball players do not participate in Bookstore until after they have exhausted their eligibility.
"The rule generally is that all competition during the school year that meets those criteria [listed in the NCAA rule book] is banned," said Delise O'Meally, director of membership services for the NCAA.
Saint Mary's, however, received an exception for its basketball players to play in Bookstore since it is a University-sponsored tournament open to all students, according to athletic director Lynn Kachmarik.
The only thing that would stop the Saint Mary's underclassmen from playing would be a ban from head coach Suzanne Smith. Smith, however, has no problem with her team playing.
"They just love playing so I am not going to stop them," Smith said. "If you are going to have an injury, this is the time to do it."
All Sports Stories for Thursday, April 11, 2002