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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 17, 1999)
Eligibility rules for conferences changing
By Darren Ivy
Senior staff writer
Since joining the Big 12 Conference and
adopting new initial academic eligibility require
ments in 1996, Nebraska has had just one partial
qualifier in any sport.
It’s a stark contrast to the Big Eight Conference
days, when Nebraska athletic teams would take at
least a half dozen nonqualifiers and partial quali
fiers each year.
Former football standouts Eric Warfield, Toby
Wright, Michael Booker, Jamel Williams and
Jared Tomich were among these athletes.
The allowance of unlimited partial qualifiers
all ended in 1995. The last unlimited class of par
tial qualifiers, athletes who have fulfilled one of
two academic eligibility requirements, which
enrolled at NU included current basketball players
Troy Piatkowski, Larry Florence and Alvin
Mitchell (now at Cincinnati), and football line
backer Eric Johnson.
That’s four male partial qualifiers. Two other
partial qualifiers opted to give up football after sit
ting out the first year, Johnson said.
NCAA rules don’t restrict the number of par
tial qualifiers or nonqualifiers a school can have,
but conferences can. The Big 12 does. The initial
eligibility standards are among the toughest of the
major athletic conferences in the country. year provided they passed 24 credit hours over two
Under the new Big 12 rules, only two male and semesters,
two female partial qualifiers are allowed to enroll Originally, Big 12 schools agreed to adopt the
each year, with no more than one athlete in each old Big Eight rules for initial eligibility, former NU
sport. And nonqualifiers aren’t accepted at all. Coach Tom Osborne said.
They must go to junior college. Then some Big 12 schools, led by the
I didn’t think there was anything wrong
with the old way It wasn't being
abused. It was successful for several
athletes. It cuts down on giving kids
Nebraska basketball coach
University of Texas, pushed for
stricter rules. These standards are
the one in place now.
The Big 12 now uses NCAA
Clearinghouse standards to
admit athletes. An athlete can
establish eligibility with a GPA in
13 core classes as low as 2.0, pro
vided the student also presents an
SAT score (re-centered) of 1010
or an ACT sum score of 86. At
the other end of the index, a min
imum 820 SAT or 68 ACT sum
score establishes the floor for stu
dents with GPAs of 2.500 or
For NU and other former Big Eight schools,
the Big 12 eligibility standards were a big change.
The Big Eight didn’t limit the number of par
tial qualifiers a school could have and allowed non
qualifiers to enroll at institutions. Nonqualifiers
had to sit out the first year - paying their own
tuition - and then were eligible to play die second
What upset Osborne at the
time was the limits on partial and nonqualifiers.
Some conferences like the Big Ten, don’t have any.
“Where this rule can hurt you is if a player is
considering Nebraska and Ohio State or some
other school in the Big Ten,” Osborne said. “The
initial signing day is in February.”
The Big Ten, which had always proclaimed
itself as an elite academic conference, does not
limit the number of partial and nonqualifiers.
Theoretically, an athlete could have scored a 60
sum score on the ACT (an average of 15) and had a
1.5 GPA and still enrolled in a school like
Michigan. They wouldn’t play, but they could
But the Big Ten does have stricter rules once
students enroll in institutions, said Jennifer
Heppel, director of legislative and eligibility ser
vices for the conference.
The NCAA rules states an athlete must com
plete 24 hours toward his or her major each year.
The Big Ten rules require 51 completed credit
hours after the second year and 78 after the third
“We put more emphasis on their college work
than high school grades,” Heppel said.
The Western Athletic Conference also has no
limits on partial and nonqualifiers.
Rules didn’t change either when a few of the
former Southwestern Conference schools joined
the WAC in 1996, said Dell Robinson, assistant
commissioner for compliance services.
“(Outlawing nonqualifiers) was never an issue
we seriously considered,” Robinson said.
The Pacific 10 Conference and the
Southeastern Conference do limit partial and non
Please see RULES on 8
Shabala adjusts to NU baseball
■ The junior-college transfer is
second on the team in batting aver
age and a catalyst for Nebraska.
By David Wilson
Adam Shabala knows the equation that spells
success for a prototypical top-of-the-order hitter.
Contact plus speed equals runs.
And though he’s spent the majority of his
career studying this equation in the top two spots
of the batting order, Shabala knows he must prove
himself again - this time at the Division I level.
So far, so good.
A junior-college transfer from Kiswaukee
(111.) College, Shabala has started all seven games
for the Nebraska baseball team this season and
leads the team with a .571 on-base percentage.
“He’s focused. He’s determined,” Nebraska
Assistant Coach Mike Anderson said. “He came
into the season with a good frame of mind. I think
you need that in a one- and two- hole hitter.”
Despite facing generally harder-throwing
pitching than he saw in the junior college ranks,
Shabala currently owns a .500 batting average,
which ranks second on the squad.
Anderson said Shabala can credit his early
success to hard work. It also doesn’t hurt that the
centerfielder knows his duties.
“My job is just to get on base and let the rest of
those guys drive me in,” Shabala said. “I’m not a
power hitter. I wouldn’t mind hitting home runs,
but that’s not my job.”
In 30 at bats, Shabala has knocked just one
extra-base hit - but he has had little trouble getting
into scoring position with five stolen bases.
“Speed was big,” NU Coach Dave Van Horn
said of recruiting Shabala. “He's a run scorer.”
Despite outscoring its opponents this season,
Nebraska (3-4) has found itself losing more often
than not. NU opponents have scored 58 runs to the
Huskers’ 68 - six were scored by Shabala.
As a sophomore at Kiswaukee last spring,
Shabala hit .401 primarily from the leadoff spot,
while stealing 37 bases in 41 attempts.
He has yet to be caught this season.
“If I get a good jump,” Shabala said, “I don’t
think there’s too many catchers that can throw me
out. I’m always watching the pitcher and getting
reads no matter if I’m in the dugout, or on deck or
And as long as Shabala keeps his hard-work
ing attitude, Anderson said, success will likely
continue to follow.
“Our philosophy is if they come from a junior
college, they need to step up and produce immedi
ately,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of expecta
tions on junior college kids. Adam has exceeded
those so far.”
NU CENTERFIELDER ADAM SHABALA, a transfer from Kiswaukee Junior College, has the sec
ond best batting average on the team, hitting .500, and he has the best on-base percentage
with .571. The Huskers are 3-4 this so far and have scored 68 runs this season. Shabaia has
scored six of those runs.
plays as NLTs
coach on floor
By Darren Ivy
Senior staff writer
Senior NU forward Andy Markowski always
tries to stay mentally one step ahead of the action
on the court.
In the final 20 seconds against Iowa State on
Feb. 13, Markowski yelled defensive instructions
to his teammates before a throw-in.
Then with nine seconds remaining, he got
inside a Cyclone player on the ffee-throw line and
tipped a missed free-throw attempt back to a team
The play turned out to be the difference in the
“Markowski does a lot of the little things that
don’ t show up in statistics,” NU Coach Danny Nee
said. “He’s a warrior.”
The Ord native could be considered a coach’s
dream. He’s a student of the game, studying and
breaking down opposing teams’ tapes. With such
attention to detail, it should come as no surprise
that coaching is in Markowski’s plans.
But coaching will have to wait. All his atten
tion is focused on the last four Big 12 Conference
games. The Comhuskers (17-8 and 9-3 in the Big
12) are tied with Oklahoma and Missouri for sec
ond place, one-half game behind Texas. NU faces
Oklahoma State (16-8 and 7-5) tonight at 7:05
p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
“My whole purpose right now is to win this
title,” said Markowski, who is taking six hours of
graduate classes this semester. “Every day I get up
and think about it. I read the paper and think about
it. I come to practice and think about it. Since I’ve
been here, we’ve never been in this position. All
my energy, all my effort is going at this title.
“If we win out, we’ll be in a good position, but
Texas still has to get beat in front of us. Right now
we have to win four games, and our focus is on
Markowski has the media-relations part of
coaching down. But he’s not ready to take over for
Nee on the sidelines.
However, Markowski likes to think of himself
as Nee’s liaison on the court.
“Coach Nee can’t communicate out on the
floor,” Markowski said. “I kind of know our sys
tem pretty well because I’ve been here for five
years and I kind of know what he wants us to do. I
try to communicate out on the floor.
“In end of the game situations I’m trying to
Please see MARKOWSKI on 8
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