By Curtis Murayama
Advertiser Sports Editor
"How come Michelle Wie can play against pros, but Costas can't?"
That has been the most-asked sports question of the past month.
Both athletes, Punahou School golfing phenom Wie and University of Hawai'i volleyball player Costas Theocharidis, have been in the news recently, but not all of it has been positive.
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UH volleyball player Costas Theocharidis was found ineligible to play in college games, costing UH its 2002 title.
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Since Wie is in high school, she is not bound by NCAA rules until she attends college. But when she gets there, she will be eligible, despite playing with professionals in a handful of tournaments.
That was not the case for Theocharidis, whose participation in a professional volleyball league in Greece cost UH its only men's NCAA team title.
Theocharidis says he did not accept money, did not sign a contract, did not hire an agent. But his participation with professionals made him ineligible.
After an investigation, the NCAA, the supreme court of college athletics, ruled that Theocharidis was ineligible. UH had to forfeit its 2002 NCAA men's volleyball title.
Which brings us back to the original question.
Wie, and any other amateur golfer who plays with professionals, is eligible because the NCAA rules say so.
According to rule 188.8.131.52, competition with professionals:
"An individual shall not be eligible for intercollegiate athletics in a sport if the individual ever competed on a professional team in that sport. However, an individual may compete on a tennis, golf, two-person sand volleyball or two-person synchronized diving team with persons who are competing for cash or a comparable prize, provided the individual does not receive payment of any kind for such participation."
So why are golfers and tennis players, even beach volleyball players, exempt, but not international volleyball players?
I posed that question to the NCAA by phone and e-mail, but got no response after weeks of
trying, except from an assistant director of media relations (that's where I was directed) who said she would be happy to help me but was taking a job elsewhere.
So I don't know the thinking behind how these rules were devised and revised.
To me, they seem inconsistent. Maybe down the road, the rules will be revised again, in favor of the international athlete, and players in Theocharidis' predicament will be eligible.
That would be little consolation to the UH players and fans, most of whom were bitter at the NCAA decision.
What about Ohio State?
If you're wondering what would happen to Ohio State's football title if star running back Maurice Clarett is found ineligible by the NCAA, the answer is simple.
The NCAA does not have a national championship for Division I football, so a title would not be the NCAA's to take away.
What Ohio State won was a national title, administered by the Bowl Championship Series.
On to missing prep scores
"Where's the (expletive) high school scores?" Click.
I've had those messages left on my phone more than a few Saturday mornings.
Never mind that the results were submitted at 12:30 a.m., long after our deadline.
The explanations are simple, yet complicated.
It could have been that the game was not reported to us, or it was called in late, or we couldn't process the volume of games in time.
The reporting of game results is the schools' responsibility, set forth at coaches' meetings before the season.
However, when we don't get the results, we make the calls, often pestering people late at night.
Because football games end around 10:30 p.m., and our deadline is at 11:45 p.m., that doesn't give anyone much time. After all:
The high-school statistician has to compile the stats, then call or fax them in;
Our clerical assistants have to type the statistics into the database;
Our copy editors have to proofread the information and sometimes write a headline;
Our layout editor has to fit it all on the page.
With all these variables at play, it is rewarding when we can receive all the results, make the deadline, and not disappoint readers.
The reporting of results also affects statistical bookkeeping. Without all the results, our statistics for teams and individuals will be incomplete.
I know some readers expect us to be at every game, and we do our best to cover the biggest games of the day. But with two reporters assigned to preps and 28 football teams on O'ahu well, you do the math.
Curtis Murayama is sports editor of The Advertiser. Reach him at email@example.com or 525-8017.