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.

HARD-LUCK FRIARS

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.

THREE POINTER

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.

3. Jim Harrick should drop his threat to file a lawsuit against
Georgia. Harrick's potential case against his former employer
only reminds people of the poor ethical decisions by Harrick that
cost the Bulldogs their bid to the NCAAs last year.

COLOR PHOTO: PHIL COALE/AP (ROMERO) Romero COLOR PHOTO: RICH SCHULTZ/AP (RUTGERS-PROVIDENCE) Rutgers-Providence COLOR PHOTO: AUGUST MILLER/TSN/ICON SMI (COPPENRATH) Coppenrath

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)