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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Team Major Taylor not disqualified

Team Major Taylor will not be disqualified from the Little 500, an arbitration panel announced yesterday. \nIt was a reconvening of the arbitration panel that ruled unanimously on April 4 to keep the team in the race after new evidence surfaced from USA Cycling suggesting Team Major Taylor captain Joshua Weir was ineligible under Little 500 rules. \n"We are pleased to be moving forward and wanting to focus our efforts and our attention on the race itself," IU spokesman Bill Stephan said. "This is a particularly special race with scholarships for 9-11 families and we're really trying to get the focus back on the race."\nThe letter, addressed to IUSF, said that Weir had attained a category I level in December of 2000. Under Little 500 standards, any rider who has held a category I license at any point is deemed ineligible.\nBut, the letter was not offered as evidence in the first arbitration hearing where both sides agreed that the result would be final and binding. \nThe panel, comprised of Terry Bethel, a law professor; Mike Wilkerson, a journalism and arts administration associate professor and Craig Johnson, a SPEA associate professor, reconvened yesterday at the request of Chancellor Sharon Brehm to consider the new evidence, but did not act.\n"The arbitration panel met at the request of Chancellor Sharon Stephens Brehm on April 11, 2002," the panel said in a statement. "All three members of the arbitration panel understand that the panel's authority over the dispute ended when it issued its decision on April 4."\nStephan said the arbitration panel could not move forward without the consent of both sides and that Team Major Taylor would not grant that.\n"My understanding is from their perspective, from the panel's perspective, they could not (act on the evidence) unless they had full consent from all parties to reopen the arbitration process," Stephan said. "My understanding is the Major Taylor team did not wish to reopen the process."\nTeam Major Taylor head coach Courtney Bishop said that his team was not distracted by the arbitration panel because they concentrated on the prior ruling and the race.\n"We really don't have a response (to the arbitration result)," Bishop said. "We're just looking forward to being in the race and the guys are concentrating on school and the race. We've really just stayed focus on schoolwork and the race, so we've tried not to be distracted by much." \nBishop said the team had expected to be in the race all along and continued to believe that. \n"That was our understanding all along," Bishop said. "Since the first arbitration we've just been concentrating on schoolwork and the race. Our expectations are where the other 33 teams are. We're just trying to concentrate on what we can do and we're not really focused on anybody else." \nThe decision has met with criticism from many of the participants of other teams in the race.\nSeniors, riders council chair Michael Nierengarten of Fiji, co-chair Kevin Vanes of Acacia, Todd Cornelius of Fiji, Daniel Burns of Team Corleones and Mike Rubin of Gafombi contacted the IDS to voice their concerns regarding the situation. \n"We're really disappointed that it is so blatantly obvious that this rule is being overlooked," Vanes said. "It compromises something that we put every day and every minute of our lives into. It's not fair to us or anyone involved and somebody has to do something about this." \nThe riders said there are two options for resolving the issue. The first is for Team Major Taylor to admit wrongdoing and resign from the race. The second is for IU President Myles Brand to step in and take action. The riders also said they would like to be part of the process. \nThe riders said that Weir's shift from a category 1 to a category 3 rider constituted a blatant abuse of the rules.\n"In the cycling community, it's a national caliber rider going to a category 3 level, which is club level," Burns said. "It's like Jeff Gordon going down to race go-carts. If Jeff Gordon were racing go-carts, that's what it would be like."\nTeam Major Taylor will get back to cycling today at Team Pursuit, the final Little 500 series event. The team is scheduled to race the last heat before finals against Chi Phi at 7:36 p.m. \nStaff reporter Katie Schoenbaechler contributed to this story.

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