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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Team under fire again

New information refutes rider's eligibility

With less than two weeks until Little 500, controversy has struck again. After weeks of speculation by the IU Student Foundation that third place qualifier, Team Major Taylor, was ineligible under Little 500 standards, new information surfaced suggesting claims by IUSF were valid. \nIn a letter to the IUSF from USA Cycling, Chief Operating Officer Stephen C. Johnson wrote that freshman captain Joshua Weir did achieve a category 1 level, which under Little 500 rules would make him ineligible. \n"Our records show that (Weir) attained category 1 status on the track in December 2000. Josh was downgraded to a category 3 on the track in July 2001 and remains at that category level today," Johnson wrote in the letter.\nLittle 500 rules stipulate category 1 status at any point in a rider's career outlaws participation in the event.\nIUSF and Team Major Taylor underwent an arbitration process April 4 to determine the team's eligibility. IUSF contended that Weir obtained a category 1 status. In an e-mail sent to Weir March 4, IUSF informed him that because of his competitive background he would not be able to take part in the race. Weir replied to the e-mail one day later denying the allegations. The April 4 hearing unanimously ruled to reinstate Team Major Taylor into the race.\n"We're obviously pleased with the decision," Team Major Taylor coach Courtney Bishop said after the hearing. "...To us it means that it made sense to more people than just us."\nBut the new evidence from USA Cycling has forced IU to look into the legal and logistical ramifications of reconvening the panel. Both parties agreed after the first hearing the decision would be final and binding. IU spokesman Bill Stephan said arrangements are being made, but may not move forward without the consent of both sides.\n"That's part of what will need to be resolved or at least be discussed to a greater extent," Stephan said. "I think both sides have a willingness to continue to have the arbitration panel consider this latest information. But unless there is a willingness on behalf of all parties to submit, I'm not sure that there can be a resolution."\nWeir said there can be no second arbitration hearing because the first is binding. \nThe arbitration panel, comprised of Terry Bethel, a law professor; Mike Wilkerson, a journalism and arts administration associate professor and Craig Johnson, a SPEA associate professor, would not comment on a second arbitration session.\nIf Team Major Taylor is disqualified, every team that finished behind third place would be bumped up. Alpha Sigma Pi, who qualified in 34th place and just missed the cut for race day, would be registered in the race. \nAlpha Sigma Pi rider Patrick Costello said it's hard to tell how mentally and physically prepared his team would be for the race but they would relish the opportunity, if Team Major Taylor was disqualified. \n"It's hard to say because of everything that's gone on," Costello said. "If we get in, we get in, if not, we don't. But we've still been going in and practicing and lifting. The choice isn't up to me, but if it comes it comes, if not, there's always next year."\nThe letter from USA Cycling also addressed inquiries from IUSF about Acacia rider Kevin Baron Vanes and Phi Gamma Delta rider Todd Cornelius. Neither were in violation of Little 500 eligibility standards. IUSF declined comment for this story.

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