The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5, 1996 - 17A
flello, Conference USA;
Welcome to March Madness
The 4ssociated Press
--OVERLAND PARK,- Kan. -
C)mpions of 30 athletic conferences
, qualify automatically for next
y ar' Division I men's basketball
championship, the NCAA said yester-
The conferences are the America
Ewt.(formerly the North Atlantic),
Atantic Coast, Atlantic 10, Big East,
Big 12, Big Sky, Big South, Big Ten,
Big West, Colonial Athletic
Association, Conference USA, Ivy
Group, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Mid-
merica Athletic, Mid-Eastern
letic, Mid-Continent, Midwestern
Collegiate, Missouri Valley,
Northeast, Ohio Valley, Pacific 10,
Patriot League, Southeastern,
Southern, Southland, Southwestern
Athletic, Sun Belt, Trans America
Athletic, West Coast and Western
Dan Calandro, the NCAA's direc-
tor of Division I Men's Basketball
Operations, said the only changes
from last year involved the new Big
12, a merger of the Big Eight and
Southwest conferences, which were
separate qualifers a year ago, and the
inclusion of Conference USA.
Conference USA was formed two
years ago when three members of the
Metro Conference combined with
what used to be the Great Midwest
It was not eligible for automatic
qualification in its first year because
it did not have at least six members
who had been in the conference for
Other qualification requirements
include having at least six schools
who are Division I in basketball and
who have been members of the
NCAA for five years.
The NCAA Executive Committee
limits the number of automatic quali-
fiers to 30. The other tournament
berths are determined by a selection
Super frosh linebacker will start,
wear Griffin's number for Buckeyes
[he Associated Press
COLUMBUS - As if it weren't enough to follow Chris
pielman, Pepper Johnson and Tom Cousineau as lineback-
rs at Ohio State, Andy Katzenmoyer starts his career
aturday wearing the number of the school's biggest icon.
For the first time since Archie Griffin won the Heisman
rophy in 1974 and 1975, his No. 45 jersey will be worn by
nother Buckeye player. And Katzenmoyer - Ohio's Mr.
ootball and USA Today's national defensive player of the
ear last season as a senior in suburban Westerville - is the
^Owho will be wearing it.
ome have been critical that Griffin's number has been
iven out instead of retired. For his part, Griffin, now an
ssociate athletic director at his alma mater, is ever the
"Hopefully he'll make 'em forget who wore it before,"
3riffin said. 4
"He's an outstanding player. I think he'll wear it well."
Katzenmoyer, a 6-foot-4, 250-pounder, is believed to be
he first linebacker ever to start his first game as a true
'reshman at Ohio State.
never imagined this," Katzenmoyer said.
Freshmen starters don't come along often at Ohio State,
o a lot of people naturally would be watching him Saturday
hen the 10th-ranked Buckeyes open at home against Rice.
o add to the pressure, there's that bold No. 45 on his uni-
Ohio State coach John Cooper said he knew he had some-
thing special from the beginning in Katzenmoyer.
"The first day you see him when he walks on the field,
and he can run, he's big - he looked like a player and he
performed well in practice" Cooper said.
To make room for Katzenmoyer, last year's leading tack-
ler, Greg Bellisari, will be moved to outside linebacker. It's
a risk that Cooper was willing to take.
"When you start weighing the options, we felt like, we're
a better defensive team with him in the middle and moving
Greg back outside," Cooper said.
Bellisari, the Buckeyes' defensive captain, said, "He's a
gifted kid. His talent is amazing."
First-year defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said he was-
n't shocked that Katzenmoyer bulled his way into a starting
position so fast.
"I expected that from him," Pagac said. "We've been
looking at him for a couple of years. He was a great player
in high school, and we expect him to be a good player here."
None of Ohio State's other standout defenders -
Spielman, Johnson, Cousineau, Marcus Marek, Randy
Gradishar, Jim Stillwagon or Jack Tatum - started their
first game as a freshman.
"It's something important," Katzenmoyer said. "I was
hoping I'd get some playing time, but I wasn't expecting it.
I just wanted to be a contributor."
Cooper is confident that Katzenmoyer is up to the task of
playing well before more than 92,000 fans in his debut.
"I think he can handle it," he said. "I'll be disappointed if
's Andy Katzenmoyer is the first freshman to start at inside linebacker for the
He's also the first player to wear the hallowed No. 45 on a Buckeye jersey
ime Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.
it 250 lbs. Hometown: Westerville, Ohio
Position: 1 LB
census AlbAmericans signed by the Buckeyes ... 1995 USA Today prep
r of the Year ... Mr. Football in Ohio ... AP Division I Football Player of the
e top prep linebacker in the country by BlueChip Illustated -.made 114
losses, and eight sacks as a senior at Westerville South High School.
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