Sunday, August 30, 1998
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer has taken the offensive when it comes to talk of his academic performance.
"The entire media has blown my eligibility out of proportion," he said. "I don't read the paper anymore. But I hear from my parents, my roommate, from everybody, "Did you read this? Did you read that?' "
Katzenmoyer, who won the Butkus Award last year as the nation's top linebacker, is taking music, golf and AIDS awareness during the summer quarter to bring his overall grade-point average up to a qualifying 2.0.
His academic troubles are highlighted Sports Illustrated's college football preview issue, which has Katzenmoyer on the cover and ranks the Buckeyes No. 1, but with an asterisk. It notes the junior linebacker must be eligible if Ohio State is to remain on top.
"It's ridiculous. If I knew they were going to run that kind of story in there, I wouldn't have done the shot or given the interview," he said.
Katzenmoyer said he especially was upset with the story's implication that he was merely biding time in college football this season and would leave for the NFL in 1999.
"They probably figured since I have bad grades and the potential to play next year, I'd make that decision," he said.
He said he hasn't decided whether he will go to the NFL, and said the topic never came up in the interview.
A message left at Sports Illustrated offices was not returned. The coverage of Katzenmoyer's eligibility also does not sit well with coach John Cooper.
"Whatever happened to the Buckley Amendment?" Cooper said of the statute that protects a student's academic record. "I didn't think we were allowed to talk about this kind of stuff.
"Now I read it in SI. I read it in the papers . . . a blow-by-blow description of what he's taking. I've never seen it before, and I hope I never see it again," Cooper said.
Katzenmoyer disclosed his course load upon reporting for fall practice. He said he must take two final exams in the next week before learning whether he is eligible.
"The outlook right now is pretty good, unless something freaky happens," he said.
Ohio State, ranked No. 1 in the AP top 25, opens its season Saturday at 11th-ranked West Virginia.