TRACK'S COLD WAR HEATS UP
The Amateur Athletic Union, an organization which must hold world records in the standing about-face and the twist, has recently been giving exhibitions in both of these rather dubious skills. First, after agreeing to give automatic sanction to any open track meet conducted by the U.S. Track and Field Federation, the AAU forced Parry O'Brien to withdraw from the first USTFF indoor championships in Milwaukee, threatening to suspend him from international competition should he compete.
Now the AAU, having asked for a letter of clarification from General Douglas MacArthur, the arbitrator who negotiated the present uneasy peace between the AAU and the USTFF, has distorted the intent of the letter to claim that it gives it complete control over open track and field, which, in fact, it does not.
The AAU maintains that international rules require "the withdrawal of an AAU sanction if USTFF forces acceptance of a sanction upon a meet director." What MacArthur really said was: "No international body...can properly establish rules governing an intra-American athletic competition."
Confronted by this misinterpretation, the USTFF met in Kansas City this week to consider what course to adopt. "We will take a much firmer position," said an indignant Walter Byers, executive director of the NCAA, upon the eve of the meeting. "This has gone on long enough."
Indeed it has, and the USTFF, which controls almost all the athletes and facilities in track and field, is in a position to force the AAU to abide by its own agreements.
GOLF AND TAXES
Like many businessmen, those who guide the financial ways of the nation's golf clubs are taking a hard look at their tax situations this year. For one thing, with government curbs on expense-account spending, they look forward to reduced revenues.
Some of the hard facts were presented this weekend to the Massachusetts Golf Association by Walter A. Slowinski, lawyer and tax expert with a Washington firm. There are no less than 28 different taxes that may be imposed on a golf course, ranging from social security to liquor. On the 20% club-dues tax alone, some $70 million is collected annually. Indeed, of all the "temporary" 20% wartime taxes imposed during World War II, only two remain—those on sports-club dues and those on admissions to racetracks. The 20% cabaret, jewelry and fur taxes all have been reduced to 10%, but golf clubs don't have Washington lobbies.
Now a new tax form—2845—is being sent to the nation's golf clubs. It appears designed to disqualify a club's tax-exempt status if the club is being used extensively for outside parties, weddings, Rotary and Kiwanis meetings and the like. Some clubs, indeed, Slowinski said, are in danger of finding themselves in a 52% corporate tax bracket if they cater to a large number of outside groups.
THE ALL-ROUND KID
The greatest prep athlete in the U.S. most likely is Neil Roberts of Cedar City High School, Cedar City, Utah. Some of his secondary achievements as a junior include making All-State in football and basketball and playing a topnotch first base for the baseball team. But these, as we say, are secondary. It is in track and field that Neil really shines.
For instance, consider what he did at last year's annual trackfest, given by Brigham Young University for high school kids, who troop in from all over the West, quite a few of them pretty fair athletes. The trackfest's most exciting competition is the "all-round," which is sort of a nine-event decathlon. Roberts won it with a score of 7,144 points, 500 points better than the previous record. In many years 4,300 to 4,500 points were enough to win. Here is a rundown on Roberts' performance:
High jump 6 feet 1¼ inches, discus 126 feet 7 inches, pole vault 11 feet, 440-yard dash 55.5 seconds, 100-yard dash 10.6 seconds, 180 low hurdles 21.1 seconds, shotput 43 feet 8 inches, broad jump 22 feet 7 inches, javelin 175 feet 6 inches.
This year Roberts has exceeded all these marks in practice. His coach says that he will score 10,000 points when the trackfest is held April 20. Roberts is more modest.
"I hope I'll get more than 9,000," he says, "but 10...?"
Well, 9,000 isn't bad.
THE BOYS IN THE BACK ROOM
Jim (Dad) Buntin celebrated his 83rd birthday the other day and his 35th year of participation in what may be the oldest continuous nonfloating checkers game in history. Since 1928 Dad Buntin has played, taking on all comers, just about every day of the year in the back room of Guinn's newsstand, which is situated in the little North Texas town of Graham (population: 8,505) and is home grounds of the Charter Checker Club. The club was founded when C. W. Guinn's sister gave him an elegant inlaid checkerboard. Dad was one of the first players. He is now the game's acknowledged champion.
Since 1928 dozens of checkerboards have worn out in furious, checker-smashing play. The first was retired, reluctantly, in 1938, by which time it was no longer possible to distinguish black squares from red. That was the year C. W. sold the newsstand to his brother Fred, with the proviso that the checkers matches continue. Fred has been faithful, though he couldn't care less about checkers. "I couldn't beat a 10-year-old," he says.
All the regular players are more than 50 years old, in large part because Dad Buntin insists on a decorous game.
"We don't let the kids play," Dad explains, "because they think it's grownup to swear."
Through the years the game has been played daily, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., except when a member has died. When that happens the board is turned over in mourning for a day.
A lady once protested the game. Every time her husband turned up missing, she said, he could be found in Guinn's back room.
"Would you prefer looking for him in out-of-town bars?" Fred Guinn inquired, and has had no further wifely complaints.
SPORTING MATH BOOK
Miss Sharon Martin, a math major at St. Norbert College in West De Pere, Wis., near Green Bay, does practice-teaching on the side. She is also a Packer fan, as are her algebra pupils in the West De Pere school. It is only natural, therefore, that Miss Martin's algebra problems be stated like this:
"Two times Willie Wood plus Packer X equals Ron Kramer minus Bart Starr. Who is Packer X?"
It turns out to be Tom Moore (No. 25) because, as every kid in Miss Martin's class knows, Wood's number is 24, Kramer's is 88 and Starr's is 15.
"I thought I caught one of the fellows reading a magazine in class," Miss Martin said the other day, "but it turned out that it was a Packer roster." The boy was just studying his algebra.
BIG BAD BILL IS DEAD
With commendable good judgment, Nevada politicians have taken a second look at a bill that would have done boxing far more harm than good and would have handed a bonanza to crooked gamblers. The bill (SCORECARD, March 25) would have required the referee to declare a fight "no contest" in the event of a serious foul. A losing boxer could thereby easily save himself from defeat by fouling his opponent. Nevertheless the bill passed both Senate and Assembly and went to Governor Grant Sawyer for his signature. It had, in fact, been slipped into the legislative hopper by a senator who had not bothered to seek the advice of any of the Nevada boxing commissioners.
The Senate has now withdrawn it after learning that the commission, far from approving the bill, as had been represented, had not even heard of it and disapproved strongly when it learned of the provisions.
NO "LOVE" IN THIS GAME
Now that the Southeastern Conference permits women to compete in all varsity sports on an equal basis with men, things have begun to happen—some pleasant. some not so. On the pleasant side was the presence of two girls, Martha Leveritt and Pam Hayes, on the Tulane University swimming team. The girls didn't do so well in competition, but the boys were so inspired by their presence that they won their first team victory in three years.
By contrast there was the dreadful experience of Rick Wise of Spring Hill (Ala.) College. Alabama coed Roberta Alison defeated him in tennis 6-0, 6-0. "It's good for a man's humility," Rick said bravely, swallowing hard.
Some of us men took solace from the belief that this was an isolated incident. But now Carol Hanks, the nation's 12th-ranked female tennis player, has joined the Washington University (St. Louis) varsity, despite teammates' avowals that they would "rather win or lose without her." Illinois Coach Howie Braun has flatly refused to let his Illini play Washington U. if Miss Hanks takes the court. After all, "Illini"—a name as proud as the aboriginal Algonquians themselves—means, simply, "the men."
THEY SAID IT
•Jim Ewell, Houston Colt trainer, after veteran Catcher Hal Smith suffered two split fingers: "Usually it takes 10 days for an injury like that to heal. But with all the fine young catchers in this camp it shouldn't take Hal that long."
•Gabriel Korobkov, Russian track and field coach: "So an American walks 50 miles in one day—what of it? Tomorrow, he catches a taxicab again to go four blocks."
•Clay Stapleton, Iowa State football coach, maintaining that the construction of new visiting-team dressing rooms will aid his team's record: "The quarters used to be so bad that opponents got mad while they were dressing and then took their mad out on us."