The National Collegiate Athletic Association, so appalled at the in-season signing of college football players by professional football teams, surely must be aware that this has been going on for years—and for good fiscal reasons. A player offered a big bonus and high salary knows that if he collects both in the same year he will pay a far higher income tax than if he takes the bonus one year and salary the next. As for the ethics of it all, what is there in college recruiting practices that would persuade a young man that in letting himself be recruited into the pros prematurely he is violating the spirit of the prevailing amateur code? Where was he first subjected to heavy recruiting pressure involving financial deals? In high school, that's where.
Now, high on the order of business at the NCAA convention in Chicago is an amendment to the rules governing financial arrangements with athletes—in a word, pay for playing football. If approved, the four-year free ride for "student-athletes" (the NCAA term) would be dead. "Financial aid for student-athletes shall not be awarded for more than one academic year and may be awarded for a lesser period," the Big Eight proposes. "After completion of the period for which financial aid has been awarded, another grant may be awarded by the scholarship committee...provided [he] meets the academic requirements of the conference and is a student in good standing in every respect...."
And provided he is good enough to make the football team—cut the mustard, as the coaches say—or he does not mash a knee in his first year or does not get so interested in studies that he sloughs off practice in favor of lab.
HEADS UP, AMERICA
The ever-increasing flow of Canadian-trained hockey players onto U.S. college rinks can be stemmed, says Ralph Weiland, Harvard's veteran hockey coach, by some simple rules changes.
"Since the advent of artificial rinks," Weiland says, "American boys have improved their skating ability tremendously. The rules now used, however, handicap their opportunity for improvement in stick handling, passing and maneuverability."
The big difference: Canadians play heads-up hockey because their rules—the same as the professionals'—permit body checking all over the ice. American rules allow body checking only in the defensive zone. This fosters what to a Canadian is an unforgivable sin—putting the head down to cradle a pass to the stick when in mid-ice or thereabouts. It is an invitation to a crunching body check in Canada, but it is more, too, according to Weiland. It hampers the development of instinctive stick handling.
"The American boy isn't learning to stick handle," he explains, "because there is no red line and checking is prohibited in the offensive zone. A good stick handler learns to control the puck by its feel on the stick. He doesn't have to look at it to know it's there."
Weiland favors installation of the red line, a rule allowing body checks all over the ice, and the pro-styled rule that permits a player to straddle the blue line without being called off side.
In other words, if you can't lick 'em, join 'em, and if you can't join 'em, at least change the rules so you can compete with 'em.
For the past nine years Lawry's, a Los Angeles restaurant that prides itself on its prime ribs of beef, has staged an all-you-can-eat dinner for each of the Rose Bowl teams a few nights before the contest. The owners say that in each of the eight years preceding this year's game, the team that ate the most beef went on to win.
A couple of weeks before the game, Oregon State's Beavers put away 230 pounds of prime ribs. Two nights later, without apparent effort, the Michigan Wolverines tucked in 250 pounds of beef—along with 90 pounds of potatoes, 25 pounds of salad and six cases of milk and soft drinks.
So roast beef is better than tea leaves, crystal balls and fortune cookies. Michigan won 34-7.
Maybe Africa's giant Watusi never will learn to play a 1-3-1 zone, but Joe Lapchick, soon to retire as basketball coach at St. John's University in New York, is thinking of spending part of his retirement trying to teach them. He has a daughter living in Uganda and has been invited by a friend, one Harry England, to teach the Watusi the game.
"The Watusi used to be the warrior tribe there," Lapchick explains. "A runt goes 6 feet 10. But the Bahutu kicked them out. They're wandering around now, and Harry figures it would be a good idea to use basketball to restore confidence, pride and that sort of thing.
"Can't you imagine those 7-footers playing a zone?" he cackles. "Think of all those arms up there. We wouldn't have to score. We'd win 'em all, 1-0. We'd destroy basketball."
Then Lapchick's boys went on to win the Eastern College Athletic Conference Holiday Festival title against Michigan, a team noted for its height.
SPECTER HAUNTING GOLF CLUBS
There is grumbling among golf pros who have returned to southern resorts from their summer jobs up North, and the grumbling forebodes establishment of a union with closed shop aspirations. The golf clubs, the pros contend, give them no job security and precious little in the way of pay. They receive minimal salaries and are expected to eke out what they can from the profits of the pro shop and from giving lessons. But then, when the shop becomes profitable, the club takes over its operation and if the pro does not like that arrangement, he can always quit. Or so says Ben Toski, who winters at the Rolling Hills Club, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
What the pros are thinking of is the appointment of a John L. Lewis of golfdom, one who will draft a uniform set of rules under which pros are to be hired. They would have the Professional Golfers' Association pass a rule whereby, if a member were to be fired by a club without due cause, no other PGA member would be permitted to take the job. The next step? Why, unionized caddies, of course. Golf carts are unfair, etc.
On New Year's Day at Katie Schoenberger's C Lazy U Ranch near Granby, Colo., a dude ranch in summer and a ski resort in winter, there were winter sports outside, and inside there were TV football, brandy milk punch, whiskey sours and a continuous buffet. A few days later Mrs. Schoenberger was preparing to close down the ranch for the winter, despite every indication of a prosperous season.
The reason is that Mrs. Schoenberger is carrying on the work that she and her late husband did for so many years—raising money for the U.S. ski team. In the past, most of the money was raised by sending out letters to ranch guests but now Mrs. Schoenberger wants to devote full time to the ski team. It is a gesture that, she estimates, will cost her $30,000 in gross income this winter, but it is also a cause that is dear to her heart. She will embark on a tour of large companies (to which she has been introduced by one or another of her guests) and hopes to raise at least $10,000 for the training funds of the FIS and Olympic teams.
"It may be a lot more," she says, "but I hope it will not be less. One or two large donations and the trip would be a success."
All good wishes, Katie Schoenberger.
The French take their food seriously, and there are no I-hate-to-cook books published in Paris. So the new French cookbook, Les Grandes Heures de la Cuisine Fran√ßaise, comes as a surprise; for though the title is solemn, the contents are rollicking. They include Alexandre Dumas' own punch—a suave mixture of rum, sugar, Souchong tea, lemon juice, orange juice and Indonesian arrack, served very hot—and tennis-racket chops. These last are the invention of Filippo Marinetti, the Italian poet who founded the futurist movement in 1909 with a resounding manifesto that demanded the destruction of the past—including museums—in order to free the rising generation of writers and artists.
Marinetti also issued a "manifesto of the futurist kitchen," in which he advocated the total reform of cooking. He assailed pasta as the curse of Italy, responsible for what he called the defects of the Italian character—heaviness, apathy, pessimism, sloth and procrastination. So instead of spaghetti, eat his tennis-racket chops. For each player, trim a veal chop into the shape of a racket's head. Cook slowly in butter. Make a paste by mixing curds with crushed walnuts and spread it thinly over the chop. String the rackets with tomato sauce laced with rum, and make a handle for each out of a banana cut lengthwise, with an anchovy wrapped round the end. The Marinetti tennis balls follow the futurist cooking principle of combining the most unlikely ingredients: cherries in brandy (no stalks, please) coated with a mixture of cottage cheese, egg and a scraping of nutmeg. Drop into very hot, deep fat for just a second and serve with a high bounce.
A dog-loving truck driver, Gary Gunkle lives in an area noted for its deep snows—the Sierra Nevada mountains. So he decided to put together a dog-sled team. With huskies hard to come by, he settled for 10 Irish setters, members of a breed not noted for its love of snow or pulling sleds. Last week the setters, and Gunkle, proved themselves.
Three young men and a woman, sightseeing on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, were trapped in a howling blizzard. Next morning a truck carried Gunkle and seven setters part way up the mountain. He unloaded, hitched up the dogs and started off through the storm.
"Visibility was zero," Deputy Tom Dolley reported, "and I swear some of the drifts were 30 feet deep."
Not even Gunkle can explain how he found the party's station wagon but at noon he came upon it, its occupants nearly frozen. He loaded them onto his sled and set out for a cabin miles away. A hundred yards from it the dogs gave out. The men floundered the rest of the way through the snow and Gunkle carried the woman. After lighting a fire he put the two most exhausted dogs into the sled and, with five pulling, trekked down to the lake shore looking for help. He encountered a power company's Sno-Cat, which carried the four to Incline Village where except for frostbite and hunger, they were found to be all right.
Back in the '20s a professional sled dog named Balto achieved immortality by carrying diphtheria serum to isolated Nome. The names of the amateur Irish setters are Duff, Barry, Sam, Mac, Spook, Riley and Copper.
NEW KENTUCKY HOME
It just may be that Churchill Downs, that grand old lumber pile at Louisville, is headed for a bit of architectural rearrangement. Bill May, chairman of Kentucky's racing commission, believes that a certain amount of sprucing up can be achieved without violating tradition.
"I have risked being tossed out in the hall in some of our discussions," May concedes. "But there'll be substantial changes in the buildings at Churchill Downs in the next two years.
"It's my view that Kentucky's breeding industry is standing still and that our whole program of horse racing, breeding and marketing needs review and more forceful approaches. It wasn't long ago that Kentucky horsemen sold 61% of the Thoroughbred yearlings marketed in this country. Last year we sold 24%.
"Churchill Downs is part of the whole situation, as well as the place where America's most interesting horse race occurs. To me, there is no reason why we cannot modernize and restore the old place without destroying the integrity or its link with the past."
Some designs are on paper, May says. None have been approved. But he has high hopes.
THEY SAID IT
•Fresco Thompson of the Los Angeles Dodgers: "When I broke into baseball each club had two scouts—one west of the Mississippi and the other east of the Mississippi. Now the Dodgers have a scout who works the west side of Wilshire Boulevard and another who works the east side."