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Alaska Governor Walter Hickel last week fired a member of his cabinet, Highway Commissioner Warren Gonnason, for giving false information on his application for a fishing license. A routine check by the state's fish and game department revealed that Gonnason had stated that he had lived in Alaska for 18 months and therefore qualified for a resident license, which costs $5 per year. Nonresidents must pay $10. But Gonnason had been in the state only five months when he applied for the permit.

The fish and game department informed the governor of the discrepancy, and the next day Hickel fired the commissioner from his $23,800-a-year job.

The punishment may sound like an extreme case of overkill, but Governor Hickel is to be applauded. Government officials who regularly make a mockery of conservation and game laws in many states should note the fate of Commissioner Gonnason. In Alaska, at least, honesty is the best policy.

When Wayne Fehlberg, a member of Brigham Young's wrestling team, weighed in at 124¾ pounds for the 123-pound class in a meet with Utah last week, he was sent to the hotbox to sweat off some fat. But, as the hour of the match approached, Fehlberg still was eight ounces too heavy. He shaved his skull, qualified for the match and won by a hair.


Jeffrey Sokol, the recently elected head yell leader at the University of California who ran on a peace ticket, is considering resigning after two games. When he appeared before basketball crowds in dirty jeans and long hair and led such antitraditional yells as "Bomb the Bruins with napalm," the student rooting section objected—strenuously.

Sokol won the election by appealing to the more politically oriented Berkeley students, but he soon learned that his backers weren't the type who attend athletic events. Petitions began circulating on the Berkeley campus demanding his resignation. Julie Ann Smith, a junior, wrote in The Daily Californian: "I was repulsed by Mr. Sokol's crew, which, in comparison to the UCLA cheerleaders, resembled a cross between a group of rail tramps and a long-defunct vaudeville troupe.... The total disorganization of the group only added to my rage." However, the newspaper supported Sokol editorially saying, "If the world is ever going to have lasting peace, nations may have to learn to confine their aggressions to the basketball court. Let the combination of peace and sports begin here and now."


Now that the pro football draft is over, the ratings given top players by the Optimum Systems computer that scouts the field for the Dallas Cowboys (SI, Jan. 29) can be disclosed.

The machine ranked the 10 best as follows:

1) Fred Carr (Texas-El Paso), drafted by Green Bay

2) Maurice Moorman (Texas A&M), Kansas City

3) Russ Washington (Missouri), San Diego

4) Haven Moses (San Diego State), Buffalo

5) Bob Wallace (Texas-El Paso), Chicago

6) Kevin Hardy (Notre Dame), New Orleans

7) Ron Yary (USC), Minnesota

8) Claude Humphrey (Tennessee A&I), Atlanta

9) Dennis Homan (Alabama), Dallas

10) Earl McCullouch (USC), Detroit

The only one of these players not drafted in the first round was Bob Wallace, who was picked up by the Bears in the second.

The computer ranked UCLA Quarterback and Heisman Trophy Winner Gary Beban 14th in the current crop. His size (6') and style (he is a roll-out quarterback instead of the drop-back type the pros prefer) were factors in what seemed to be a low ranking.

But the pro teams held Beban in even lower esteem than the computer. Twenty-nine other players were chosen ahead of him—which made Beban the least desired Heisman winner in years. Interestingly, athletes receiving the Heisman award have not, of late, distinguished themselves as pros. Since 1960. only one, Mike Garrett, has been a pro success.


America's comic strip characters have been training hard for the Olympics. Two months ago Snoopy got off his doghouse long enough to give figure skating a whirl and last week he was playing ice hockey. Now Steve Canyon's Poteet, who normally wouldn't give a double-ugh for such esoteric things, has developed a sudden sporting interest—Jay Newtown, a High City bank clerk who is training for the pentathlon at Mexico City. The pentathlon, Poteet finds in a book, was conceived "as a way of making friends among the armed forces of the world...."

But poor Jay Newtown. When he tries to practice his swimming, Poteet falls into the pool. When he attempts to improve his horsemanship, another girl, Bitsy Beekman, buzzes the training track in an airplane, and the horse bolts over a cliff. (Jay is saved when Bitsy throws him a line from the cockpit.) And finally, while attempting to break up a fight between the two girls, he is hit by Bitsy's pocketbook, falls down a flight of stairs and breaks a leg. With that, the Olympics vanish from Steve Canyon. No gold medal there.


Britain's professional golfers were ordered last week to use the larger U.S. ball for three years. "There are many reasons for the Americans' world supremacy," Geoffrey Cotton, chairman of the British PGA said, "but the size of the ball is fundamental."

The larger golf ball is harder to play—its additional surface is more susceptible to spin, which emphasizes a golfer's mistakes. So, although the immediate result of adopting the American ball may be depressing, it is hoped that the courageous change will force British pros to develop sounder swings. Max Faulkner, the last Englishman to win the British Open (in 1951) says, "They should have changed the rule before. Poor players can hit the small ball adequately, but the big ball has to be hit from directly behind. Very few professional golfers in this country have mastered this."

Another advantage of the American golf ball is, presumably, that it makes a more encouraging target for beginners. Perhaps the British pros should look at it that way.


For more than a year now researchers at the National Center for Prevention and Control of Alcoholism in Washington have been trying to turn monkeys into alcoholics. They reward the animals with extra food when they taste bourbon and punish them with electric shocks when they drink water, but the monkeys take the punishment and their water straight. A few "executive" monkeys—ones forced to make decisions under stress—have been observed downing bourbon, but when the stress is removed, they go back to water.

What about that, Darwin?


Though Rick Barry denied last week that he had been talking seriously to Frank Mieuli about going back to work for the San Francisco Warriors, the report was true. They met for three hours in Nate Thurmond's apartment.

The Warriors could use Barry. Thurmond will be out for the rest of the season and, without a star, attendance is off. Barry would boost both the box office and the team, which now languishes 6½ games behind St. Louis.

The Oakland Oaks, who have contracted for Barry's services but cannot use him until next season, are hurting even more than San Francisco. The team has a 19-30 record, crowds seldom number more than 1,000 in paid attendance and the owners face a $4.5 million law suit filed by the Warriors over Barry. An Oakland newspaper reported recently that the Oaks have already lost $750,000 this year.

Pat Boone, one of the team's owners, has said, "It is O.K. with me if Rick wants to play with the Warriors." This would seem logical. Mieuli would then pay Barry's salary, and his return to the Warriors would put Barry on center stage again. The risk, it would seem, is all Mieuli's, and he may also be gambling that the Oaks will move to Los Angeles, as has been rumored often, or that the ABA will fold.

Last week the USLTA passed a resolution warning the International Lawn Tennis Federation that if it does not change its attitude toward open tennis, the U.S. might withdraw from the federation. American amateurs will be allowed to play in the open Wimbledon, and several American tournaments, maybe even Forest Hills, will be open this year. For the crusty old USLTA, it was quite a decision.


Dr. Ellis Stungo, a London psychiatrist who has made a study of women drivers, suggests that their basic problem is insecurity. "Centuries of having to delegate responsibility and authority to men has made women tentative, and hesitancy in a crisis on the road can cause accidents," Dr. Stungo says.

He believes that coeducation is making the highways safer. "There is a new generation of confident young girls emerging from these schools," he says. "They feel the equal of the boys, and the boys are more willing to treat them as such. This should have a beneficial effect on the performance of both men and women motorists, by making the women less hesitant and the men less aggressive."

He advises older women drivers to take up golf, because the game develops judgment of speed and distance, which is helpful in handling an automobile. But, Doctor, just suppose they learn to drive straight down the middle?


The Russian track team arrived last week in Seattle for the first in a series of appearances here. When the Russians pulled out of a dual meet with the U.S. in Los Angeles two years ago, they gave as their reason the American involvement in Vietnam. Why, then, a reporter asked Peter Stepanenko, the chairman of the Soviet track federation, have you lifted your boycott at a time when the Vietnam situation is, if anything, worse? Stepanenko replied: "That is a very good question. We know this is still a dirty war, but we have begun to see it in terms of a tragedy for American families and mothers, and the Vietnamese, as well. After all, we are no strangers to tragedy. There isn't a family in the Soviet Union that hasn't lost somebody in a war."

It was a subtle answer, saying, in effect, "Look at what your bad government is doing; we are in sympathy with you."


©1968, Publishers-Hall Syndicate


•Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders, after the team drafted Eldridge Dickey, the Tennessee A&I player who hopes to become the first Negro quarterback in either pro league: "I don't care if he's polka-dot."

•Glenn Greenberg, Yale lineman and son of Hank Greenberg, when asked by the Cleveland Browns what business he intended to follow: "In football, either in public relations or as an owner."

•Cora Alcindor, on her son Lew: "You know UCLA is made to order for him. It's such a big school, and Lew just seems to belong there. A boy as big as Lew certainly ought to be going to a school as big as that one is."

•Alex Agase, Northwestern football coach, on Duffy Daugherty: "Duffy is a great recruiter. Every year he recruits two 270-pounders who can't run or block or tackle. They can't do anything so they sit on either side of Duffy on the bench. Then, if Michigan State loses, they pick Duffy up on their shoulders and carry him across the field. The alumni see this and say to each other, 'That Daugherty can't coach a lick, but his boys sure love him.' "