Publish date:



One day the case of Spencer Haywood, who was signed—some say prematurely—from college into professional basketball, will be resolved. In the meantime not many pragmatic solutions have been offered. It would seem to be a violation of free enterprise to deny a college player the privilege of going into the pro game before graduation, or whenever he likes. Why should an athlete with unique skills be prevented from selling them in the marketplace because of a self-serving and possibly illegal agreement between the colleges and the pro leagues? On the other hand, to permit unlimited signings of college athletes might come close to destroying college sports as we now know them (SI, March 29).

Now comes Ted O'Leary, a student of sport and jurisprudence, with a suggestion. O'Leary would set up a national commission consisting of representatives of the pro leagues, the NCAA and its member institutions and, most important, representatives of two groups largely overlooked by the sports bureaucracy—the athletes and their parents. Head the commission, O'Leary says, with someone beholden to neither the colleges nor the pros. If a college athlete believed he had a valid reason to sign with a pro team he could apply for permission to the commission. The latter would elicit all pertinent facts—such as whether the athlete or members of his family were truly suffering financial hardship, his chances for professional success in sport without additional college experience, whether the athlete had the innate intelligence to profit from a college education, and so on. The commission then would rule.

To contend that this would deprive the athlete of an education overlooks the fact that he could always go back to college in the off season and work for a degree, as some pro athletes now do. He would have his own money to pay for his education and he could concentrate on his studies far better than when forced to spend several hours a day going to football and basketball practice and attending squad meetings.

As it is, all too few college athletes graduate. The protestations of the college people about the pros robbing college athletes of their chance for an education would go down better if the college people gave more effort to seeing that their athletes got their degrees.


Professional hockey is approaching its particular educational problem with far more concern for the individual. Hockey players are traditionally inducted into the game even before their 'teens and soon have but little time for school. Many players in the National Hockey League lack high school diplomas. Now the NHL is taking a long step toward repairing the situation.

So that the players may complete or at least further their education without interfering with their hockey careers, the league has worked out special arrangements with the University of Ottawa, which will offer two six-week courses each summer. Players may complete high school, take a college preparatory course or take college courses which will earn credits toward a degree. There will be courses in public speaking and business management which will be noncredit but will be prerequisites for all other courses. Cost of tuition, room and board will be shared equally by the players and their teams.

Clarence Campbell, league president, called the move "the most significant thing we've done since the institution of the pension plan."

You scored a goal that time, Clarence.


There are sports called baseball, basketball and football. Then, too, there are sports called golf, Ping-Pong and tennis. All are played with balls.

A philologically oriented group in Memphis, reported on by Lydel Sims in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, is seeking to firm up the language in this area. They offer two alternatives. Either call the latter sports golf ball, Ping-Pong-ball and tennisball, or call the former games base, basket and foot.


Riding at Latonia, Ky., Jockey Vincent Clark had an interesting day.

On his way to the track he was stopped for speeding. He proceeded with great caution and was ticketed for driving too slowly on an interstate highway. At the track he had a 10-to-1 mount and rode him to a photo finish for first. The horse was judged to have come in second.


Superman has X-ray vision and it just might be that Ralph Tate, Oklahoma State track coach, has it too.

At a recent indoor meet Tate timed his mile relay anchor man, Stan Stolpe, in 53.7 seconds, some 7.4 seconds slower than Stolpe's best time for the quarter-mile. After the race Tate, disgusted, snapped at Stolpe, "Stan, you could run that fast with a broken leg."

In the locker room a trainer took a look at Stolpe's leg and decided he needed a better look. Later X rays showed that Stolpe had broken a small bone directly above the ankle.


Since 1962 Robert M. Carpenter Jr., owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, and his son Robert have been convicted of illegal duck shooting four times. They have just paid $500 fines after pleading no contest to exceeding the bag limit in Maryland in October 1969. With a limit of three apiece, they shot 10.

Noting their record, Judge James R. Miller Jr. observed that another offense would warrant a jail term. J. Frederick Motz, Assistant U.S. Attorney for Maryland, said the Carpenters' duck-hunting record is "an arrogance that is an insult to every law-abiding citizen."

Their record is particularly bad, Motz added, in view of the fact that they own the Phillies and nevertheless "have been continual violators of the rules of fair play in the sport of hunting."

Obviously, stiff fines mean nothing to the rich Carpenters. Obviously, too, their connection with sport has taught them little about sportsmanship.


Until this winter no trout larger than 30 pounds had ever been taken from the steelhead rivers of western Washington. Then, on New Year's Day, Albert English of Bellingham, fishing the Skagit River near Mount Vernon, beached a male steelhead weighing 30 lbs. 2 oz. That was only the beginning.

In February, Ted Burton of Idaho, fishing the lower Quinault River with an Indian guide, boated a steelhead weighing an even 32 pounds. Hardly was this record dry on the books than Harold Halverson of Sedro-Woolley, Wash., fishing off Whiskey Bar of the Skagit on March 3, gaffed a steelhead weighing 32 lbs. 8 oz. Six days later, on March 9, Clifford Aymes of Puyallup, Wash. took one weighing 32 lbs. 10 oz. from the Cowlitz River.

In the ordinary course of events winter-run steelhead of such magnificence are taken possibly once every five to 10 years—and never in Washington rivers. The world record is a 36-pounder taken in 1954 from British Columbia's Kispiox River.

How come this sudden upsurge in "over-30" steelheads? Fisheries biologists note that all the big ones are six-year fish on their first delayed spawning run and figure that their tardy sexual maturation may be due to last year's exceedingly low water at river mouths.

"They felt no freshets tumbling down the rivers and may have been discouraged from coming in," one surmised. "Add to that, extremely good survival conditions at sea for them, noticeable also in the runs of huge, oversized coho salmon last fall, and you have fish who have spent extra years at sea under prime growth conditions."


Before going into college basketball coaching, Dick Schultz, head coach at the University of Iowa, was a minor league baseball catcher. He once had a manager who was given to eccentric lineup changes.

The manager decided one night to put a rookie third baseman at first base, a position he had never played before. The inevitable happened. A left-handed batter drilled a grounder to the neophyte first baseman, who grabbed the ball and, instead of stepping on the base for the out, reflexively began a throw, quite as if he were playing third. But halfway through the throwing motion he realized where he was and fell into a series of contortions in an effort to keep from throwing the ball away. The runner was so startled by this that he stopped on the baseline. The first baseman finally fired the ball to home plate, where Catcher Schultz made a startled grab.

"I didn't want the ball," Schultz says, "so I threw it back to him."

Although the runner had stopped, the first baseman still did not think to step on first. Instead, he did what a third baseman would do. He cut him off and started a rundown play. The runner, by now as confused as anyone, fell into the act as the first baseman and Schultz began throwing the ball back and forth. Finally the runner made his break back to his last base, which happened to be home. Schultz tagged him and the umpire bellowed, "You're out!"

Schultz had only one question. He turned to the umpire and inquired innocently: "What would you have done if he had been safe?"


So far as at least three veteran basketball coaches are concerned, the college players of today are spoiled brats.

Resigning at the University of Louisville after a severe heart attack, and after winning 68 games and losing 22, John Dromo sighed that "college ball has lost a lot of its glamor.

"In 1953," he recalled glumly, "I recruited the whole National Invitation Tournament champions' starting lineup on a $690 budget. Now we have to spend that much on one kid. They want you to fly them in and entertain them. Why, we've got a lot of letters from kids who want to visit us on May 1. And you know why? That's Derby Week and they want us to pay their way to the Kentucky Derby."

Meanwhile, at Houston, Johnny Wooden of UCLA was saying that players are not as "coachable" these days.

"There's a rebellion against supervision of almost any sort," he said. "To accept discipline now is almost a badge of dishonor."

Crusty Adolph Rupp, president of the American Basketball Coaches Association and one of the game's strictest disciplinarians, agreed with Wooden that coaching isn't as much fun as it once was. And for the same reason. The players resent discipline. Well, as basketball fans will understand, prospective millionaires tend to be like that.



•Mayor Joe Young of Tilbury, Ontario, explaining why the town arena is always full, even though the Tilbury Bluebirds of the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League have lost 43 consecutive games: "Nobody wants to miss it in case we ever win one."