HEADLINE OF THE WEEK
From the Baltimore Evening Sun:
CATONSVILLE NINE FACES LEGION
No, the Berrigan brothers and their seven contemporaries have not taken on the whole American Legion. It seems only, the story reveals, that the Catonsville A.C. will open its baseball season in an exhibition game against the Dewey Lowman American Legion team.
Even the Vietnam war is not as old as baseball.
MR. HAYWOOD, MEET MR. McQUAY
Last week the University of Tampa's record-breaking running back, Leon McQuay, signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian League. A college junior, McQuay forfeited a year's eligibility to take what Tampa officials call "quick money"—something like $30,000, it is rumored. McQuay could have gone high in the NFL draft next year; indeed, he may have been among the first two or three players selected.
Toronto Coach Leo Cahill maintains that McQuay has been on the Argonauts' negotiating list for a year and that any Canadian team will grab a collegian who wants to take money before his class graduates. McQuay's signing sets no precedent, although he is the best player to quit college for a Canadian club. Bo Scott, a Cleveland Browns running back, and Margene Atkins, a split end with the Dallas Cowboys, were both with the Ottawa Rough Riders before playing out their options and returning to the U.S. Vic Washington is trying to make the San Francisco 49ers after three years in Canada. All started professionally north of the border before their college terms ran out.
Bill Fulcher, the Tampa coach, plans to file a complaint with the CFL, but it would seem that he is whistling in the dark. It is Tampa's own U.S. courts that are, effectively, on the Canadian side. The decision in the Spencer Haywood basketball case supported the contention that no athlete is required to wait until his college eligibility is up before turning pro. Indeed, the McQuay affair suggests what was not apparent before, that the disposition of the Haywood case may have greater reach in football than in basketball. Instead of prepping for the NFL in college, many undergraduate stars may find it more rewarding to quit college—or skip it altogether if they are especially precocious—play for a nice salary in Canada until their option runs out, and then move on to the NFL. Predictable protests from the NFL and colleges about "the value of a college education," as stirring as they may sound, would seem to be so much breast-beating. Whereas the NFL used to be able to put a little informal pressure on the CFL to leave U.S. collegians alone, our courts have put an end to that. McQuay and Haywood could become the leaders in a mighty rush of very young and talented athletes to turn pro.
Beating the trading deadline, the San Francisco Zoo has dealt the Oakland Zoo one water buffalo in exchange for a sun bear and two cape hunting dogs.
And a minor-league aardvark to be named later?
Here's a tip. The hit of the summer TV season will be a six-part British drama series entitled The Six Wives of Henry VIII. It will begin on CBS in July, but recently the series was shown in Canada on the CBC and—here's the clue—Henry and his wives rivaled NHL ratings. When the show was preempted for hockey, the network was deluged with complaints. For hockey to suffer that sort of indignity in Canada must be rare indeed. And TV drama hasn't made news like that since Heidi busted up a good game.
Incidentally, TV pro football is as prosperous as ever despite the loss of cigarette advertising. The ABC Monday night games are already sold out, and commercial time sales for the pro schedules at both CBS and NBC are slightly ahead of last year's figures. The ABC college football schedule is also attracting advertisers in advance of the 1970 pace. Meanwhile, ABC has convinced the Sugar Bowl that it will draw a greater national audience by moving its kick-off time up to 11 o'clock on New Year's Day morning. Unfortunately, with the lackluster attractions the Sugar Bowl has been featuring lately, ABC could piggyback the game with Guy Lombardo and still have a hangover.
In perhaps the most tactless promotion in the history of sports, the Cleveland Indians observed Mother's Day by presenting several thousand moms with cans of Right Guard deodorant.
FACES IN THE SQUASH
The newest promotion for athletes is to reproduce their faces faithfully and in full color on children's plates. It used to be that when a kid wouldn't polish off his spinach, Mother would say, "Eat all your food. Remember all those starving children in China." What with all the Ping-Pong accounts of well-fed Chinese, however, this has been a tough bit for mommies to pull off lately. The athlete dinner plates have come along in the nick of time. Now Mom can say, "Eat all your food if you want to see Johnny Bench."
AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
We live in a world where it is possible to know, exactly, the mass of the planet Mars and the length of the San Andreas Fault. We know precisely how deep is the ocean, how high is the sky. Mankind is even guaranteed that Miss America is 36-23-36 and Mrs. Onassis wears size 10A shoes. Yet no man alive can say with assurance whether Lew Alcindor is 7'2" or 7'6", whether or not Bubba Smith weighs 295 and Warren McVea 185. These facts alone are beyond the comprehension of modern man.
Just a teensy-weensy favor: Could not the NFL and those betrothed—the NBA and the ABA—and for that matter, organized baseball and the NHL and all those others who stand before us selling tickets—provide us with certified correct information regarding the size of their players? It would be no imposition for commissioners' offices to require all pro athletes to be weighed and measured at the start (at least) of each season in the presence of a league official and members of a free press.
All in favor say aye. Opposed? The ayes have it.
NO PLACE TO HIDE
Apparently, there are no clean waters left anywhere in the world. Not long ago Swimming World magazine in California received a rather anxious letter from a coach in Mauritius, an island almost in the middle of the dreamy-blue Indian Ocean. The letter concluded: "Sorry for disturbing you once more, but...there are petrol and oil all over the sea, and I've wondered if training in such conditions will be harmful to our health. This is why we need expert advice."
EVERYONE'S OUT OF STEP BUT TECH
Rising costs coupled with changing student tastes have made the deemphasis of college athletics a national epidemic. For many years football—the most expensive sport—was just about the only casualty of budget cuts. Now nothing is safe. NYU canned basketball and track, and last week the University of Vermont eliminated baseball. In a search for more revenue at the University of Minnesota the board of regents has questioned the authority of the Big Ten to control the use of Minnesota facilities. To be blunt, the regents want the rent money they would get if the NFL Vikings were permitted use of the university's Memorial Stadium.
Contrary to all this is the single exception of Virginia Tech—or, specifically, Tech President T. Marshall Hahn Jr. Called "dynamic" by his admirers, "a hot dog" by others, Dr. Hahn, 45, believes that nothing attracts national attention to a college so much as a major sports program. He has set out precisely to implement this belief.
While Frank Moseley remains as athletic director at Tech, he is dismissed as a "bookkeeper" by those at the school. The real A.D. is President Hahn. He has fired one winning coach, Jerry Claiborne (61-39-2 in football), and helped ease out another, Howie Shannon (104-66 in basketball), and replaced them with his own choices. Don DeVoe, former Ohio State assistant, is the new basketball coach, and Charlie Coffey is the new football coach and heir apparent as athletic director. Coffey, formerly assistant at Arkansas, has hired one of the most high-powered staffs in college history, with assistants from Arkansas, Florida, Florida State and UCLA. He even got the former Arkansas trainer to come to Tech.
In addition Hahn hired Chuck Rohe, the Tennessee track coach and recruiter, at a whopping salary. He will back up Coffey as an administrator in the new high-pressure Tech setup. President Hahn has turned so much around in his shot at the big time that it should come as no surprise that he even sanctioned a change in the school colors.
REGISTER WOMEN, NOT GUNS
Last week Donald E. Rudgren, a professional hunter in Tanzania, said: "Women are much cooler about killing than men. In 12 years I've had lots of women on safari with their husbands. Even those without any hunting experience are usually calmer with game in their sights than their husbands are. No shaking, no twitching, nothing.
"I've seen it happen so many times. This little woman will come into camp and say, 'Who, me? Why, I could never kill one of those poor animals.' But put a gun in her hands and watch the change come over her. I had one woman on safari who had never fired a weapon of any kind before in her entire life. So we went out, and in all the time we were out she let go just 10 shots—and got eight animals.
"Think about some of the murders you've read about. Usually, you'll find that the coldest, goriest ones are committed by women."
The AAU has rushed to put down rumors that it will coerce U.S. athletes to compete in the Pan-American Games in Colombia in August. Since a great many of the best U.S. track and field performers and swimmers do not want to compete there, Colombia is in danger of having a second-rate U.S. team and hence a second-rate Games.
There are several reasons why the U.S. stars do not want to go to South America. First, the Games are sure to be ho-hum competitively, and the American performers would rather work against the top world competition in Europe. Second, the athletes prefer the independence they enjoy when traveling more on their own in Europe. Third, particularly for the swimmers, the Pan-Ams are scheduled at a bad time, since the U.S. Nationals follow one week after Colombia. (Or perhaps the Nationals are at a bad time.) Jim Counsilman, coach of the Indiana wonder team, explains why none of his record-breakers will be going: "Swimmers going to the Pan-Am Games will be gone 3½ weeks. They would miss that much training, and I think 90% of them wouldn't do well when they came back for the Nationals."
Flag-waving appeals will not improve the team either. "Get out of here," says one track ace. "You don't run for your country in these kind of things. You run for a bunch of old men on an organizing committee."
THEY SAID IT
•Rick Forzano, Navy football coach, after scouting Notre Dame's spring game: "They are so big they can double-team us with one man."
•Joe Axelson, Cincinnati Royals general manager, on NBA ABA competition: "I can't speak for any other team in the NBA, but we will not go after any ABA player. But if they get one of ours, we're going to get Mel Daniels [of Indiana]. I've got an open checkbook from Max Jacobs to get Daniels. We won't go after him on our own, but if somebody's going to gore our ox, we're going to gore theirs."
•Dick (Digger) Phelps, new Notre Dame basketball coach, on how he got that nickname: "My father is an undertaker, and I worked for him part-time. There were advantages to the job. For instance, while I was dating my wife I sent her flowers every day."