JAKE VS. THE NFL
The mixup among the Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Colts, the NFL and Jake Gaither of Florida A&M (SCORE-CARD, Nov. 8 and 15) continues to bubble and boil. Briefly, the NFL scheduled a late-afternoon TV game between the Dolphins and the Colts in Miami on Saturday, Dec. II, overlooking Florida A&M's prior right to the Orange Bowl that evening for its annual Orange Blossom Classic. The NFL refused to meet Gaither's stiff price for shifting his game to an unattractive morning starting time—"We'd lose 15,000 fans at $5 apiece," Gaither said—and instead switched the Dolphins-Colts to Baltimore.
Now Miamians, rightfully excited about their division-leading Dolphins, are riled because the game in Baltimore apparently will not be shown on TV in Miami, since Federal Public Law 87-331 says a pro game cannot be televised within 75 miles of a site where a college game is being played on the same dale. Naturally Gaither has come under pressure to allow the pro game to be on TV anyway. The Miami Herald even had its Washington man check with the Justice Department, which indicated no effort would be made to prosecute if Gaither did not object to the telecast.
But Gaither, who is on the NCAA's television committee, questioned whether he had the right to waive the law, even if he was of a mind to, and the NCAA strongly supported his stand. Tom Hansen, its assistant executive director, said the conflict came about because the NFL chose to schedule the game on Saturday during the college football season. "The law protects high school and college football from encroachment by professional football," Hansen wired Gaither. "NFL knew law and date of your game and is to blame for scheduling Miami game in this manner, even though it now is trying to focus blame for television problem on others."
It all comes down to money, of course. It cost $83,562.82 to stage his game last year, Gaither said, and he needed every spectator he could get. "There's no way the telecast wouldn't hurt our game," he argued. "Who's going to sit and watch a pro game on TV that starts at 4 and ends around 7, eat supper and then come out and watch us?"
JUST PLAIN BILL
Not only are their card stunts bush (SCORECARD, Nov. 29), the Trojans of Southern California have fallen on hard times with names. USC's football history rings with the glorious sound of Orenthal James Simpson, Grenville A. Landsell Jr., Irvine (Cotton) Warburton, Ambrose Schindler, Aramis Dandoy, Landon Exley...the list seems endless. But now? The star fullback on USC's line freshman team this year is named Bill Fudge.
OVER TO YOU, RUSS
Bill Russell's debut as TV "color" man (a title whose irony tickles Russell's sense of humor) on the National Basketball Association's Game of the Week last Friday augurs well for tube gazing in the dreary winter afternoons ahead. Despite a tendency to mumble, which caused a few observations to be drowned in the crowd noise, the Russell wit was much in evidence, and his easy acceptance of the role of informed critic was refreshing. He took a number of players to task—though gently—for technical errors and mildly disparaged the eccentricities of Walt Bellamy, an old adversary. "Walter," Russell whispered delicately, "is inclined to be inconsistent." When Dorie Murrey threw up an off-balance, poor-percentage hook shot and it went in, Russell observed, "My, my, strange things do happen."
In a more abrasive tone, he probably raised a few West Coast hackles, notably Jack Kent Cooke's and Wilt Chamberlain's, when asked to account for the line start by the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Yes, he conceded, they were doing all right "now that they've got two old Celtics [Coaches Bill Sharman and K.C. Jones] to straighten them out." Welcome back to basketball, William.
ANATOMY OF A WHISTLE-BLOWER
Scholars from Ithaca College and Cornell University recently completed a study of the background, personality and physical trails of basketball officials, both college and professional. The study, which took about a year to do, was an effort to determine the attributes that make a man a good or a poor official. Men rated from best to worst by coaches and fellow officials were included in the study. The final report, 29 pages long, is complex, but from it some generalizations can be extracted:
The taller the man, the better the official.
The larger the waist measurement, the poorer the official.
The higher the birth order—i.e., first born or the closer to it—the better the official.
The more sisters he has, the poorer the official.
But the more feminine traits he has, the better the official. Feminine personalities tend to be appreciative, patient, helpful, gentle, moderate and persevering—as compared to outgoing, hard-headed, ambitious, active, robust and restless masculine personalities.
Yet all officials are dominant. They are forceful, capable of influencing others.
They score high on self-acceptance. They are sure of themselves.
They like status.
They are conformist. The more conformist, the better the official.
Officials tend to be inflexible, deliberate, guarded, rigid, industrious; they are formal and pedantic in thought.
The higher the official is rated, the poorer his intellectual efficiency.
Top-rated officials are remarkably similar in personality.
Coaches are poor judges of officials; other officials are the best judges.
Finally, basketball is the toughest sport to officiate.
When you check out bowl scores, don't miss the one in Athens, Ga., where the Athens City Police Department meets a team composed of officers from the Clarke County Police, the Athens post of the state patrol and state treasury agents. The charity game is known formally as the Peace Officers' Bowl, but just about everyone in the college town—site of the University of Georgia—calls it the Pig Bowl, including the police themselves. Interest is so high that WNGC-FM, which will broadcast the game, sold all its available advertising time in 45 minutes. Last year the county police upset their city counterparts, even without using Georgia Quarterback Paul Gilbert, a local boy whom the county cops said they were going to swear in as deputy sheriff and starting quarterback. This year the confident county team joked that local bookies were giving the city and 20 points.
"The game is good public relations for the department," says County Sheriff Tommy Huff, "and it gets the men in good physical shape. This game is for real—there's no damn touch involved." Tom McGahee, the Athens police chief, adds, "The boys really put their hearts in it. Injuries are a problem, though. Some of the fellas have a little age on them, you know."
Local citizens generally look approvingly on the game as an engaging way to humanize the police, but a nagging worry persists. If all the fuzz is out playing football Saturday night, who's minding the jail?
A press release from the Miami Beach News Bureau on a boat race scheduled for next week said: "Powerboat champions of the world will meet head-on here to determine once and for all who is the best."
It is soccer in New York State between Brighton High and Gates-Chili High to decide which school goes to the finals of the sectional championship. Corner kicks to break a tie are ruled out. The game is played Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 and Nov. 5. Dates are correct. On Nov. 2 neither team scored in either of the 30-minute halves of regular play and neither scored in four five-minute overtime periods. Next day Gates-Chili picked up a goal in the first half but Brighton tied it 1-1 in the second half. Neither could score in the four overtimes. On the third day they rested. On the fourth day Gates-Chili again scored in the first half but in the second half Brighton finally broke things apart with three goals and held on to win 3-2. Six full halves and eight overtime periods—the teams, one might say, were evenly matched, some consolation to Gates-Chili since Brighton went on to win the championship.
NO POWDER PUFFS
The Pittsburgh Steelers may or may not be on the rise, but the Pittsburgh Powder Kegs are the team you should keep your eye on in western Pennsylvania. The Powder Kegs are girls. There are 19 of them and they earn $20 a game (they won one and lost two this year, all against another girls' team called the Detroit Fillies). They wear red and white uniforms, practice four days a week, employ a basic T offense and a 5-4 defense, block, tackle, are coached by a former NFL player named Charley Scales and have moves you wouldn't believe.
Many of the girls play both defense and offense. The biggest member of the squad is an end named Melena Bark-man; Melena, a nurse, goes 180 pounds and stands 5'11". More typical is Guard Pat Jenkins, 5'4" and 140, a wife and mother who used to be an exotic dancer (she had an eight-foot boa constrictor in her act) before she took up trap blocks. Linda Hodge, 5'6" and 120, is the quarterback. Linda, an assistant programmer at Westinghouse, says, "Football is extra money for me now, but if they formed a girls' league I'd quit my job and concentrate on football."
The Powder Kegs are run by a man named Don Dillman, whose interest in girls' football was fired by Promoter Leo Martin, who is trying to create a league. Dillman says, "Passing and kicking are the weakest part of the game for the girls. But they really hit—pow!—and tackle. You wouldn't know they were girls, they hit so hard."
Head Coach Swanee Bucknell is not one for expounding to the press. When Utah radio station KALL asks him, "What's new?" in a live telephone interview, he always says, "Nothing" and hangs up. Still, now that the Ophir State Oalfs—that's the way you spell it—have won their first football game in 13 years, the move is on to make Bucknell Coach of the Year.
But never mind that. What counts with Utah football fans, and KALL's imaginary coach and team, is that Ophir State has solved the artificial-turf problem, particularly for schools with small budgets. The Oalfs covered their field with carpet remnants, cleverly sewn together. The fitted carpet provides an extra bonus. By following the seams, KALL reports, Ophir State players have mastered zone defensing and can finesse opponents with intricate pass patterns. Who needs grass?
THEY SAID IT
•Mike Lucci, Detroit Lion linebacker, on his three key interceptions against the Chicago Bears: "Yeah, they gave me the game ball. If they hadn't given it to me, I would have taken it, anyway."
•Al Dorow, former Michigan State star now coaching the Hamilton Tiger-Cats: "Holding penalties—you could call one on every play, but the officials don't. And they never call back-to-back holding penalties against the same team. That's why, when your team is called for holding, everyone holds again on the next play—because it won't be called. Hell, we teach that on the sandlots down South."
•Dennis Awtrey of the Philadelphia 76ers on his team's red, white and blue uniforms, which include stars and stripes: "When we play a bad game, it's like desecrating the flag."
•Vern Gale, Wayne State coach, after his team, which had a first down on its opponents' 17, picked up three penalties and an 11-yard loss to end up back on its own 27, fourth down and 66 yards to go: "Maybe it's not a record, but it certainly is disturbing."