EDGE OF DISASTER
The scandal in Illinois involving Otto Kerner, now a federal judge, who reportedly made eye-opening profits from racetrack stock when he was governor of that state, serves as a reminder that racing, for all its vaunted self-regulation, is always on the edge of disaster. It is not only the rare fixed race (Illinois is looking into something along that line, too, and New York is concerned about hints that some of its jockeys have on occasion been riding in concert); it is the chicanery that so often occurs behind the scenes. There was the recent mess in New York, where a prominent owner and two leading trainers were caught in flagrant violation of rules against undercover ownership of horses and against associating with undesirables. There are repeated rumors about certain veterinary practices. There is criticism of racing's antiquated rules structure—administrators are afraid to move vigorously against offenders because of the threat of legal reprisal. There is concern because the capital vital to racing's continued health is coming less and less from the old established names and more and more from operators whose normal habitat, at the very least, is on the edge of the underworld.
Racing tends to counterpunch, waiting for things to happen before reacting. This may be because the sport is so often subject to the vagaries of politicians, but that's not a sufficient excuse. Racing would be wise to cleanse and invigorate itself right now.
BIG RED CHAUVINISTS
There are those who feel that Ed Marinaro of Cornell was jobbed when Pat Sullivan of Auburn won the Heisman Trophy. Of this persuasion are three men in San Francisco—Robert Freeman, Peter Lee and Dick Bradley—who run a restaurant called Victoria Station. When Marinaro appears in San Francisco at the end of the month for the East-West game, the trio will give him a trophy of his own as outstanding college player of the year. They call it the Wiseman Trophy (there were these three wise—yes, you've got it), and they plan to make an annual thing of it. They say they are going to second-guess the Heisman every year.
Maybe they will. But it is only fair to point out that this year there seems to be a small point of special interest involved. When Freeman, Lee and Bradley announced that Marinaro of Cornell had won the Wiseman by a unanimous 3-0 vote, they let slip that by odd coincidence all three voters happened to be graduates of—well—Cornell.
One of the few sports in which Eastern colleges have regularly earned national recognition and respect is ice hockey. That superiority is now threatened by a schism over the use of freshmen on varsity teams. Earlier this year, hockey-playing colleges in the Eastern College Athletic Conference came out against freshmen, but in September a general meeting of the ECAC voted in favor of their use. After that, despite their earlier vote, some of the hockey schools decided to go ahead and use freshmen anyway. The hockey-happy Ivy League remained strongly opposed to the idea.
As a result, Dartmouth has already canceled games with Northeastern, Army, Colgate and New Hampshire, all of which are going to use freshmen, and Harvard says it will follow Dartmouth's lead next year. Ivy powers like Cornell and Harvard will no longer be able to play schools like Boston University, currently the NCAA hockey champion, since B.U. probably will use freshmen, too, next season.
This means an inevitable decline in the quality of the sport in the East. For example, about the nearest college hockey comes to a bowl game is the annual Beanpot Tournament at Boston Garden, which regularly sells out for the round robin battle among Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern and Harvard. Without Harvard, the Beanpot is just a pot—no more glamour. Without such high level competition, Eastern hockey is bound to suffer. What does it profit hockey to gain a freshman if it loses its bowl?
ONCE MORE, DEAR FRIENDS
Man, you can't keep those chickens down. They win one when a rooster rips up an eagle (SCORECARD, NOV. 15), they lose one when that battle turns out to be hokey (SCORECARD, NOV. 22). But they hang in there, and now comes a story from Farm Journal about a 16-year-old California boy named Grant Sullens who has climaxed a cross-breeding experiment by producing a giant chicken "that's as mean as a hornet in your hip pocket." A prize 23-pound rooster has ripped bits of metal out of his feed bucket, bitten off the tip of a visitor's ringer and shattered an intruding TV camera lens. Young Sullens says, admiringly, "I've kicked this rooster, hit him with a bucket, slugged him when he got me down. But I haven't hurt him one bit." The females are just as tough. Three cats were killed when they innocently walked into the hen coop.
Now, where's that eagle?
WHAT'S UP, DOC?
There must be moments when Denver hopes it's all a horrible dream. The joy felt when the city was awarded the 1976 Winter Games has changed to a kind of desperate insistence that things will be O.K., things will work out. When the International Olympic Committee gave the Games to Denver, it was on the assumption that all events would be staged within 45 minutes of the city, where the Olympic Village would be located. Overlooked was the meteorological fact that snow is so sparse on the nearby eastern slopes of the Rockies that people sometimes pick wild flowers there in February. Environmentalists protested that the proposed venues, with their big crowds and heavily traveled roads, would destroy Colorado's natural beauty. The prospect of having to settle for artificial snow and running Nordic ski races through school yards and houses was not a happy one.
"Obviously, we did not have the money to do a full-scale site planning while we were bidding for the Games," says Ted Farwell, technical director of the Denver Olympic Committee, which is known locally as the DOC. The DOC has now reevaluated things and will recommend to the IOC that the downhill and cross-country events be shifted to the western side of the mountains. This makes sense, because there is plenty of snow out there and a number of established ski areas, but it negates the basic reason why Denver was given the Games in the first place: its accessibility to the action. One site being considered for cross-country skiing is in Steamboat Springs, 150 miles of road and two mountain passes from Denver. There might have to be as many as three widely separated Olympic villages, linked together by helicopters and small planes. The remoteness of the venues would certainly cut down crowds. "To a certain extent, the spectators may have to be sacrificed," says Farwell. "They may have to rely on closed-circuit TV."
Things will work out eventually—they always do—but meantime, anti-Olympic forces in Denver are taking a perverse delight in the city's difficulties. Vance Dittman, head of Protect Our Mountain Environment, says, "We're glad to see the DOC moving the Games. We hope they keep right on moving them until they end up in Switzerland."
Athletes who take drugs justify the use of greenies, lidpoppers, jelly babies, bombidos or L.A. turnabouts to get themselves up for maximum effort, and zonks, goofballs, red devils, blue angels and barbs to bring them back down from a high shelf of excitement or anticipation. The obvious danger is that an athlete will get into erratic dosages with unpredictable results. But now Dr. Donald L. Cooper, Oklahoma State's team physician, has told a conference on medical aspects of sport that studies indicate drugs apparently give the competing athlete little or no help in improving his performance.
In fact, said Cooper, "There may well be a greater correlation between drug use and losing." One instance cited was a bicycle race in Canada (cyclists have a long-standing reputation for drug use). Tests showed that none of the first six finishers and only one of the first 10 had used drugs. But those who finished seventh, 11th, 14th, 18th, 20th and 32nd had. The studies seem to show, Cooper declared, that "far more losers use drugs than winners."
A ninth-grade English class at Princeton Junior High in Cincinnati is occasionally given quizzes by teacher Noel Johnston to test the youngsters' awareness of the world around them. One of the questions in a recent quiz asked what the letters UCLA stood for. To Mr. Johnston's amazement—he marks a lot of papers, you know—37 of 40 students correctly answered, "University of California at Los Angeles." One thought the letters meant University of Cincinnati, conveniently ignoring the LA, and another scrambler came up with United Citizens Law Association. But the 40th answer was the one the teacher found most apt. It said, simply, "Basketball."
Speaking of UCLA, you may have noticed that the Bruins walloped The Citadel 105-49 in Los Angeles a week or so ago. You may also have wondered how this odd mismatch—The Citadel is a small military college in South Carolina with no basketball reputation to speak of—came to be.
In the summer of 1970 Citadel Coach Dick Campbell ran into UCLA's John Wooden at a coaching clinic. "We'd love to come out to the coast to play you, coach," said Campbell to Wooden, and Wooden courteously replied, "We might work something out." Campbell was serious about trying to get a game some distance from home that he could utilize as a recruiting gambit, but he really didn't think anything would come of the conversation. However, a few weeks later a letter arrived, offering Citadel the opening game on UCLA's 1971-72 schedule. Obviously, with a sophomore-dominated lineup, Wooden figured he could use an easy opponent at the beginning of the season. Gleefully, Campbell booked the game.
Then, inevitably, Campbell got a better offer and went off to coach at Xavier of Cincinnati. The new Citadel coach, George Hill, came from the quiet confines of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It was not until Hill had signed his contract that a Citadel official finally got around to telling him, "Oh, by the way, you're playing UCLA on Dec. 3." Hill looked up and, after a moment, said, "Why?"
HIGHER PRICED SPREADS
Here are point spreads on various bowl games from the betting book at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe:
THEY SAID IT
•Gary Hulst, Montana State basketball coach, after his team was walloped 89-57 by Missouri, which had three players weighing more than 200 pounds: "No wonder Missouri was 1-10 in football. They've got their three best linemen playing basketball."
•O. J. Simpson, on the frustration of being a Buffalo Bill: "It hurts me watching Bulaich and Csonka on TV getting a lot of yardage. I feel I'm a better runner. Sometimes I wish I was in their situation. You can't run where there's no place to go."
•Calvin Griffith, owner of the Minnesota Twins, on the prospect of moving his team, which declined sharply at the gate, back to Washington now that the Senators have left town: "The only way they'd get me back to Washington is to subpoena me."
S. Jose St.