THE REBELLION CONTINUES
The controversial Tunney sports bill, which provides for a degree of federal supervision of amateur sport (SCORECARD, Oct. 8), has been watered down a bit as it moves toward its moment of decision in the Senate. Part of the vitiating process is another bill proposed to the House of Representatives by Congressman Bob Mathias, the Olympic decathlon champion in 1948 and 1952, which avoids federal control and deals only with the Olympics.
The much criticized U.S. Olympic Committee is adamantly against the Tunney bill but supports the Mathias one. Athletes generally favor Tunney and reject Mathias, much to the distress of Philip O. Krumm, president of the USOC. When Krumm became president of the Olympic Committee after the 1972 Games at Munich, one of his first moves was to name seven athletes to the USOC board of directors, a gesture of conciliation toward the outspokenly discontented competitors. The seven in turn created an advisory council of representatives from 33 Olympic sports. This council met for the first time earlier this month in Chicago, where its prime topic was the Tunney sports bill. Krumm and USOC executive director Don Miller spoke to the group to explain their opposition to it.
"You're not getting anything from it," Krumm said. "I can't find any merit in any part of the bill. It's the worst thing that can happen to this country, to everyone in this room. I for one am going to do everything I can to keep rotten politics out of sport."
Willie Davenport, 1968 Olympic hurdle champion, asked, "Why is a federal board, appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and containing at least one athlete, rotten politics? Can't we trust anyone but you? Sure it's a bureaucracy. But we've got a bureaucracy now, and one that's not doing its job."
After Krumm and Miller left, the athletes voted on a resolution in support of the Tunney bill. When Krumm phoned later to find how the vote had gone, he was told the resolution had passed by a 25-4 vote. "Oh my God," he said.
As indicated a couple of months ago (SCORECARD, Sept. 24), Australia has turned to the past in its effort to regain the Davis Cup. For this weekend's semifinal matches against Czechoslovakia in Melbourne, the Aussies named Ken Rosewall, 39, Mal Anderson, 38, Rod Laver, 35, and John Newcombe, 29. Rosewall returns to Davis Cup competition after an absence of 17 years. Laver last played for the cup 11 years ago.
The senescent quality of the Aussie cuppers strengthens the feeling that tennis Down Under is going under. Only a few outstanding young prospects are on the horizon, and none of them was good enough to be picked ahead of the elderly stars. But if Australia's future is bleak, its immediate present is bright. American tennis expert Bud Collins said, "It might be the oldest Davis Cup team in history, but it is also probably the best."
A SLICE OF THE PIE
Next week's rich sequence of college football games, climaxed Saturday afternoon by Ohio State-Michigan and USC-UCLA, has been well ballyhooed by television and will please most football fans. The only sounds of protest are faint cries from places such as Xavier University in Cincinnati, which has never appeared on an NCAA televised game. It is not that Xavier feels it should be on TV instead of, say, Ohio State. Not at all. What bothers Xavier is simply that these rich NCAA football shows on television are in direct competition with its own modest gate. To be specific, Xavier had a home game scheduled with Toledo University for Saturday, Nov. 24. Because it was obvious that Xavier-Toledo was not going to entice many folks from the tube, the game was shifted to Friday afternoon, a day earlier. A game played at 2 p.m. on a Friday is not going to attract many people either, especially since Nebraska-Oklahoma is on TV that afternoon, but at least those who do come, including the players and coaches, will be able to watch the big games on Saturday.
The irony does not amuse Xavier Athletic Director Jim McCafferty, who says he has no criticism of the NCAA's efforts to put its best games on television. What he does question is the inequity. The big football schools not only gain large chunks of TV money, their televised efforts directly and adversely affect the already meager income of schools such as Xavier, whose football program is struggling for survival. McCafferty says, "I think the NCAA should put part of its TV revenue into a fund for schools that never appear on its televised games."
LIKE MOUNT EVEREST
News in the American Basketball Association continues to be made by bad-tempered coaches. A few days after Bill van Breda Kolff's four-technical night (SCORECARD, NOV. 12), Bobby Leonard of the Indiana Pacers came close to that performance with three technicals. But despite his numerical inferiority, Leonard topped van Breda Kolff's show of temperament by throwing the Pacers' ball rack at the referee. This set a new high, or low, in childish behavior for Leonard, whose previous extreme had been a petulant scattering of books and papers from the scorers' table during an earlier game.
Leonard was fined $1,000, the largest fine ever levied by the ABA, and was suspended long enough to miss a Pacer game against Utah. The only grace note in all this was the coach's answer when he was asked why in the world he had thrown the ball rack. "Well, it was right there," he explained.
After O.J. Simpson carried the ball 39 times in one game a couple of Mondays ago to break Harry Newman's ancient National Football League record for most carries in one game, the Detroit News revealed something else about Newman that Simpson would dearly love to match. That was Harry's contract. Newman was a big gate attraction and a shrewd bargainer. The former Michigan star signed with the New York Giants for $11,000, a pretty good sum in those days, and 10% of the Giants' gate receipts; in his second season his share was raised to 20%. In Newman's day professional football crowds rarely went much beyond 30,000, and tickets cost only a dollar or two. The night Simpson broke Newman's ball-carrying record he did it before 76,000 spectators who had paid from $5.50 to $12 for their seats. Let's see, O.J.—20% of 76,000 times an average of let's say $8 a seat times seven home games a year....
SHAGGY SWIMMER STORY
The Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has a dog as its official mascot. The breed? Spitz. The dog's name?
AND THEY'RE LUCKY, TOO
Striking a blow for the amateur golfer, an eight-handicap player from San Francisco named Hal Gevertz says he is not too impressed by most of the sub-70 rounds turned in by touring professionals. "By PGA tournament recommendations," says Gevertz, "fairways are mowed every day to a uniform height. Professional golfers detest fluffy lies; the average amateur gets fluffy lies every round. The greens are cut and rolled to a height of three-sixteenths of an inch, usually every morning and sometimes every night, too. There is no inconsistency in the height of the grass on the greens when the pros play, no unfixed ball marks, no loose impediments, no newly applied top dressing. Usually, there are catcher's mitt greens that hold the shots, and to give the pros additional comfort the galleries that gather around the greens form a target, as well as a backstop for stray shots.
"Tournament roughs are cut to four or five inches in height, and crowds of spectators tramp down the rough adjacent to the fairways, thus giving the pros more areas for good lies. Amateurs often lose golf balls in the rough, but professionals don't."
Gevertz concludes, "I think we amateurs should be awarded about five strokes per round."
A-HUNTING WE WILL GO
Three quick hunting stories. First, a Minnesota man named Arthur Holz shot a big buck and lashed it to his snowmobile for safekeeping. When he came back an hour later, the snowmobile was missing. Holz followed the trail and found a bear dragging away deer and snowmobile together. He yelled, and the bear dropped his prize and ran off. When the bear, hungry for either deer or snowmobile, came back later, another member of Holz' hunting party shot it.
Second, on a country road near Battle Ground, Wash., Dennis Hammond was dressing out his newly shot deer when a car pulled up. Two men hopped out and came over to look at the hunter's prize. As Hammond chatted amiably with one of the men, the other quietly walked back to the car, took out his own rifle and hijacked the deer at gunpoint.
Finally, in Iowa mules are used for coon hunting. In fact, one hunting area near Decorah has a sign saying COON HUNTING WITH MULES ONLY. The mules are used because they are surefooted in the dark, don't stumble over logs or rocks and don't mind dogs running under their legs or hunters shooting off their backs. Prices for a trained mule range from $600 to $1,200. They can also be used to hunt rattlesnakes. Just thought you'd like to know.
The first entry received for the initial running of the Maryland Marathon next Saturday bore the name Katherine Switzer. Kathy Switzer is the woman who made headlines in 1967 when she forced her way into the Boston Marathon and had to wrestle her way past outraged officials. At the time, many thought the Switzer gambit was a stunt, but in the years since, the 26-year-old Ms. Switzer has demonstrated the legitimacy of her running skills.
"We aren't weird," she says of women marathoners. "The public has to accept that. And we aren't weaklings. There's a terrible fear that running farther than 1,500 meters might strain us, but I think we have a tremendous potential that has not been realized."
Marathon promoters have changed since 1967 and, recognizing the promotion value of women entrants, actively seek them out. The remarkably attractive Ms. Switzer would now like one more change. "If I finish 10th in a race," she said, "and there are 15 trophies, I'd much rather have the 10th-place prize than a first-place one for women. We should be rewarded on merit, not sex."
It was duly noted earlier this football season (SCORECARD, Sept. 24) that the University of Mississippi's press book had listed the score of Louisiana State's last-second victory over Ole Miss in 1972 as "Ole Miss 16, LSU 10+7." After LSU's 51-14 squelching of Mississippi a couple of Saturdays ago, the LSU student newspaper ran the following headline over its report of the game: OLE MISS 14, LSU 10+7+6+7+7+7+7.
THEY SAID IT
•Bob Devaney, Nebraska athletic director: "Johnny Rodgers is not only the greatest athlete I ever coached, he is the greatest athlete I have ever seen. The only thing he could not do real well was drive a car."
•Dick Selcer, University of Wisconsin assistant coach, on how coaches handle the frustrations of a losing season: "When I get frustrated, I go home and pick a fight with my wife. I'm 5-5 for the season at home."
•Tody Smith, Houston Oiler defensive end: "The Chicago Bears are very physical, but I would not say that they are dirtier than anybody else. Let's just say they are extremely overt."
•Dennis Nelson, Baltimore Colt offensive tackle, when sportswriters surround him after a game: "Leave me alone. I'm a lineman. I want to be obscure."
•Johnny Carson, on reports that Spiro Agnew might be a part owner of a team in the proposed World Football League: "Who'd want to watch a team called the Chicago Nolo Contenderes?"