ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN
Only a month ago the NCAA took a welcome step toward reality by updating its rules to allow an athlete to remain an amateur in one sport even if he is a pro in another (SCORECARD, Jan. 21). In other words, an athlete at an NCAA school who signs a contract, say, to play professional football, can compete in track and field.
But there's a hooker here, as demonstrated by the sad case of James McAlister, football and track star at UCLA. Last week McAlister signed a multiyear contract with the Anaheim franchise of the World Football League and looked forward to continuing in track. Holder of the world's best long-jump mark (27'½") last year, he had already competed in two indoor meets this season. But the day after McAlister signed to play football the NCAA declared him ineligible. Why? Because an agent negotiated the contract, and the NCAA has another rule saying that while an athlete may consult an agent for advice, the athlete becomes ineligible if the agent actually negotiates on his behalf.
"It's really stupid," says a disconsolate McAlister. "How is anyone with no knowledge of contract negotiations supposed to deal with men who have spent their lives doing that?"
THE WORLD VIEW
Jack Nicklaus, who won $308,362 in official U.S. purses last year, was golf's leading money-winner of 1973, right? Wrong, says Mark McCormack, golf's leading money manager. For eight years McCormack has been publishing an annual, The World of Professional Golf, reflecting his belief that the U.S. tour is no longer the alpha and the omega of the sport, that the rest of the world is considerably more than a satellite to the PGA tour and that any true ranking must include all the world's major competitions.
On McCormack's world money list for 1973 Nicklaus takes second place, $21,025 behind Tom Weiskopf's $349,645, the most ever earned by a golfer. Back in 1972, when Nicklaus won $341,792, McCormack predicted, "No one will break Jack Nicklaus' money record for many years, at least 10, maybe more...maybe never." But Weiskopf played five tournaments outside the U.S. last year, four of which Nicklaus skipped. He won three—the Canadian and British Opens and the South African PGA—and he also picked up some loose change here and there at the Piccadilly World Match Play in London and the John Player International in Scotland.
There are other portents to be found in the expanded money list. For instance, the No. 6 man, behind Weiskopf, Nicklaus, Bruce Crampton, Lanny Wadkins and Lee Trevino, is Japan's Jumbo Ozaki with $203,002. And Ozaki is not necessarily to be considered Japan's best player. Isao Aoki won more tournaments and, while scarcely venturing off the Asian tour, earned $140,709, which makes him No. 11 on the world list. The 11th man on the PGA's list was Hubie Green with $114,397.
Of course, money isn't everything, in golf as in life. Nicklaus, for instance, had a better stroke average than Weiskopf—69.8 vs. 70.2. But guess who was third on the world list? Jumbo Ozaki—70.4. All right, so stroke average isn't everything either, unless everyone plays on courses of equal quality, but it does appear to be time to begin looking beyond our own borders. When the Japanese tour produces nearly $2 million compared to the PGA's $8.6 million, we have a trend on our hands. A yen or a pound or a franc is as "official" as a dollar, and a golfer is a golfer anywhere.
Most sports publicity men accentuate the positive, but not Jim McLemore, publicist for the sad sack Houston Oilers. McLemore issued a release the other day reviewing individual and team records for 1973, and 11 of the 14 marks were on the negative side. Among the categories were fewest games won, fewest points, most fumbles, fewest first downs, most touchdowns allowed and so on. Is honesty the best publicity?
All across the ski world oldtime stylists and boomers alike have been pulling up short in chagrin this season and muttering apologies about the state of their downhill form. If one listens to apr√®s-ski talk, one gets the notion that a strange and mysterious malady has afflicted the sport. In Saalbach, Austria one American asked gloomily last week, "What happened to my skiing? What am I doing wrong?"
And the answer, strangely simple, came from Jack Beattie of Colorado's Garcia Ski Corporation, who explained, "Your skiing has not changed. Not at all. What has happened is that the mountains have changed."
How deceptively true. In both the U.S. and Europe, Beattie went on, the craze for shorter skis, now grown to epidemic status, has produced a new and very different generation of skiing turns. As a result, those familiar old moguls on mountains have suddenly become slightly smaller and more tightly linked than ever before, the sort of thing one cannot figure out just by looking at the slopes. Put another way, a 160-centimeter ski will carve a tighter bump than a 210-centimeter ski, and using regular skis to go down a hillside that short skis have worked over is like trying to roller-skate across railroad tracks.
Skiers, then, should either go to short skis, or accept the fact (with built-in alibi) that it is now harder to ski on mountains that have tighter, shorter and smaller bumps.
A chap named Andy Sidaris has an unusual job: he is responsible for the "honey shots" during ABC telecasts of college football games. A honey shot, if you didn't know, is a quick camera glimpse of a girl in the stands. Sidaris holds strong views about the looks of the girls he has seen around the country, and he freely aired them to TV Writer Don Freeman of the San Diego Union.
"In Buffalo we panned our cameras through the stands, and all the girls looked like plant foremen. It's even worse in Detroit—the girls all look like Alex Karras in a wig." According to Sidaris the Big 10, except for Purdue, is a disaster area. He is especially down on Wisconsin (the girls "get their hairdo hints from Field & Stream"), Minnesota ("the style is Early Lumberjack") and Michigan ("the girls dress like old Joan Crawford movies").
The prime areas for girl watchers, he says, are the South, Southwest and Southern California. His No. 1 honey heaven is Alabama, where "only your real football fan takes his eyes off the cheerleaders." Ranking schools by beauty, Sidaris next pegs Texas, Auburn, UCLA ("always strong in their cheerleaders"), Tennessee and LSU, with Oklahoma moving up fast. Colorado is starting to show some beauties. "Turns out they are getting a lot of California girls," Sidaris explains, "and that makes a difference." He contends the normal cutoff line for beautiful California girls is Bakersfield. Northern California girls do not move him in the least. "Stanford is no place for honey shots," he says. "There we concentrate on the game. All we found were girls who dressed in a style I can only describe as Early War of 1812. Is there a shortage of hairbrushes at Stanford?"
In this age of excessive superlatives it is nice to note that one Los Angeles bookseller does not rely on overblown blurbs to sell his wares. A fly-tying friend forwards us this comment by Entomological Reprint Specialists on an aquatic insect book, Chaoborus, priced at $15: "...hideously bound. The illustrations, mostly without captions, are awful...we offer it as an excruciating example of our efforts to provide any insect book in print. Of particular interest to bibliographers of entomological minutiae and scurrilous pamphlets. Some aquatic entomologists may want it as a curiosity."
The curriculum in Ottawa's Connaught Public School allows seventh-and eighth-graders to take courses in such subjects as boys' cooking, harmonica and leatherwork. Now Connaught has added still another course, snooker, that may become more popular than all the rest combined.
Classes for the 16-hour, eight-week-long session are held at a nearby billiard parlor, the Broken Cue, and 29 students, five of them girls, go there every Thursday at 2 p.m. for instruction by Ervin Budge, an assistant manager. Using a microphone, Budge goes from table to table stressing the three R's of the game: how to hold a cue, how to figure the angles and how to apply reverse English. "One of the ideas behind the snooker program and behind all our free-choice subjects is to help students develop hobbies, get interested in different things," says Teacher Weldon McLeod, who accompanies the youngsters. Parents who were invited to attend one snooker session thought the lessons a dandy idea, which might prompt some odd conversation at dinner. Suspicious parent: "Where were you this afternoon, Johnny?" Johnny: "Down at the pool hall." Parent: "That's fine. I was afraid you were hanging around school."
TO YOUR HEALTH
Conversation overheard in an elevator: A woman with a foreign accent asked the man with her, "Have you ever been to Mexico?" The man said, "No. I almost went once, on an expedition. My wife's father takes a lot of doctors and dentists to Baja California every year for a two-week hunting and fishing trip. He pays all the expenses." The woman looked quizzical. "His only requirement," the man explained, "is that while they're there, they have to treat the people of Baja." The doors opened. "Treat?" asked the woman as the pair got out. "Well, yes," the man said. "It's the only medical care they get."
The doors closed, leaving a mixed bag of musing. On the one hand, it was gratifying to learn that doctors and dentists on vacation would put aside rod and gun to administer to the people of that barren peninsula. On the other hand, the woman's confusion over the word "treat" gave rise to a picture of men in white medical gowns going from cantina to cantina, crying, "Drinks are on the house!"
Nicknames for new teams are often subject to criticism, but who in California would ever want to make the public tremble with suggestions of earthquakes? The San Jose Quakes, that's who, of the North American Soccer League. Enough fans find fault with where they live without being reminded of it in the sports pages, but Dick Berg, general manager of the Quakes, is unshaken. "It might just exorcise the demons in the earth," he says, not in the least tremulously. "Besides, you should have heard the clamor when the Seattle SuperSonics were named. I was assistant manager up there then. In a month all the protests went away. So did the contract for the Boeing SST."
According to Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources, the deer hunter who bags a buck is lucky indeed. Whitetail deer know how to be elusive, particularly the bucks. The department notes that a buck outfitted with a radio transmitter and long orange streamers was released in the Slim Buttes area of South Dakota. Five supposedly expert hunters were sent to find him. In seven days of searching, none did. Three of the five hunters were sent to the area where the radio transmitter indicated that the buck was hiding. Again the hunters drew a blank. Finally all five were directed to the precise location. No luck. Only when he was leaving the area did one hunter locate the deer, and that occurred when he almost stepped on the buck lying flat in underbrush.
In Michigan, 39 deer were fenced in a square mile of forest and swamp. It took six experienced hunters four days to sight one buck. Over a four-year test period that followed, the briefest stalking time to within shooting distance of any deer, including fawns, was 14 hours. The best time for getting within range of a buck was 51 hours.