There was good news and bad news last week insofar as Los Angeles and its quest for the 1984 Olympics were concerned. The International Olympic Committee, meeting in Athens with representatives from L.A., including Mayor Tom Bradley, awarded the Games to that city on a provisional basis, the provision being that by July 31 the city would agree on a contract that conforms to IOC rules.
And therein lay the bad news. L.A. officials had flown to Athens hoping that, as the only city offering to host the Games, it could pressure the IOC into letting it wriggle clear of that organization's Rule 4, which states that the host city and its national Olympic committee must bear full financial responsibility for the Games. The IOC said, in effect, nothing doing. You pay the bill.
Chaos followed. L.A. city councilman Robert Ronka returned from Athens calling the IOC a group of "archaic and arcane aristocrats" who had "double-crossed" the city. He thought the chances of the Olympics being held in L.A. were slim, but then Ronka had long been opposed to hosting the Games. But when he got back, Mayor Bradley had another story to tell.
"It is far better to have the option we have than to have none at all," said Bradley. He claimed he had held his ground in Athens, even when it seemed the IOC might take away the Games, and that the impasse had been broken when an IOC member had mentioned that perhaps the city could cover itself against possible financial losses by insurance.
A little pie-in-the-sky there. No insurance company, not even Lloyds of London, would handle that kind of policy. Perhaps Bradley should have realized that, too, but being a shrewd politician, he needed something—anything—to get him out of Athens alive.
So what it comes down to is money, and, sad to say, the financial climate in Los Angeles is such that if the citizens—who on June 6 are expected to approve a proposition that will roll back property taxes to 1% of assessed valuation from approximately 2%—are led to believe that hosting an Olympics would cost them even a dollar each in increased taxes, they probably would reject the Games. Montreal is supposedly still $1 billon in the hole after the 1976 Games, but this figure is misleading because that city had to construct, among other facilities, a stadium—cost $300 million—and an Olympic Village. The Village is now an apartment complex and the stadium brings in revenue as the home of the baseball Expos and football Alouettes.
Mayor Bradley needs to convince eight of the 15 city council members, who will decide whether or not Los Angeles should go through with the project, that the Games will be self-supporting. Unlike Montreal, Los Angeles already has a stadium, the Coliseum, used for the '32 Olympics, and the athletes can be housed in local college dormitories. In fact, all L.A. needs is a swimming pool complex, a rowing course without tidal flow and a velodrome. In 1977, the city estimated that the total cost of hosting the Olympics would be $183.5 million.
As for income, television and ticket sales are expected to bring in $184 million. This may be optimistic, but there seems every expectation that the Federal Government will chip in, as it did for Lake Placid—$56 million worth—when it secured the 1980 Winter Games. "I expect them to give it to us, same as they did for Lake Placid," Bradley said. "I repeat, the city will not accept financial responsibility or liability for the Games. If no provision can be worked out...I will be the first to say, 'Sorry, you will have to take it elsewhere.' "
In the days between now and July 31, we will see how good a politician Tom Bradley is.
THE LAST WORD
The first North American Invitational Scrabble Players Tournament was held last weekend at New York's Summit Hotel, with 64 contestants from the U.S. and Canada playing 18 games apiece over three days for a $1,500 first prize. Scrabble lovers would like to see the game elevated to the status of chess and bridge, but for those who think there are too many sports already, Scrabble could be the haulm that broke the oont's dorsum.
Blue, an albino Norway rat, has hung up his spikes. Blue burst upon the sporting world last year when students in a class on the principles of conditioning and learning at Georgia Southern College in Statesboro taught the rat to put a marble into a miniature hoop. Not only that, Blue learned how to dunk it.
This year, students taught him to bowl, using the marble, miniature pins and a two-foot lane. His average score was 40, with a top of 60. But now, at the age of two, Blue has been taken to Savannah by one of the students.
"Blue still plays for pleasure, but not on a regular basis," says Claud Felton. Georgia Southern's sports information director. "But we've left the door open for him. He could come out of retirement for exhibitions."
LOW AFTER A HIGH
Mike Tully of UCLA had his ups and downs last Friday at the Pacific Eight track and field championships, which were held at Oregon State. Tully won the pole vault and went on to clear 18'8¾", one-half inch higher than Dave Roberts, two-year-old world record. And yet because the officials were negligent, approval of the mark is doubtful.
Let Tully, who holds the indoor world record of 18'5¼", recount his utterly frustrating day. "I went clean, making 17 feet, 17'8½" and 18'1" without a miss," he says. "The next height was the record. They measured it at 18'8¾"." This Tully barely cleared on his first try; then he went screaming around the infield as if he had landed on a hot stove.
"But the NCAA rules say you have to measure again after a record," he says. "For that they had to move the standards so that the bar was directly over the box, and when they did, the bar fell off. They say the wind blew it off. I think they were just clumsy. They put the bar back again, but they hadn't marked which side was to be up, so they couldn't be sure they had put it up exactly the way it was before. There can be a fluctuation of as much as an inch, you know."
The remeasurement was 18'8"—no record. "Then there was confusion," says Tully. The discussion went on for some 30 minutes, while Tully fretted and stiffened. "They finally said it couldn't count, I'd have to do it over again."
Tully tried for 18'8¾" twice more, missing narrowly on each occasion. "The emotion was gone," he says. "And they had so many poles and tapes and cherry-picking ladders around the bar it looked like they were getting ready for a hanging.
"Then somebody came out of the stands with an International Amateur Athletic Federation rule book. He told me the rules only required measurement before a record attempt." So the vault seemed to qualify as a world record. "I quit," said Tully, who had a third jump coming to him.
The next day, watching the decathlon pole vaulters struggle to clear 12 feet, Tully learned that his informant had evidently misread the rule concerning remeasurements and that they were in fact required. "If only they'd marked the bar," moaned Tully. "Look at them. Today they're measuring perfectly."
TAKE A GANDER
You may remember the new duck decoy (SCORECARD, March 20) that has feet, the better to fool the real thing flying overhead. Now here is the goose kite, which hunters in blinds can send aloft while marking time. The kite, which comes in both Canada and snow goose models, is shaped and painted like a goose, and the theory is it can be spotted at a greater distance than can more conventional decoys. All you need is $25.95, a good wind and a dumb goose.
The NFL is worried about the guy on an oil rig at sea, and others like him. How can they survive on Sunday afternoons in the fall without pro football to watch? The NFL has the solution.
It seems a Dallas Cowboy fan living in Houston complained to Dallas General Manager Tex Schramm that he frequently misses Cowboy telecasts because the Oilers black out Cowboy games when Houston plays at home. He wondered if it would be possible to buy tapes of Dallas games and watch them in his living room.
That started the football rolling. "Because of the growth of home videotape devices," says Schramm, "we—meaning the NFL—are looking into the potential marketing and sale of tapes, either of complete games or highlights. This could be an exciting new dimension for so many Cowboy fans who are scattered all over the world. Several large business firms have already contacted us for permission to tape our games so they can be sent to their employees in foreign countries, and even on oil rigs at sea. We will keep you posted on developments."
That was the sound of a cash register you just heard.
Sports information directors are supposed to publicize a school's athletic teams, but Gary Andres claims he was fired from Delaware State for doing just that. In a civil suit filed against State's president, Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, and former Athletic Director Jim Williams, Andres said he was dismissed in August of 1976 because he knew of irregularities in the school's athletic department, including the use of ineligible football players during the previous season. Subsequently, warrants were issued for (he arrest of former players Jerome Carter and Jerome Culbrest. The two are accused of third-degree perjury while giving depositions concerning Andres' case. Neither player has been located so far.
The suit charges that Carter and Culbrest, both of whom were academically ineligible in 1975, played under the assumed names of David Griffin and Levi Baptiste. State's football coach, Ed Wyche, has repeatedly denied that the two did play, yet the Mid-Eastern Conference honored Culbrest as its offensive player of the week once that season. Also, both players were included in the final version of Delaware State's 1975 football stats, stats which were omitted from the 1976 preseason guide. According to Michelle Snow, a former secretary in the public-relations office, Coach Wyche told her in August of 1976, as she was preparing the media guide, to alter the statistics.
"He came over and told me to cross this out and cross that out and put this in and that in," Snow said in a deposition. She also claimed that Publicity Director Elizabeth Dix knew about and approved the changes.
A subsequent investigation by the school failed to uncover any evidence that ineligible players were used. Delaware State also filed a report with the NCAA, which conducted its own investigation. The NCAA found no violation worthy of probation.
And yet testimony given under oath by former Assistant Coaches Jimmie Strong and Tom Kinkus indicates that Carter and Culbrest did indeed play. And Cecile Coleman, a registered nurse at the school, says the players were treated for injuries.
Athletic Director Williams, who also coached the baseball team, was accused by Andres of using ineligible players in that sport, too, and of falsifying a game report to a newspaper. Seems the school reported a 1976 single-game victory over Shaw University as a doubleheader sweep. And where is Williams? He quit last spring when the Delaware State women's track team was disqualified from the Eastern AIAW championships because Williams had failed to pay the previous year's membership dues.
THEY SAID IT
•Elvin Hayes of the Washington Bullets: "I'd pay to watch me play."
•Bill Lee, Red Sox lefthander, asked why southpaws are always depicted as flakes: "What do you expect from a northpaw world?"
•Steve Largent, Seattle wide receiver, on the Seahawks' 1978 schedule, which has them playing eight games against playoff teams: "It's such a tough schedule we've already got guys going to the training room for treatment."