THE SCANDAL (CONT.)
In the wake of the scandals involving the "earning" of bogus credits by athletes at Arizona State and New Mexico, many universities and conferences are scrutinizing the academic records of all their athletes. And the FBI and NCAA are investigating the possibility that there is a flourishing industry in making athletes academically eligible by fraudulent means.
The investigations are aimed at uncovering the interrelationship of universities, junior colleges and off-campus extension programs, and the workings of what is increasingly being referred to as "the old boy network of coaches"—old friends at universities in different parts of the country who help each other out in the crucial business of keeping athletes eligible.
The NCAA has already investigated at least two individuals believed to be "brokers," middlemen who are in the business of getting needed credits for athletes, by using forged or doctored transcripts or by discovering snap summer courses, even easier correspondence courses or courses for which credit can simply be bought. In many cases, such courses are found in extension programs, which are offered by more than 300 universities. These are intended primarily for graduate students, most of them teachers who need the courses to maintain their certification. But because many of these courses can be taught in a church basement or someone's den and often are not carefully supervised by the sponsoring college, which can be thousands of miles away, a widening pattern of abuse is beginning to appear, a pattern that is eliciting "tip of the iceberg" comments in college athletic circles.
First came the revelation in November that eight Arizona State football players had received credit without having completed any work for an extension course taught in Los Angeles but held under the auspices of Rocky Mountain College of Billings, Mont. Next, New Mexico revealed that six of its basketball players had gotten credit for an extension course run in Sepulveda, Calif. by Ottawa (Kans.) University, even though at least five of the players hadn't attended a class or done any course work. And a few days later, three New Mexico football players, three Oregon football players and a Utah basketball player also were discovered on the 49-student roll for the Ottawa course. But only one of the non-New Mexico athletes, Oregon freshman Paul Perez, was found not to have done work for the course. Curiously, officials at Utah and Oregon apparently understood that it was a correspondence course requiring only independent reading and a mail-in final. Ottawa officials protested that such an assumption was incorrect; attendance is always mandatory.
The FBI and NCAA want to know how these athletes were enrolled in the courses—and if and with whom deals may have been made to get them credits without doing any work. It is suspected that some of the paperwork was forged.
As these investigations began, Rocky Mountain announced it is abolishing its extension program and Ottawa said it will no longer offer physical education classes by extension. And, it was learned, Santa Clara stopped giving extension courses in 1976 after suspicions of similar irregularities on transcripts of athletes who took its courses were raised. The NCAA had also investigated at least one person connected with its extension program.
An ironic note: Utah basketball star Danny Vranes, who took the controversial Ottawa course, "Current Problems and Principles in Coaching Athletics," by correspondence, submitted as his only written work a 3½-page paper. Its subject? "Recruiting," says Vranes. "You know, all the hassles and pressures."
HAPPY NEW YEAR
It's time again for New Year's resolutions; here's a sampling of what some people in sports are planning for 1980:
Darryl Dawkins, the muscular, backboard-smashing 76er center, will try to dunk with less force, leaving such destructiveness to 5'4" Scooter DeLorme, a guard for the Minnesota Fillies of the Women's Basketball League, where the "Dawkins Rule" does not apply, who has resolved to "smash three backboards and break Dawkins' record."
Former Miami and San Diego Running Back Mercury Morris wants to give up smoking, while Seattle Wide Receiver Steve Raible yearns to give up concussions. "But that is contingent on Jack Tatum retiring," says Raible, referring to a concussion he received from the Oakland safety on Sept. 16. Ahmad Rashad, of the Minnesota Vikings, says, "My resolution is to find out from Jim Marshall [page 84] What resolutions he made every year, so I can play 20 years, too."
Joe Theismann, the Redskins' quarterback, vows that "in 1980 I'm not going to let anyone change the pronunciation of my name to rhyme with any trophies." His teammate, Linebacker Pete Wysocki, promises "never to say 'Hi, Mom' on national TV sideline shots or to hold up a finger signifying No. 1. I'll say hello to a cousin and claim to be No. 4."
WBA welterweight champion Jose (Pipino) Cuevas is determined to become the only world welterweight champion, and golfer Lon Hinkle, known on the tour as the Pillsbury Doughboy, resolves to reduce his weight from 225 to "210 or bust." After finishing second to Sebastian Coe in the world-record (3:49) Golden Mile in Oslo, Steve Scott is determined "to not have to shout at a guy ahead of me the next time I run a 3:51.1 mile."
Commentator-Coach George Allen resolves to grow bigger and better strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Brian Sipe, the clean-cut Cleveland quarterback, will be happy if he grows a little more hair on his chest.
Some people can't be bothered making New Year's resolutions. Larry Csonka is one who eschews them, saying, "I have a hard enough time as it is." And others, like Cincinnati Bengal Punter Pat McInally, get almost lyrical in their resolve. "Without being esoteric," McInally says, "I want to kick the ball so high, so far, they'd have to invent telescopic lenses to enable the punt returners to track the spheroid's earthward flight toward its inevitable berth on the AstroTurf."
There is, it seems, a surfeit of Johnsons in the NBA. A recent game between the SuperSonics and Pacers brought together five players so surnamed: Dennis, John and Vinnie of Seattle, and Mickey and Clemon of Indiana.
That combination prompted Dick Mittman of The Indianapolis News to pick an All-Johnson NBA team. At guard would be Seattle's Dennis and Vinnie, along with Atlanta's Eddie and Los Angeles' Magic. The Johnson jumping center would be Indiana's Clemon or New Jersey's George, and at forward could be John of Seattle, Mickey of Indiana, Ollie of Chicago, George of Denver and Marques of Milwaukee. The decision as to which Johnsons to start would be made by Phil You-know-who, the former NBA Coach of the Year at Kansas City who is now an assistant with the Bulls.
Where would the team eat on the road? Howard Johnson's, of course. And what company would supply it with tape? Why, Johnson & Johnson.
Then there are dilemmas this team would present for opposing coaches and referees, who would find themselves saying things like "O.K., Dave, you're now covering Johns..." and "Foul on, uh, Johnson." Well, you can call him Magic or you can call him Mickey....
Not everyone at Ohio State has spent the fall going bananas over the unbeaten football team. Helmuth Engelman has devoted his autumn to Buckfry, a concoction of 80% diesel fuel and 20% waste cooking oil.
Engelman, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Mary Kay Fishinger, a graduate student in Engelman's department, are experimenting with Buckfry as fuel for the university's dozen or so shuttle buses. The food service sends over the soybean oil that has already been used in its deep fryers and Engelman and Fishinger strain it carefully before mixing it with regular diesel fuel. Then they put it in the tank of their test bus.
"We're looking first for any deterioration in the engine," Engelman explains. "If the engine doesn't go to hell, we'll have part of the thing licked. Ohio State has one of the biggest single campuses in the country, some 53,000 students. That means there are a lot of French fries cooked around here." If the Engelman-Fishinger experiment proves successful, Ohio State could reduce its current fuel bill by as much as 20%, which ain't small potatoes.
The press guide for this season's University of Texas basketball team devotes three pages to quips and quotes from the Longhorns' raconteur-coach, Abe Lemons, on subjects ranging from the use of the full-court press to the price of eggs in New York City. About the only thing the guide didn't get Lemons' views on was press guides, and no wonder.
"I read these books and they rave about every player," Lemons said recently. "It says this player has good quickness and excellent jumping ability and really hustles. And I look at the statistics and see he averages three points a game. Some year I'm going to write our book. And it's going to say, 'I wish I had never recruited this player. He has eaten $5,000 worth of groceries and has cost us $10,000 overall, and he's scored one point. He's a dog.' "
THE POET ALLEN
Jack Smith, the Los Angeles Times columnist, wrote a piece the other day criticizing convoluted language, particularly jargon, but to be fair he quoted a letter from a lawyer defending legalese. The lawyer argued that such arcane terms as "devise and bequeath" and "fee simple" are not gobbledygook but symbols that have a precise meaning, at least for lawyers, just as other phrases have their precise meanings for physicists or mathematicians.
Smith did not buy that opinion completely but conceded that sometimes jargon can be better than plain talk. As an example, he cited another letter, this one from a man describing George Allen's analysis of a play on a telecast of a Los Angeles Rams game.
"After a Ram play," the man wrote, "there appeared to have been some hesitation on the part of Quarterback Pat Haden. Vin Scully asked George what had happened. This is what I deduced happened from watching the play and listening to Allen's reply. Haden noted the opponents' pass defenders nearest the sidelines were perhaps a few steps closer than normal. This led to the conclusion that possibly one or more very large linebackers were about to abandon their customary defensive areas and blitz in with the avowed purpose of removing young Mr. Haden's head. Therefore, Haden changed the play as arranged in the huddle by calling an audible (different signal) to his teammates. Receiving the ball from the center, Haden ran a few steps out of his customary passing position and threw the ball for a short gain to the receiver so designated."
And this is how George Allen said the same thing: "The corners were in tight. Haden read the dog, audibilized, stepped out of the cup and dumped off to the short man."
"Heck," wrote Smith, "that's not jargon. That's poetry."
Even as the "me" decade of the '70s draws to an end, vanity remains as marketable as ever. Among the newest businesses to spring up around the country are suntan parlors where for a fee a person can stand in a phone-booth-like chamber to get an allover tan from ultraviolet lights.
Using a sunlamp to ward off winter pallor is hardly a new idea, but the tanning centers are. Customers usually come in daily to get their tans before switching to biweekly maintenance visits. On the average, it takes 10 sessions to bronze a body, and though the duration of the visits varies, they generally start out at 30 seconds to three minutes, depending on skin type, and gradually increase to as many as 20 minutes.
According to John Ramuno, who operates Tan-Rite in San Diego, winter and presummer are his busiest seasons, and the package plans, ranging in cost from $39 for 15 visits to $225 for 188, are popular Christmas gifts for the person who has everything but glowing skin. Ramuno says there is a slight health benefit to be gained in the ultraviolet conversion of cholesterol into vitamin D, but basically tanning centers are meant for those who just want to look good.
Unfortunately, there is also the possibility of developing skin cancer. Dr. Joseph Walter, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at UC-San Diego School of Medicine, is especially concerned about people in skin groups one and two, which include redheads and light-skinned, fair-haired people who freckle.
"The entire area is one that should be gone into with great caution," Walter warns. "The incidence of skin cancer has increased drastically since World War II, when people began exposing more of their bodies to the sun for long periods."
Walter says that weekly visits to a sun-tanning booth are potentially more harmful than once-a-week sunbathing during the summer. "If a person goes once a week for two years, for 10 minutes a session, he will be in the range for skin cancer. The most common types are not fatal, but they cause ugly spotting of the skin, deterioration...and can lead to more serious problems."
Many doctors agree with Walter, though Ramuno points out that some dermatologists think using sunlamps is good for their patients. Still, he admits that it's 100% vanity. "The suntan is very mystifying," he says.
Back in November 1972, John McEnroe, playing with Van Winitsky, won his first national tennis title, the boys' 14-and-under indoor doubles. In the singles competition of the same tournament, McEnroe lost a tough three-set third-round match to Ted Staren of Hinsdale, Ill. Since then, McEnroe has won a few more national championships, including this year's U.S. Open, but Staren hasn't been heard from.
Seven years later, to the day, 13-year-old Patrick McEnroe, whose favorite tennis player is his antic older brother, won the same boys' 14-and-under doubles, with partner Ricky Peck, for his first national championship. Pat also faltered in the singles, losing a tough three-set match to Derrick Rostagno of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
There is no telling what will become of Pat and Derrick, but if history is, in fact, repetitive, the name McEnroe will remain prominent in tennis for years to come, and the name Rostagno will be as familiar as, well, Staren.
THEY SAID IT
•Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens defenseman, after a game against Gordie Howe: "He didn't show me anything new. All of our guys have been playing like 51-year-olds this season."