The U.S. Basketball Writers Association bobbled the ball in its reaction to the arrest of University of San Francisco Guard Quintin Dailey on charges involving an alleged sexual assault against a USF coed. Only the day before Dailey's arrest on Feb. 22, the USBWA's nine-member selection committee had voted to include him on its 10-man All-America team. But within hours after Dailey was charged on five felony counts, the USBWA replaced him on the All-America team with the University of Wyoming's Bill Garnett. Then, after enduring a fire storm of criticism for that action, the USBWA this week reversed itself again, leaving Garnett on the team but also reinstating Dailey. Welcome though that about-face was, the USBWA's handling of the matter left that organization with a black eye.
The decision to expel Dailey from the All-America team had been stoutly defended by USBWA President Frank Boggs, the sports editor of the Colorado Springs Sun. Claiming that the vote to bounce Dailey from the team had been unanimous, Boggs said, "It was our feeling that an All-Star team is one thing and an All-America team is another. In athletics, an All-America should exemplify America on and off the court." Yet it wasn't clear who had taken part in that "unanimous" vote. One member of the selection committee, the Indianapolis Star's John Bansch, told SI that he had voted to expel Dailey because of the latter's arrest, explaining, "With five counts, it's pretty obvious he must have done something. If he really is an All-America, he wouldn't be in that situation." But another committee member, Kirk Wessler of the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, said he hadn't been called upon to vote on whether to expel Dailey. The Oakland Tribune's Ron Bergman, who wrote a story on the subject, got in touch with three other committee members, none of whom had been asked to vote on the question, either. Boggs isn't a member of the selection committee and supposedly doesn't have a vote, but he apparently was deeply involved in the decision.
Boggs' argument that selection to the USBWA team should exemplify America off the court bore closer scrutiny, too, and not just because All America, like All East or All Pro, properly refers to jurisdiction rather than one's moral worth. The USBWA, of course, is entitled to define eligibility for its honorees any way it wishes, but Boggs admitted that no requirement about off-court behavior had been spelled out. The criterion was adopted to fit the circumstances only after Dailey's arrest. In fact, Providence's Marvin Barnes was named to the 1974 USBWA All-America team even though charges of assault with a dangerous weapon brought by a teammate were pending against him. In 1976, Tennessee's Bernard King was named to the USBWA team even though he had had several brushes with the law. Significantly, Wessler expressed surprise at Dailey's expulsion and said, "I thought we were just judging his basketball talents." The ex post facto imposition of eligibility criteria on Dailey was reminiscent of a similar effort to rewrite history in the case of Paul Robeson, who was an All-America football player at Rutgers in 1918. Years later, because of Robeson's pro-Soviet politics, a football publication listed only a 10-man All-America team for 1918, omitting Robeson's name.
But whether the USBWA could justify the idea that its All-America honorees should be simon-pure off the court was almost beside the point. The fact remained that Dailey had merely been accused of a crime. He continued to play for San Francisco after his arrest (albeit, because of an anonymous death threat, under police guard during a 91-83 victory last week over Santa Clara, a game in which he scored 27 points), and he and the Dons were tapped for the NCAA tournament. Dailey has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, and he faces a preliminary hearing in San Francisco Municipal Court on March 22. It was without explanation or apology that Boggs announced that he and other USBWA officers had repolled the selection committee, which then voted to reinstate Dailey. It may be that at least some of those responsible for removing Dailey from the All-America team belatedly realized that the presumption of innocence is something else that exemplifies America.
THE SCHOOL THAT NEVER THAWS
The men's and women's basketball teams at Bluefield State College, a small (enrollment: 1,000) liberal arts and engineering school in West Virginia, have ended their seasons, and the Big Blue golfers of the school's only other varsity sports team will soon be taking to the fairways. Despite spring's approach, however, a wintry feeling continues to pervade the campus. And how could it be otherwise? After all, Bluefield State's athletic director is Barry Blizzard and its golf coach is Rick Snow.
Contrary to what one might assume, Blizzard didn't hire Snow out of some sort of meteorological rapport. In fact, he didn't hire Snow at all. By the time the 31-year-old Blizzard became athletic director in 1976 (he'd previously been the sports-information director and assistant athletic director), Snow, now 38, was already the golf coach and assistant coach of both the basketball and the now-defunct football team. Their names have naturally been the subject of much mirth, particularly when, also in 1976, the two men were marooned together during a road trip with the school's basketball team in a Clarksburg, W. Va. motel by one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit the state. Recalls Blizzard: "There we were, Blizzard and Snow, stranded in a blizzard. We tried to make collect calls home, and the operator almost fell out of her chair when we gave her our names. She didn't believe us."
Blizzard and Snow are both avid skiers, but both are also glad that a couple of recent snowfalls, which raised Blue-field's total accumulation this winter to 25 inches, will soon be just a memory. Says Blizzard, with an air of relief: "Most of the snow is gone." Adds Snow, golf clubs at the ready: "We're looking forward to spring."
THE RACE IS ON
In hopes of becoming the major leagues' first 300-game career winner since Early Wynn reached that milestone in 1963, 43-year-old Gaylord Perry last week signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners giving him an opportunity to pitch his way onto the parent club's roster. If he does so, it will be interesting to see whether Perry, who has 297 victories, can win his 300th before his new club can win its 300th. The Mariners have 290 wins in their five-year history against 465 losses.
TRIAL AND ERROR
The NFL last week filed a motion to restrict the press's presence in the courtroom during the retrial of the Oakland Raiders' antitrust suit against the NFL, which is scheduled to begin March 15 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The motion to limit coverage of the courtroom proceedings to five pool reporters came after the NFL was rebuffed in its latest effort to win a change of venue. The NFL believes that it can't get a fair trial in Los Angeles, ,and that if the case has to be tried in that city, its chances of a fair trial will be further damaged by repetition of what it says was "sensational" coverage during the first trial, which ended in a hung jury.
The refusal by both Federal Judge Harry Pregerson and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to award a change of venue is open to criticism. The suit involves the Raiders' efforts to resettle in L.A. over the NFL's objections, a move that would involve a civic gain for southern California, a loss for northern California. Although it's certainly possible to find jurors in Los Angeles who don't know or care about professional football, it will be more difficult to find Angelenos who wouldn't welcome, at least subconsciously, the chance to steal some thunder—and, yes, a football team—from northern California.
But limiting the press's access to the courtroom is unwarranted. NFL Attorney Patrick Lynch contended that the presence of a lot of reporters could be an "intimidating" factor by making jurors aware that they are going to be in the limelight. The proper remedy to that problem would be a change of venue, not restrictions on press coverage. It's almost incidental that the NFL's motion opened it to suspicions that it was trying to manage the news, especially after it welcomed 2,000 members of the media to Super Bowl XVI and lavished on them courtesy cars, canned interviews, hospitality rooms stocked with free drinks and even bottles of perfume for their wives. It's also pretty much incidental that the proceedings in Los Angeles significantly affect two tax-supported facilities, the L.A. Coliseum, whose governing commission is co-plaintiff with the Raiders in the suit, and the Oakland Coliseum, where the Raiders currently play. What isn't incidental is the fact that the press has the right under the First Amendment to cover public trials, a right that has been limited by the courts only in the most exceptional cases—for example, when minors are involved or in criminal cases in which the defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial is directly threatened by the presence of reporters. No such compelling circumstances exist in this case. Whatever the venue, the NFL's legal squabble with the Raiders and the L.A. Coliseum is very much the public's business, a fact that Pregerson underscored early this week in denying the NFL's motion.
FERNANDO ON HER MIND
Before assuming her role as anchorwoman on the 6 o'clock news last Tuesday night on WEZF-TV, the ABC affiliate in Burlington, Vt., Kasey Kaufman fretted over an item in her script about a decline in the price of crude oil in Venezuela. She warned her cameramen, "I'm going to have a terrible time pronouncing Valenzuela...I mean, Venezuela."
Sure enough, on the air Kaufman began the item by saying, "The price of crude oil in Valenzuela...." Catching herself, she backtracked and said, "Fernando Valenzuela, but in Venezuela...." The cameramen cracked up.
Afterward, an embarrassed Kaufman allowed, "I don't know why, but I just have trouble saying Val...." She chuckled. "Venezuela."
Kaufman, 24, is a Los Angeles native, UCLA alumna and, yes, diehard fan of the Dodgers. We suggest that if she's ever called upon to mention Venezuela on the air again, she hold out.
TIME TO GET TOGETHER?
With the NCAA staging women's championships this year for the first time, the AIAW, the 10-year-old organization that put women's college sports on the map (with an assist from Title IX, the prohibition against federal aid to institutions practicing sex discrimination), finds itself barely clinging to life. So many of its member schools have fled to the NCAA that the AIAW's only realistic hope for survival is its pending antitrust suit against the NCAA in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Last week Judge Charles R. Richey urged a settlement of that dispute, giving the AIAW 30 days to come up with a settlement proposal, and the NCAA 15 days to respond. That fueled talk of a possible merger between the two organizations, a solution that NCAA lawyer William D. Kramer said "makes sense." But AIAW lawyer Margaret Polivy complained, "The NCAA says it's always willing to listen. That may be, but they're not willing to participate. They don't take us seriously."
It's hard to imagine an out-of-court settlement that wouldn't amount to the NCAA's absorption of the AIAW. Thanks largely to football television revenues, the NCAA is vastly richer than the AIAW, and its instant domination of women's sports will be evident when the regionals of its inaugural women's basketball tournament get under way this week, the first step toward the finals in Norfolk, Va. on March 28. The top four and 17 of the top 20 teams in the national rankings are committed to the NCAA tourney, leaving only Texas (No. 5), Rutgers (No. 7) and Villanova (No. 16) in the AIAWs, whose finals are also on March 28, in Philadelphia. Still, the existence of rival national championships can only diminish both events.
The same is true in swimming. The AIAW can lay claim to just one genuine swimming power, Texas, which is hosting the AIAW's four-day meet starting on March 17. But Texas' absence alone is enough to tarnish the NCAA championships, scheduled for the same weekend at the University of Florida. Texas won last year's AIAW meet, which was undiluted because there wasn't yet an NCAA meet, and its swimmers currently boast the nation's fastest times in 10 of 22 events. The fact that Texas won't lock Longhorns in a national championship with such rival powers as UCLA, Florida and Stanford, all of which are NCAA-bound, is a strong argument for bringing women's college sports under one umbrella and ending the duplication of national championships. As Texas Swimming Coach Paul Bergen complains, "The existence of two national championships is almost as self-defeating as the Olympic boycott."
As a way of unwinding from the rigors of courtroom work, Ronald Grenda, a 34-year-old assistant public defender for Cook County, Ill., recently decided to take up boxing. Two weeks ago Grenda made his ring debut in the Chicago Golden Gloves tournament in the 165-pound class and was surprised to discover that his opponent was Ted Hutchenson, whom he had represented last year in a trial that ended with Hutchenson's acquittal on a burglary charge. After exchanging warm greetings, the two men entered the ring, where Grenda proceeded to put up a less successful defense against Hutchenson than he had for him. Hutchenson delivered several solid and unanswered blows to Grenda's head, prompting the referee to stop the fight and declare Hutchenson the winner at 2:34 of the first round.
THEY SAID IT
•Wilt Chamberlain, sponsor of Wilt's Athletic Club, whose star high jumper, Coleen Rienstra Sommer, recently set an indoor world record of 6'6¾", pointing to his nose during remarks to a New York track luncheon: "I'd like to show people just how high 6'6¾" is."
•Jim Killingsworth, Texas Christian basketball coach, of Tulsa Guard Paul Pressey: "He's quick enough to play tennis by himself."