The members of the NCAA have had a dismal record in minority hiring. There are nearly 300 Division I schools, yet there are only two black athletic directors, three black head football coaches and 29 black head basketball coaches. Harry Edwards, the black activist and University of California sociology professor, told SI's Robert Sullivan last week, "The colleges are living off black labor in the revenue sports, football and basketball. Yet we do not get fair treatment in hiring. Black assistant coaches are basically seen as recruiters of black kids. When a head coaching job opens up, blacks are not interviewed. What the hell are we running here, a slave plantation?"
With the backing of the Black Coaches Association, Edwards met on Saturday with the NCAA's new executive director, Dick Schultz. Edwards and the coaches were prepared to lead a boycott by blacks—players and coaches—of the college football bowl games and of the Final Four basketball games unless they got certain assurances from the NCAA. They also threatened to compile a "white list" of schools that do not give jobs to blacks but continue to recruit many black athletes. Schultz, though, gave the coaches the assurances they sought—and then some.
"We would have instituted a work stoppage, but there is no further need to pursue that option," said Edwards. "The meeting went extraordinarily well. Speaking as one of the most caustic criticizers of the NCAA, I feel that under its new leadership, the NCAA is capable of turning this situation around. We went into the meeting determined to come out with something, and we came away, most importantly, with a spirit of change, something we had not expected. It turned out that Schultz is committed to change. We understand the bureaucracy he has to deal with."
Schultz issued a statement through the NCAA office, that read in part, "The meeting was positive and constructive. We spent a considerable amount of time discussing mutual concerns, particularly in regards to the newly formed NCAA Council Subcommittee to Review Minority Opportunities in Intercollegiate Athletics."
The black coaches offer two remedies, one short-term and one long-term. They would designate black assistant coaches whom they consider ready right now to fill head coach openings. And to prepare for the future, they want to establish an extensive training program to provide even more qualified minority applicants. "We're in the post-Campanis era," said Edwards. "There is a readiness to correct what has gone on before."
Before the Oct. 17 Auburn-Georgia Tech football game, WCNN-AM, the flagship radio station for Ramblin' Wreck football, was broadcasting its tailgate show from Tech's Heisman Gymnasium when suddenly the station's signal went dead. Producer Dave Cohen rushed over to the area where his transmitting equipment was supposed to have been plugged in and found an Auburn cheerleader using his socket to heat up her electric hair curlers. Says Cohen, "I asked her, 'Do you know you just unplugged 60 stations?' She just said, 'I'm sorry.' "
Cohen is not the first man undone by Auburn locks.
WHO IS BARRY LATMAN?
On a recent episode of Jeopardy, the quiz show on which contestants must supply the questions to answers, the category was Jews in Sports, and the answer was "This pitcher was the youngest player ever voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame." The contestant's response was, "Who was Hank Aaron?"
Wrong. As host Alex Trebek pointed out, "I'm sorry, but Hank Aaron was not a pitcher."
THE LONG VOYAGE
Two and a half years ago Ernst Aebi, a Swiss artist living in New York City, gave his rebellious 18-year-old daughter, Tania, a choice. She could either go to college, or she could sail around the world in a boat he would buy for her. She took him up on the boat, and on May 28, 1985, she set sail alone from New York on her 26-foot sloop, Varuna.
Last Friday, Tania Aebi completed her 27,000-mile voyage when Varuna arrived in New York Harbor. Had Tania not given a friend an 80-mile lift between islands in the South Pacific, she would have been the youngest sailor and first American woman ever to circumnavigate the globe alone. Still, those kinds of records don't seem as important as what she learned along the way. At a triumphal reception at the South Street Seaport in New York City, Aebi was asked what was the most important lesson of her adventure. "The world is a pretty nice place," she said. "As long as you respect people, you find that everybody's the same—just like you."
When she started out, Aebi was hardly an accomplished sailor. But out of necessity she became an expert in celestial navigation, seamanship and electronics. She had some harrowing moments: She collided with a cargo ship near the Suez Canal, and she almost capsized during a storm in the Mediterranean. On the last leg of her journey she temporarily lost contact with a satellite tracking system, prompting the tabloid New York Post to rush into print with the headline LOST AT SEA. She also fell in love with a Swiss sailor named Olivier Berner, whom she met on the Pacific island of Vanuatu. Berner, in his own boat, sailed along with her from Vanuatu to Malta, and though they parted in September, he was in New York last week to greet her, along with friends and family.
Said Ernst Aebi, "The result of this trip is infinitely better than my wildest dreams. In lieu of college, she got so much more."
THE WINNING FORMULA
With the exception of its hockey team, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., isn't known as a powerhouse of collegiate sports. But the Engineers do have an intimidating cheer:
E to the x, dy, dx
E to the x, dy
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine
Log of pi
WHAT SIN A NAME?
There's a retired executive and Philadelphia Phillies fan living in one of the Middle Atlantic States who prefers to remain nameless. That's because his name is Homer Hanke.
WHAT'S IN ANOTHER NAME?
The goalie for the Williams College soccer team recently set a school record for shutouts in a season (8). His name: Rob Blanck.
HE RAN A CROOKED 26 MILES, 385 YARDS
Those who watched Pat Petersen, one of the leading U.S. Entrants in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1. probably noticed his somewhat awkward running style. Bob Prichard of San Rafael, Calif., did more than just notice it. Prichard, who describes himself as a kinetic analyst, studied tapes of the race and concluded that Petersen, who led for 14 miles and eventually finished fourth to Ibrahim Hussein, ran two miles farther and bounced a quarter of a mile higher than he had to. "Petersen is obviously one tough cookie," says Prichard, who aids athletes on a full-time basis. "He ran a lot longer and harder than Hussein did."
Petersen was guilty on two counts: crossover and bounce. Crossover is measured by examining how far a runner's legs cross over the midline of his body as he runs. According to Prichard, ''Petersen had a crossover of six inches with his right leg and six inches with his left—that's a huge amount." In other words Petersen kept stepping forward at an inward angle rather than straight ahead, and the inefficiency of his strides—typically a marathoner takes about 1,000 per mile—accounted for the extra distance he had to run. Petersen also bounced approximately 25% higher than the average competitive runner, who during a marathon will bounce a vertical mile, or the combined height of four World Trade Center towers.
Hussein, on the other hand, had almost no crossover and little bounce. Yet Prichard believes Hussein could improve by increasing his stride angle, the measure in degrees of the greatest opening between the lead and trailing legs. "A marathoner ought to have about a 100-degree stride angle," says Prichard. "Hussein had a stride angle of only 90 degrees. If he increased his stride angle just five degrees, he could knock probably five minutes off his marathon time, which would give him a world record."
Petersen's bouncy step hurt him in the marathon.
THEY SAID IT
•Suzanne Martin, wife of Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, on whether her husband gets upset if one of his players is injured: "Certainly. Yes, he does—as if one of our racehorses were hurt."
•Bob Costas, NBC sportscaster, on loquacious basketball commentator Dick Vitale: "Once I didn't speak to him for two months. I didn't think it was right to interrupt him."