THE GUILTY MEN
Take a good look at the eight men in the column at right. They are the presidents (or chancellors)of the seven schools involved in the basketball scandals (see page 20) and the executive director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. In our opinion, they and all other college presidents should share in the guilt for the corruption of the players who took bribes from gamblers to fix games.
The most shocking fact about the scandals is not that there are evil men who try to seduce college athletes, or that some of those athletes yield to temptation. It is that the college heads refuse to admit their own dereliction of duty and are trying to shift responsibility for the tragedy to others. "We don't intend to do anything different than in the past," says LaSalle's Brother Bernian, "because we don't think we did anything wrong." This seems to be the position all college administrations have taken since the scandals broke.
U.S. university presidents and the NCAA's Mr. Byers are ultimately responsible for the recruiting tactics which corrupt young athletes while they are still in high school. There has grown up on our campuses a double academic standard (one for athletes, one for other students) for which all the presidents share responsibility. These men deplore bribe-taking by their athletes at the same time that they themselves have yielded to the temptation of commercialized college athletics.
May 7, 1961
So long as college administrations believe they discharge their duties by expelling bribe takers and shedding a few tears before going back to business as usual, so long will there exist all the necessary ingredients for future scandals.
For his part, Mr. Byers says the scandals did not originate within college walls but are merely a reflection of the poor moral climate of our times. This statement is doubly outrageous. Policies which gave birth to the scandals did originate within college walls. As for the moral climate of our times—since when have college presidents not had the responsibility of trying to better it?
Andres Gimeno, a big, ebullient puppy of a tennis player who earned the title of "world's second best" a few months back by beating Lew Hoad, Barry Mac-Kay, Alex Olmedo and others in a lengthy round robin, has a problem. It's to dethrone the lean and still-hungry Pancho Gonzales, winner of the world's professional title six times in a row. As of last week in the playoff series, Pancho had won 10 matches to the Barcelona-born Gimeno's four with 15 yet to be played. Though his ground strokes are fluid and he assaults the net with spider-like grace, Gimeno (El Matador) has some handicaps—a second serve without much speed or spin (by pro standards), a backhand whose power has to come from a delicate wrist flick, and possibly too much good nature. Lately pro tennis panjandrum Jack Kramer has been pleading with Gimeno to change his backhand grip by an eighth of a turn and warning him not to get too chummy with Pancho. "Off the court," says Kramer, "Pancho's your buddy, giving you tennis tips and challenging you to pitch coins at a crack in the sidewalk. But on the court he's nobody's pal." A comic-book reader and jazz buff, Gimeno admits to being awed by the company he's keeping. "I like to forget about tennis off the court," he says. "I'm crazy for the Late Late Show." "He sleeps too much," says Kramer. "Too much sleep can murder you."
We saw Gimeno in action against Gonzales a few nights ago at a West Orange, N.J. skating rink. A green tarpaulin had been stretched over the ice, the icy undersurface slowing up the bounce of the balls (good for Andres), and light beamed dimly down from lamps high above (good for Pancho). Gonzales won his services by hitting the ball so fast and deceptively that Andres generally returned them high, allowing Gonzales, lurking at the net, to poke them out of reach. A confirmed racket twirler before serving, the 23-year-old Gimeno was impressive as a volleyer but twice failed to hold service. Pancho won the "pro set" 12-7.
"The smoke, the slippery court, the bad lights, they don't bother me," Gimeno said afterward. "Because I am used to playing indoors. But I think that they bother Pancho even less."
OF APPLES AND HONOR
It is gratifying to hear that Carmen Basilio, a few days after his painful loss to Paul Pender (SI, May 1), made up his mind to quit boxing and to devote himself, for the moment, to taking care of his apple trees. It was, no doubt, a hard decision: fighting was Carmen's craft, his fame, his livelihood. But he has reckoned right. Blows and years have unavoidably altered him in much the same way the sea changes the shoreline. He was, in his last fights, no longer the indomitable battler who had won the welter and middleweight championships. He was only game, honest and fearless. It was these qualities, in addition to his hardy skills, which always won the favor of the crowd. But without skill, he was only an object of pity. The drama became not whether Basilio would win but whether he would even survive.
When Louis B. Mayer reluctantly sold part of his racing stable some years ago, Humphrey Finney, the auctioneer, asked him whether he was satisfied. "Satisfied, yes," Mayer replied. "Pleased, no." Nota, bene, Carmen.
APATHY AT THE GATE
Ford Frick, the commissioner of baseball, made a statement recently which startled us. "In the next few years," said Frick, "baseball is going to catch up with the times." We wonder, however, if the times and the people haven't already caught up with baseball.
Figures for the first three weeks of 1961, compared to figures for the first three weeks of 1960, reveal that National League attendance is off a staggering 30%, American League attendance (even with two new teams) has slipped 14%. Precisely 498,494 fewer people have attended games this season than had at the same time in 1960. (The statistics bring to mind the comment of Robert Sylvester of the New York Daily News, who once wrote, "Yesterday was such a beautiful day for baseball, I took the TV set out on the back porch.")
The men who run baseball suggest that bad weather alone is responsible for the loss of patronage, but we won't hold still for that explanation. With two new franchises in the American League to help bolster attendance figures, the weather factor should be canceled out. The truth is that big business has taken baseball over too obviously—although not too competently. Baseball fans are a conservative and knowing lot, and they are showing their resentment of the dictatorship of the club owners, who care not if they cheapen the game in their frenzy to exploit it.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
•Jimmie Dykes, manager of the Cleveland Indians, on the dearth of good young players: "The automobile did it. Everybody wants to ride. Instead of walking, a 150-pound kid will get into a 300-horsepower car to take him two blocks to the drugstore for vitamin pills."
•Mrs. Alvin Dark, wife of the Giants' new manager, explaining why her husband doesn't help with the dishes: "He always said he couldn't let his hands get too soft to hold the bat."
•Eddie Curtis, the Baylor University high jumper, when being needled about competing against Boston University's John Thomas: "I just might change my name to Brumel and scare Thomas to death."
•Polly Riley, amateur golfer from Fort Worth, upon receiving a vegetable dish as low-finishing amateur in Dallas Civitan Open: "Maybe this will be a vegetable-dish year. Last year it was a chafing-dish year, and the year before it was a soup-tureen year."
•Johnny Sellers, currently America's top jockey, discussing his plans for the summer: "I was thinking of riding in New Jersey, but I'll take my tack to Chicago. Frankly, I'd like to end up as the top rider, and the competition isn't as tough there as it is in the East."
•Professional Golfer Doug Sanders, describing how it feels to be an opponent of Arnold Palmer in a tourney: "It's like riding a lion down the road, whipping him with a rattlesnake, while trying to get away from a mean guy behind you."
THE INTERNATIONAL SET
The American Broadcasting Company put on the first of its World of Sports television shows last Saturday. The creditable production of the Penn and Drake relays (Jim McKay was a good commentator—he was considerably less lurid than at the Masters golf tournament) will be followed by 19 telecasts to be shown over 140 stations until September 9. Saturday's show was live and on tape from both Philadelphia and Des Moines. But ABC plans to put international spice into Saturday afternoon's routine sports television.
McKay will call the play between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City in Saturday's British Soccer Cup final, which will be taped. Included in the tentative ABC schedule are: a U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. track meet in Moscow; the Japanese all-star baseball game from Nagoya, Japan; the British Open Golf Championship; a classic day of golf, showing the St. Andrews course; the Canada Cup matches from Puerto Rico; world championship professional tennis from Mexico City; segments of the Le Mans International Grand Prix sports car race; and assorted events originating in the United States, showing track and field, stock car racing, the Indianapolis time trials—even the Cheyenne rodeo. ABC plans to use additional commentators who are experts in their field, i.e., Arnold Palmer on golf, Jack Kramer on tennis and Stirling Moss on auto racing.
American television has been making a good thing of sports financially for a long time, but has confined itself primarily to domestic events. Awareness of the potential in important foreign sports events is realistic and overdue. We wish ABC the best of luck and hope McKay will continue to allow the picture and play—not the announcer—to provide the excitement.
Last year the best handicap horse in the world, the Australian runner Tulloch, was invited to compete in the colorful Laurel International. Tulloch's elderly owner, Edward Haley, however, declined, on the grounds that the 7-year-old should first establish an Australian record for money earned. Last Saturday at Cheltenham Race Course, Tulloch finished first in the Pullman Stakes and boosted his lifetime jackpot to ¬£100,000 ($280,000); the earnings record is now his.
Tulloch is one of those few horses with character (he pulls himself up so quickly after a race that-he nearly throws his jockey off his back) and true ability (he always carries top weight). Within the next few days Laurel Race Course will extend another invitation to Mr. Haley to have Tulloch compete at Laurel. We hope that Mr. Haley and Laurel's president, John Schapiro, can work out the arrangements to bring Tulloch to this country. If so, Laurel will have the best American racing attraction in years.
SCOUTS ON THE MARCH
In the history of major league baseball only three hitters (Robert Lowe in 1894, Lou Gehrig in 1932 and Rocky Colavito in 1959) have hit four home runs in consecutive times at bat.
Recently, however, Mac Ogburn, a 5-foot-ll freshman catcher for Clemson College, did the major leagues one better. After hitting a homer, two triples and a single in the first half of a double-header against Georgia Tech in five times at bat, Ogburn went to the plate five times, in the second game and hit five home runs. Clemson, quite naturally, won both games, 14-3 and 19-3, and Ogburn finished the day with 19 runs batted in, eight runs scored and 31 total bases. One can almost hear the heavy tread of major league scouts marching toward Clemson.
•Professional football teams playing in Dallas this year will have to find segregated quarters for their Negro players. The Texas Motel Association recently decided to accept only white athletes from now on.
•Australia's newest Davis Cup hope is 20-year-old Martin Mulligan, who is currently traveling with Neale Fraser, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson. Mulligan has good assortment of shots and is now getting needed experience.
•The Houston Classic golf tournament, which has quadrupled its prize money in 10 years to S40,000, is on the verge of closing a deal to build its own golf course to conduct a Masters-type invitation tourney in 1963.
•While most people think that Tom Barry, who trained Belmont Stakes winners Cavan (1958) and Celtic Ash (1960), is most interested in 3-year-old colt The Crogan for this year's Belmont, his best chance of winning is with unheralded horse named Gun Burst, who won his first start of 1961 at Garden State Park last week.
•Now that the American League has expanded from eight teams to 10, Gene Woodling, the AL's player representative, is seeking to have league regulations amended to have members on first five teams, instead of first four, share in World Series receipts.