DEADLINE IN DIXIE
As of this moment, only Kentucky and Vanderbilt, among the 10 Southeastern Conference members, have Negroes on athletic scholarships. Tennessee tried for some Negro basketball stars but missed out. Tulane, formerly of the SEC, has a Negro baseball player on academic scholarship. Georgia Tech, another ex-SEC school, has a nonscholarship Negro trackman, and Georgia had a Negro student who came out for football.
That, apparently, is it in the South—but not for long, thanks in part to Bruce Galphin, a columnist on The Atlanta Constitution; Charles Morgan Jr., director of the Southern Regional Office of the American Civil Liberties Union; a handful of faculty members; and the southern coaches. The coaches' pride in their craft or art, and the exigency of winning, can transcend—if not completely eliminate—prejudice.
Morgan has written to the U.S. Commissioner of Education claiming that racial discrimination is being practiced in the awarding of athletic scholarships by universities that have agreed to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that therefore their federal aid should be shut off.
General Counsel Howard Glickstein of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says that if this is the case the schools are indeed in violation of the act and federal funds can be and should be stopped. Peter Libassi, special assistant on civil rights to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, says his department is in the final stages of drafting a compliance report form. "We had planned to ask general questions about the availability of scholarship funds without regard to race and color," he replied to one SEC instructor who had written him. "However, in the light of your document we are exploring the notion of asking about athletic scholarships in particular."
Galphin has disclosed, among other things, that although Georgia Tech was going as far afield as Ohio to find football players, it did not travel the 10 miles from Atlanta to Decatur, Ga. to recruit a Negro high school senior named Jack Pitts, whom Duffy Daugherty, the Michigan State coach, called "the finest quarterback prospect we've seen on film."
Actually, Tech, as well as Georgia, would like to get its hands on some Negro ballplayers. If it's a choice between being white and winning, they'll take winning, but the State Board of Regents, a semipolitical body, will not stand for it.
Caught between the coaches' realism and the law of the land, the southern schools cannot hold out much longer. (Ole Miss, for example, got at least $6 million from the U.S. last year.) Indeed, anticipating the inevitable, there's hardly an athletic department in Dixie that doesn't have an assistant coach scouting Negro high school games.
Ed Short, the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, hit the high note of the baseball season when, back in April, he became peeved because the fans weren't singing the national anthem before the old ball game.
Short thereupon substituted God Bless America; he felt many persons found The Star-Spangled Banner too difficult to sing.
One would have thought Short had resunk the Maine. Veterans groups exploded like bombs bursting in air, and the Chicago Daily News put the story on page one and kept it there, in a brazen play for the Pulitzer Prize.
Let the fans decide, quoth Short, and the fans waited in line at White Sox Park to receive specially printed red, white and blue ballots, upon which they also pledged to sing the winning song "loud and clear."
Last week the results were announced. Of course, The Star-Spangled Banner won. Whaddya think those White Sox fans are—Communists? The vote: Banner 14,913, God Bless 3,834, America the Beautiful 1,368. One hundred and fifty-three voters, who apparently come out to see a ball game and consider any musical prelude an intolerable delay, chose to have no song at all.
After ushers had passed out circulars with the words, none other than Mitch Miller led the crowd of 16,530 in singing the winner, and the scoreboard was shot off so there would be rockets' red glare. (The Sox are also afraid the mechanism may rust from disuse: Chicago isn't getting that many homers this year.)
"You know, I really would have preferred America the Beautiful" Mitch said wistfully. "It's so much more expressive of what our country stands for."
GOING TO THE DOGS
Sport and travel are what's happening with contests. Prizes, for instance, include a fishing trip to Norway, an African safari, a worldwide golf tour, sports cars, motorboats, campers, you name it.
Except nowadays contests are called sweepstakes. This means you don't have to write 25 words or less anymore. All you have to do is send in a label, or facsimile thereof, and fill out a coupon. They don't even ask you to please print.
Take the Red Heart dog food "Native Land" Sweepstakes. Its grand prize is an all-expense 21-day vacation for two to the country where the winning dog's breed originated. Evidently, you leave the dog at home.
For those who own purebreds, there is nothing to it, unless, of course, it is a pug, which comes from China, or a Boston terrier, which will, presumably, get you three weeks in bed, or near there. You just write the dog's origin on the coupon. However, for those with pets of uncertain ancestry a little imagination might help. In those cases, as the folks at Red Heart put it, you should "state what you believe to be the dominant strain." Are you ready, P.O. Box 4455, Chicago, Ill. 60677? Would you believe Jamaican deerhound? Tahitian terrier? Bahamian retriever?
ASTROS UP, COHEN DOWN
If you should happen to feel like asking Sammy Cohen, proprietor of Las Vegas' Santa Anita Race and Sports Book, how he's feeling these days—don't ask. At the beginning of the baseball season a sportsman came into the Santa Anita and bet $200 on the entry of Houston and New York to win the National League pennant, and Sammy was giving 100 to 1. If the Astros, who are now only three games out of—if you'll pardon the expression, Sammy—first place, should win it, Sammy's out $20,000.
A SOUND STEP
During the past decade we have published a number of articles by Staff Writer Alice Higgins excoriating the abuses practiced on the Tennessee Walking Horse. As Miss Higgins has written, unscrupulous trainers and owners have learned that if a Walking Horse's front feet are sore, he will lift them abruptly from the ground and shift his weight to his hindquarters, which enhances the breed's desired gait. Soreing is usually done by using chains or tacks inside the quarter boot or by applying a burning agent to the pastern area, such as oxide of mercury salve, known as "creeping cream," or an oil of mustard mixture called "scooting juice," or by driving a nail into the tender part of the hoof.
Although several states prohibit the showing of horses that have been tortured or cruelly treated, these provisions have, regrettably, been unavailing.
Senator Joseph D. Tydings, whose own state, Maryland, has such a statute, has decided it is high time to make a federal case out of it. He has introduced a bill forbidding the interstate shipment of horses that have been abused for the purpose of altering their natural gait. In his remarks to the Senate, Tydings used Miss Higgins' language to describe soreing and had one of her articles read into the Congressional Record.
We congratulate our Miss Higgins, applaud Senator Tydings and respectfully request that the President interest himself in the speedy passage of the bill. After all, his favorite mount when he is down on the LBJ Ranch is a Tennessee Walking Horse.
We bet you've always wanted to know how to catch a porcupine, now haven't you?
Well, the Ontario Lands and Forests Department has some tips for the trepid. We quote from one of their hunting bulletins: "It is best to wait until the porcupine is in the open. Then, watching for his slapping tail, rush in quickly and pop a large washtub over him.
"Thus you have something to sit on while you plan your next move."
Sport, we have been told, builds character. Alas, too often it merely builds characters who play little games like "me first."
It is therefore heartening to relate the altruism of Bob Kiskaddon and Andy Evriviades of Allegheny College. Allegheny was walloping Washington and Jefferson by 30 points in a track meet when Kiskaddon and Evriviades, leading by half a lap in the two-mile run, halted five yards from the finish line to allow W & J's John Scharf to win the race.
It seems the pair had learned that Scharf needed at least a second place to earn his varsity letter.
Although French horses have had notable success in English classic races in recent years, none ran in the Epsom Derby last week, for the very simple reason that Britain has banned the import of horses from the Continent.
The British claim there has been an outbreak of equine anemia, or swamp fever, among French bloodstock. French owners and breeders counter that the mysterious disease has not been officially confirmed as swamp fever and that, if it is, the ban should apply equally to America, as it is known to exist there. Some French horsemen have gone so far as to darkly suggest that Britain's real motive is to inhibit the expansion of French bloodstock sales, and so damage French prestige in the U.S., the world's most lucrative market.
Whatever the reason, the best 3-year-old in France wouldn't have crossed the Channel in any event. He is Hauban, owned by Mme. Jean Stern, the widow of the French banker. In 1910, M. Stern was competing in a fencing tournament in London and lost a match he thought the director ought to have awarded to him. He vowed that his colors would never appear on a British track. "The English acted in a vulgar manner," says Mine. Stern, who continues to respect his wishes.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
How can you ever forget Roy Riegels, who ran the wrong way for California in the 1929 Rose Bowl, now that his son, Dick, is on Cal's freshman crew—the one sport in which every competitor save the coxswain goes backwards?
One day late in 1964 John S'Dao of Brooklyn withdrew his life savings of $2,116 from the bank, went to Aqueduct, bet on all nine races, lost and, penniless, tried to commit suicide.
Not only did he recover, but he is now suing the New York Racing Association to recover his $2,116, on the grounds that he was a mere lad of 20 the day he went to the Big A, and a minor is not bound by any contract. Of course, a minor is also not permitted to bet.
Said Judge Fred G. Moritt, who is hearing the motion: "Sympathy does not go out to one who tries to welsh after betting on nine nags and loses, but the law clearly states that anyone who is under 21 must be protected against their own folly and foolhardiness."
Said S'Dao's attorney: "It is a well-defined principle of law that anyone who contracts with an infant does so at his own peril, and we maintain that the New York Racing Association is not immune from the law."
Said Judge Moritt, who reserved decision: "This case might make it necessary to change the law."
You said it, Judge. If S'Dao wins, we envision a lot of fathers taking their infants to the track to bet for them.
THEY SAID IT
•Chico Salmon, taking over at shortstop for the Cleveland Indians after injuries shelved Larry Brown, Dick Howser and Tony Martinez, asked his most difficult position: "Sitting. I want to play. My best position? I don't know. Never played anyplace long enough to find out. I'm always utility, utility, utility. Where is that, man?"