IN AND OUT
Upset by UCLA and humiliated by Notre Dame, USC lost again last week when nine of its football players, including its top receiver, its safety and its punter, were declared ineligible for the Rose Bowl. All nine are junior-college transfers, and the NCAA has ruled that a junior-college transfer must have accumulated 48 semester hours of credit or 24 hours with a grade of B or better to play in a bowl game, which is an NCAA-approved event. The nine USC players failed to meet these standards.
There is little question but that the rule is directed against California, which has 72 junior colleges—nearly twice as many as any other state. If the California junior-college system had been created merely to funnel athletes into the universities, the rule would make good sense, but 60% of California high school graduates who go to college go to junior college. Because most states lag behind California in the caliber of their junior colleges, many out-of-state educators peremptorily downgrade junior-college education. Thus, when Californians have tried to get the required average reduced from B to C, they've been unable to muster enough votes.
Since we feel academic requirements are often too low, we're not greatly upset by the NCAA's standards. What bothers us is what appears to be a double standard. It makes no sense that a team is chosen for a bowl because of the contributions of all of its players and that on Jan. 2 only some of them may play.
HORSE OF ANOTHER COLOR
It has been reliably reported that Buckpasser, who was recently voted Horse of the Year, will be tried on grass next summer, and if he handles it will go for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes or the Arc de Triomphe. If such is the case, he will be the first truly superior horse we have sent to Europe in 50 years. For example, we have tried to win the Arc with good mile-and-a-quarter horses, like Career Boy, Carry Back and Tom Rolfe, but none of these had ever won at a mile and a half, so how could we have expected them to do so running uphill and downhill on grass over a strange course? Buckpasser is a horse of another color. Not only has he shown he can run on any surface from Chicago's concrete-fast strip to the goo at Aqueduct, but he has won handily at distances up to two miles.
The French may be breeding the best horses in the world for a mile and a half and over, but if Ogden Phipps does send Trainer Eddie Neloy, Jockey Braulio Baeza and Buckpasser to Longchamp, we'd like to get a bundle of francs down on that magnificent nose.
Among the rules adopted for January's supergame between the NFL and AFL champions is that two footballs will be used. When the NFL team is on offense it will use the official NFL ball, and when the AFL is on offense it will use the official AFL ball. Fair enough? Uh-uh, says Babe Parilli, quarterback of the Boston Patriots, who played for Green Bay and Cleveland in the NFL. According to Parilli, the AFL ball is slightly fatter than the NFL's, which makes it easier to kick but—aha!—harder to throw. That does it—the NFL has got to win.
TEE AND SYMPATHY
It is generally an ill wind that blows around the golf courses of northern California. Take the case of Hal Hillman of San Francisco, who some time ago watched helplessly as a westerly carried his lofty, sliced drive into a parking lot. When he went to retrieve his ball he discovered it had made a perfect crater in the hood of a brand-new car. Hillman did what any responsible citizen would have done in such a situation: he left his card with a note saying that he would gladly pay for repairs. In due course Hillman received the following reply from the owner of the damaged car, a lady:
"Dear Mr. Hillman: I wouldn't dream of having that dent removed. It is such a lovely reminder that others have the same problems I do. I hope your slice is improving."
TO THE REAR, MARCH
Since it is generally conceded that baseball games often drag on and on and on, the American League, in all its wisdom, has changed its rule on managers going to the mound to talk to pitchers. Last year a manager had to take out his pitcher the second time he visited him during a game. The new rule permits a manager to colloquize with a pitcher once an inning.
The Christmas catalog of Neiman-Marcus, which is not known for encouraging inconspicuous consumption, contains the following listing: "Skiing days never end with your own ski slope in the back yard. 121' long, 25' wide, 25' high with SkiTrak plastic surface that skis like snow and no snow shoveling. $100,000 complete with lights for night skiing. Toy shop."
None have been sold to date, but there are 13 days until Christmas.
VERDANT YSLES (CONT.)
Two weeks ago we reported that the Skagit County Planning Commission, heedless of the virtues of relatively unspoiled land, had ruled that a $100 million aluminum-reduction foundry could be built on pastoral Guemes Island, which lies off Bellingham, Wash. Although construction is still far from a certainty, neighboring Sinclair Island wants out; specifically, it is trying to secede from mainland Skagit County—an unprecedented but legal process. As Sinclair's plea states: "We will feel safer in San Juan County with the remainder of our sister islands...." Cypress, Vendovi and Guemes, the other San Juan islands in Skagit County, are expected to follow suit.
These islands were cut off as a result of the comic-opera Pig War, the last armed confrontation between the U.S. and Great Britain, which was settled in 1872, the only casualty being a boar owned by the Hudson's Bay Company.
In the Oregon Treaty of 1846, the U.S. and Great Britain set the Canadian-American boundary at the 49th parallel, with the provision that the line should drop down between Vancouver Island and the American mainland, and then cut out to the Pacific through the middle of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. Unfortunately, the authors of the treaty hadn't the haziest notion of the multitude of islands and channels thereabouts. The Americans decided that the boundary should run through Haro Strait, west of the San Juans, while the British figured it belonged in Rosario Strait, east of the islands.
In 1859 an American squatter on San Juan Island shot the British pig, which was rooting in his potato patch. Within days, 2,500 troops were braced for action, the Americans encamped at the southern end of San Juan Island, the British at the north. Happily, both sides realized the ridiculous figure they would cut in history and agreed to a 100-man joint military occupancy until a commission could settle the affair.
But the Civil War broke out, and San Juan was forgotten. The soldiers never had it so good. They discovered the hunting, the fishing, the Indian maidens. The idyll ended more than a decade later when the commission, still utterly befuddled, submitted the dispute for arbitration to William I of Germany, who decided in favor of the U.S.
However, the long wrangle over Haro and Rosario straits set a kind of mental boundary line through the heart of the San Juans. When the State of Washington drew up its county lines, it seemed logical to follow the old Pig War boundaries, thus isolating Sinclair, Cypress, Vendovi and Guemes islands. Secession would return these islands to their geographic family and, more significantly, would put them under the protection of a county government—San Juan—that currently is drawing up a land-use plan which would reserve all its islands for residence and recreation.
The Peter Pan peanut butter people have picked an all-star team of NFL rookies, whose common bond is their alleged love of peanut butter. Among its members are Center Pat Killorin of Pittsburgh, whose favorite, we are led to believe, is peanut butter and bananas on rye; Guard Tommy Mack of Los Angeles, peanut butter and lettuce; Defensive Tackle Jerry Shay of Minnesota, peanut butter and tuna; Defensive Back Jim Heidel of St. Louis, toasted peanut butter and marshmallows; Linebacker Don Hansen of Minnesota, peanut butter and pickles; and Defensive Halfback Alvin Randolph of San Francisco, peanut butter, jelly and sausage on crackers.
This is one team that's bound to stick together.
THE NEXT STEP
At 20,320 feet, Mount McKinley is the highest peak in North America; moreover, the prevalence of storms and extreme temperatures—an average of—15° F. in the summer—makes it one of the world's most difficult climbs. Although many climbers have been forced to turn back short of the summit in the summer, a six-man team is going to start up McKinley on Feb. 1. At that time of year the average temperature may well be -30° F., -100° F. is not impossible, and the winds could reach 150 mph. Needless to say, this will be the first winter attempt on the mountain. As the team leader, Gregg Blomberg, 25, of Denver, explains, "A winter ascent of a major peak is the logical next step in mountaineering." He then adds: "Those committed to the climb are motivated by the urge which causes all mountaineers to at times question their sanity. The temptation to shrug off sensible pursuits and go again in search of ourselves has proved too strong to overcome."
The climbers will be flown to a point on the Kahiltna Glacier, 17 walking miles and 14,000 vertical feet from the summit, and their tentative route is the West Buttress. They are allowing themselves 40 days to get to the top—an unhurried approach that is an Alaskan innovation and has led to successful ascents in remote parts of the state.
Other innovations for the McKinley climb are igloos and headlamps. Where snow conditions permit, the climbers will build igloos instead of using tents. "Many a mountaineer," says Blomberg, "has spent a sleepless night in a tent snapping and popping in a 60-mph gale." The headlamps are principally for night packing; there is precious little daylight 2½° from the Arctic Circle, and it must be utilized for actual climbing. Indeed, the sun won't appear over the horizon during the climb; instead, there will be from eight to 11 hours of varying degrees of twilight. The climbers will also undergo cold weather and high-altitude acclimatization, and they have been asked to maintain their homes at 60° F. to increase body fat and improve peripheral blood flow.
Subscribing to Amundsen's philosophy that "the greatest factor in the success of an exploring expedition is the way in which every difficulty is foreseen and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it," the climbers are taking along "books and games with which to entertain ourselves while waiting out storms," as well as indoor toilets. Says Blomberg of the latter: "One member with wide experience made his joining contingent on their inclusion."
FROM RIGHT TO LEFT
Two years ago 368 field goals were kicked in major college games. Last year there were 484. This year there have been 522. Straight-ahead, soccer-style, barefoot, the foot is back in football. Early in the season Bill Shear kicked a 61-yard field goal for Cortland State, a yard short of the record held by Pat O'Dea of Wisconsin (1898). Kurt Zimmerman of UCLA kicked 33 straight extra points this year, and Bunky Henry of Georgia Tech has hit 48 in a row.
But the most memorable kicks of 1966 were made by Fred Milton of Wenatchee Valley College of Wenatchee, Wash, and Oscar Patrick of the West Virginia freshmen. In a game against Yakima Valley, Milton's extra-point kick hit Umpire Dick Clark on the head, knocking off his cap and exposing his bald pate. The ball next caromed off a Yakima player and bounced up and over the crossbar. Alas, the kick was nullified a month later—it should have been ruled dead—and Yakima was declared the winner, 19-18.
Oscar Patrick hails from Coalwood, W. Va., and when he went to Big Creek High School they wouldn't let him kick extra points because Big Creek wound around the goalposts and Oscar always kicked the ball in the creek and somebody had to fetch it.
The day before the Penn State game Oscar hurt his right and kicking leg, so he volunteered to kick left-footed. Coach Howard Tippet took him to a practice field, where three balls had been set up. Oscar kicked the first to the left, the second to the right and the third between the uprights. "You're it," said Tippet.
The next day Oscar got only one try, but that was enough. His extra-point kick, left-footed, beat Penn State 7-6.
We can't recall a competitive walker ever being charged with professionalism. In fact, the only thing we've heard walkers accused of is running. But it seems to us that Charles Newell of Ashland, Ohio, who won the National AAU Junior 35-kilometer walking championship in Kansas City last month, had something going for him. Newell is a postman.
JUST WHAT IT ALWAYS WANTED
An IBM 1401 computer at Columbia University has bested 10 humans in predicting the winners of football games this fall. The computer picked 57 out of 80 games, while the nearest humans, senior Mark Schlesinger and Bridget Leicester, a university secretary, tied for second with 54. By finishing first, the computer won a $25 gift certificate from a neighborhood clothing store.
THEY SAID IT
•Tommy Prothro, UCLA football coach, asked who he picked as No. 1 in the UPI poll: "I don't think we're allowed to say who we voted for. But if I saw a fight that was even, and one guy was running at the end of the fight, I'd vote for the guy that was chasing."
•Bear Bryant, Alabama football coach: "At Alabama everything is based on winning. I would not go for a tie late in a game. I believe my boys would be disappointed in me if I did, because we wouldn't be doing what I preach. Alabama players have a far-reaching influence on young people. Some of those young folks are going off for Vietnam every day, and I hope they aren't going over there for any tie."