KNOCKING THE STUFFING OUT
The National Basketball Committee of the U.S. and Canada, which regulates the college game, met in Louisville last week and banned dunking or stuffing the ball. Its reasons: 1) there is no defense against the dunk, which upsets the balance between offense and defense, 2) players injure themselves trying it and 3) break backboards and bend rims.
There is no defense against the 25-foot jumper, either. What the committee is upset about is Lew Alcindor. Gentlemen, it isn't going to work. In fact, Alcindor will now have an even greater advantage—on defense. You had little chance of getting a layup under Alcindor; the onliest hope was to go right at him and try a dunk. Moreover, the Alcindors and Elvin Hayeses can just as easily drop the ball in from a foot or two off. It's the shorter men in the game who are going to be hurt by the rule.
The dunk is the most flamboyant play in basketball, and as its master, Wilt Chamberlain, says, "It takes a lot of moves, agility, timing, coordination—it's not just a big man's tool." Indeed, it's a shame the fans won't have the thrill of seeing Calvin Murphy stuff some. Murphy, Niagara's 5'10" freshman, spent two years practicing with weights on his ankles to develop enough spring to dunk the ball with two hands.
Another fault with the new rule is that it gives the officials yet another judgment call. How are they going to decide if a man's hand is six inches, eight inches or 12 inches from the basket when he releases the ball?
We don't have the statistics on dunking injuries, but as Ray Meyer, the De Paul coach, points out, "Backboards aren't broken and rims aren't bent in games. It happens in pregame warmups. And it isn't the tall players who do the damage. It's the player that's 6'1" or 6'2". He'll never dunk in a game, but he gets out there in a warmup and that's all he really wants to do."
As Tex Winter, the Kansas State coach says: "It's one thing to dunk the ball in a warmup, but it takes an exceptional player to do it in a game. Why don't they just outlaw it in the warmups?"
And what about Pete Newell's idea of raising the basket to 12 feet?
The following item appeared in The Student, the Amherst College newspaper:
"If God had wanted you to smoke he would have put a chimney on top of your head."—Prof. James E. Ostendarp to varsity football candidates.
"If God had wanted you to play football he would have put a helmet on your head."—a freshman to nobody in particular.
HOT MONEY (CONT.)
Last week we reported that the Texas A&M-SMU football game, which is traditionally played in November, will, at the request of ABC-TV, take place this year on Sept. 16. "For one reason," said Hayden Fry, the SMU football coach and athletic director, "and that's money. There's not anything else good about it as far as I'm concerned."
Now we learn that ABC also approached Missouri, asking it to switch its game with SMU from Sept. 23 to Sept. 16, so it could be nationally televised. For the simple reason that classes at Missouri don't begin until Sept. 21, Athletic Director Don Faurot turned ABC down. "We try to operate our athletic program for the benefit of our students," Faurot said. "It's our policy not to have any kind of game when our students are not on the campus. We sell more than 10,000 student football tickets, and it wouldn't be fair to play a game when most of those ticketholders wouldn't be around. We're poor, we need money, but we still have some principles left."
Missouri's share of the TV fee would have been $35,733.31. The remainder of the net of $160,800 (the NCAA takes $6,700 off the top) would have been divided among the other seven conference schools, the Big Eight system being that 2/9 of the TV fee goes to the team playing and 1/9 to each of the other schools.
Since he was depriving his fellow conference members of revenue, Faurot discussed his decision with Wayne Duke, the Big Eight commissioner. Happily, Duke also subscribes to the antiquated notion that collegiate athletics are for collegians.
LISTEN, MY CHILDREN...
At 11 p.m. on April 18,1775, Paul Revere set out on his celebrated ride. At 11 p.m. on April 18, 1967 the Paul Revere Pace will get under way at New York's Roosevelt Raceway. So what's the big deal? As Joey Goldstein, Roosevelt's peerless publicist, puts it: "I now wish to present to you what I consider our outstanding bit of equine historical research—the almost indisputable fact that Paul Revere rode a pacer on his memorable mission."
Artists have generally portrayed Revere galloping on a white horse (in the nighttime) or on a black horse (in the daytime). However, according to Joey's "verification, authentication and substantiation," Revere was pacing on a swift, tireless little sorrel mare of a breed known as the Narragansett pacer.
Revere described his mount as "a very good horse." It is known that she was the finest animal owned by John Larkin, one of Charlestown's leading citizens, and the best horses in New England at the time were the Narragansett pacers, as famous in their day (ca. 1700-ca. 1840) as the Morgan horse was a century later.
The Rev. James McSparran, rector of the Narragansett church from 1721 until his death in 1759, wrote in America Dissected (1751) that the pacers could do a mile "in a little more than two minutes [and could] perform a journey of one hundred miles a day, without injury to themselves or rider." Esther Forbes, in her Pulitzer Prize biography, Paul Revere (1942), described the Narragansett pacer, which was commonly colored sorrel, as being one of New England's principal exports—the main market was the West Indies—and "a cheerful and gay companion, capable of swimming rivers or taking his glass of cider." Frank Forester, in The Horse of America (1857), told how the breed declined during the Revolutionary War, because trotters could be more readily teamed, and died out in the 19th century.
Perorates Goldstein: "Destroy the canard of a galloping white horse carrying Paul Revere on his journey through Middlesex and give the proper historical attribution to the sorrel pacer. Revere's ride was of 16 miles. We cannot, at Roosevelt, have a race of that distance, but we will have a distance-race program that evening with a feature event of 1½ or two miles."
HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME
A short time back Larry L. Jones Jr., a PR man for a Tijuana jai alai palace, gave the El Cajon (Calif.) Little League $100 to sponsor a team. All he asked was that each boy play an equal amount of time. Jones's check was returned by league officers who said they "didn't want to put any coach or manager in the position of not being able to win."
DON'T QUIT WHEN YOU'RE AHEAD
Three weeks ago we told you about the students at Northwestern tossing 319,-020 pennies in the air to see which way they would land, and how 160,136—or 50.2%—turned up heads.
As a result we learned that one of our readers is Professor John B. Hart, chairman of the physics department of Xavier University in Cincinnati, who informs us that, although betting on the toss of a coin looks like a 50-50 proposition, it isn't. If two people flip a coin a certain number of times and bet on heads or tails, the probability of a change in who's winning becomes less the more often the coin is flipped, even though the probability of heads equaling tails increases with each toss. But before it becomes 50-50 one player probably will be broke.
For example, Pat and Mike are flipping coins for a dollar a toss. Suppose they agree to a game of 100 tosses, with Pat having heads. One outcome could be that Pat wins 52 tosses and Mike 48, which means that the probability of the coin coming up tails was .48 and that Pat wins $4. Now Mike, trying to get out of the hole, proposes a little game of a million tosses, with Pat still having heads. One outcome could be that Pat wins 510,000 tosses and Mike 490,000, which means that the probability was .49, which is pretty close to .50, but Mike has lost $20,000!
It would probably take Mike at least another million tosses to have a ghost of a chance of getting even, and he could just as easily be $40,000 in the hole. So, as Professor Hart says, the lesson seems to be: if you're winning, keep playing, and if you're losing, get out.
And if you're still not convinced, Professor William Feller of Princeton has shown that if 20 couples get together to flip a coin a second, day and night, at the end of a year one player will have been ahead for 364 days and 14 hours.
Readers often wonder why we don't pick All-America teams in this sport or that. Perhaps the following will provide a partial answer. The American Hockey League coaches voted for a Most Valuable Player and an All-Star team. The MVP was Center Mike Nykoluk of the Hershey Bears. The All-Star center was Gordon Labossiere of the Quebec Aces.
In the balloting for MVP, each of the nine coaches had one vote, and Nykoluk got four. In the balloting for the All-Star team, the coaches gave five points to the players they picked for the first team, three points to those on the second team, and they couldn't vote for their own players. Nykoluk got two firsts and four seconds for 22 points and was relegated to the second team. Labossiere got six first-place votes and one second for 33 points. Anything else you want cleared up?
Maine's Washington County is famous for Quoddy Head, the easternmost point in the continental U.S., for blueberries and for being the only place in the U.S. where you can catch Atlantic salmon. The county also includes Jonesport, the smallest (pop. 1,500) town in the world to support—in a manner of speaking—a weekly professional boxing show.
The bouts are held in the Jonesport Opera House, which, in fact, once housed operas, as well as chautauquas and town meetings, but in recent years has served as a storehouse for sea moss, a variety of seaweed used in the manufacture of a cooking extract. A year ago, Bert S. Look II, Jonesport's leading businessman, bought the building for $1,500, spent another $43,000 for renovation and opened with Beano on Wednesdays, roller skating on Thursdays, a teen-age dance on Fridays, movies followed by an old-fashioned dance on Saturdays—and for the past few Tuesdays, boxing.
The fighters come mostly from a Job Corps Center on Mt. Desert Island, 60 miles away—that is, when the power steering on the bus doesn't give out, as it did the other Tuesday, while Sheldon Smith, Look's matchmaker, manager of the Job Corps boxers and bus driver, was on the way to town.
The fighters get $100 for a main event, $40 or $50 for a semifinal and $25 for a prelim; seats cost $2 and $2.50, and the Opera House holds 505 for boxing. The first show drew 91 paid, the second 98, but Look is undaunted. After all, WCMS in Machias (pop. 1,523) broadcast both shows, and, as he says, "They need someone around here to start things."
THEY SAID IT
•A. J. Foyt, on suggestions that stock-cars be slowed down by mechanical alterations: "Race cars are built to run fast. If you want to slow up, all you have to do is lift that foot."
•Chuck (Bobo) Brayton, Washington State baseball coach, on the outlook for his Cougars, who were 6-1 at week's end: "Well, we're pitching pretty good, but we have absolutely no speed on the bases. We're dog-slow. This hasn't been hurting us, however, because we're hitting so poorly we never get anyone on base. Unless one of our kids gets called for delay of the game carrying his bat back to the dugout, we'll be all right."
•Ingar Kwak, Dutch ornithologist who is assisting in the Torrey Canyon sea-bird rescue: "I know my name is about the best I could have for the job."
•Leon Wagner, asked how he feels about the Cleveland Indians platooning him in left field: "I'm pretending this pontooning ain't happening. When I don't play I pretend there's no game. It makes spring training go faster."