Some reports said 100,000 people turned out in Vienna to welcome Karl Schranz home. Others held that it was only 40,000. But all agreed it was the biggest Austrian mob scene since Adolf Hitler dropped by in March 1938. Alpine skier Schranz, thrown out of the Winter Olympics by Avery Brundage and the International Olympic Committee for alleged professionalism, had suddenly become a bigger hero than if he had come home with three gold medals. The outburst apparently was not so much love for the popular "Karly," who had competed in three previous Winter Games without taking a gold, as it was a sudden flowering of national hatred—for Brundage, for the U.S., for anyone who was not 100% outraged by the ouster. Even Schranz, who had been taken in tow by alert politicians, was startled by the roaring crowd when he appeared on the balcony of the Austrian Chancellery. "But I haven't won anything," he kept muttering.
The mass hysteria had been fanned all week in the press and on radio and TV, so much so that when someone wondered why Gerd Bacher, head of Austria's state-owned radio-television, was standing with Schranz on the balcony, a cynical journalist replied, "Why not? After all, he's the producer."
The next morning Austrians generally seemed chagrined and even a bit frightened by the emotional display, and the press, making a neat 180° turn, sternly admonished the people for such flagrant displays of aggression.
February 21, 1972
When the ABA holds its five-round draft of college players this Monday, each team will be allowed to select one underclassman (SCORECARD, Feb. 14). A well-known ABA official, who insists on anonymity, says that any underclassmen picked in the draft will already have been approached by the drafting team, usually through an agent, and will have signed or promised to sign a contract. Having an agent makes a player ineligible for college competition. Can't the NCAA enforce that rule?
"No," says the ABA man. "Last year they only cracked down on Howard Porter, but almost all the other players had been in touch with the pros before their seasons were over.
"We're simply not going to waste a draft pick on a kid who doesn't want to turn pro now. If you see a kid's name mentioned, you can be pretty sure his agent has talked contract with the pros."
THE SIGN OF CASEY
Retired and in his 80s, Casey Stengel still dominates baseball conversations, even when he is not there. The other day oldtimer Frank Skaff was talking about the hit and take signs Casey had back in the days when he managed the Brooklyn Dodgers. Casey was sore because his players kept missing the signs, and Skaff had to get up at a team meeting and recite them. They went like this:
"If I'm looking at you, you're hitting.
"If I'm walking away from you and spitting, you're hitting.
"If I'm looking at you and spitting, you're not hitting.
"If I'm walking away and not spitting, you're not hitting."
RED MAN SEES RED
The recent move by American Indian groups to persuade professional and college teams to abandon Indian nicknames and symbols on the grounds that they are racially offensive has struck some observers as overreaction. Old familiar Wild West terms like braves, tomahawk, scalp, warpath and the like seem totally inoffensive. What are the Indians getting uptight about?
A letter recently printed in The Sporting News may help to explain. The writer, part Indian himself, said, "[Your writers] suggest that all Indians should feel a sense of pride and honor for being chosen team symbols by the great white owners of sports. They should be proud of being ranked alongside wild animals such as the lion, tiger and bear and birds of prey like the eagle and hawk. Not to mention being listed among such great Indian lovers as the Patriots, 76ers, Yankees, Colonels and Cowboys.... They speak of America's respect for the Indian's courage, integrity and heritage. They must be kidding! The only reason teams began using Indians as team caricatures is because, to America, the Indian is symbolic of savagery, scalping, burning and looting."
CLOCKS AND ZONES
After having his team use a tedious slowdown only to lose to Brigham Young 57-53 in double overtime, Coach Don Haskins of Texas El Paso came out in favor of college basketball adopting a 30-second clock similar to that used by the pros, whereby a team has to get off a shot within 30 seconds or give up the ball. Haskins said, "I go along with the professionals: install a shot clock and do away with zone defenses. I think we should get over the idea that it is shameful to ape the pros. We should do what we think is best for the future of college ball. Against BYU we had no choice but to employ a deliberate offense. It was our sole chance to win. If they had played man-to-man, we wouldn't have sat on the ball. But they were in a zone except for the last few minutes. You can't condemn a slowdown offense without condemning the zone defense, too."
A movie theater in Los Angeles that was showing a closed-circuit telecast of the Lakers-Bucks game earlier this month had the following billing on its marquee: SEE THE BUCKS-LAKERS FRIDAY FEB. 4, THE GANG THAT COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT.
CHRIS EVERT AGAIN
When 17-year-old Chris Evert beat Billie Jean King last week in a tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., it was less a tennis match than a happening. Chris lives in Fort Lauderdale, and before the match kids from her high school followed her 10-year-old brother John in a snake dance around the court. They carried posters praising their heroine while nuns from the school, St. Thomas Aquinas, wore tags that read WE LOVE YOU, CHRIS. Spectators, most of them rooting for Miss Evert, filled the 3,300 seats of the arena 45 minutes before the match and spilled over onto the roof of a nearby apartment building.
Mrs. King had her supporters, too. The other professionals (the match was the finals of the $25,000 Tennis Club Women's International, a stop on the Virginia Slims tournament circuit) wanted her to win, and the Palm Aire Tennis Club in nearby Pompano Beach, which Mrs. King represents on the tour, sent an airplane over the arena with a banner reading BILLIE JEAN, WE LOVE YOU. SORRY WE DON'T HAVE A BAND.
The untennislike atmosphere was part of a "planned spontaneous demonstration," according to the promotion-minded Mrs. King. "Tennis needs more pageantry," she said after the match. "The only thing that bothered me was the umpire telling the crowd to be quiet."
The last time the two met was in the U.S. Open last September, on the grass at Forest Hills, when the No. 1-ranked Mrs. King broke the youngster's 46-match winning streak. This time Mrs. King was under par physically, and on the artificial turf she was obliterated 6-1, 6-0. "It was the worst defeat I've suffered since I was 11 and still serving underhand," Mrs. King said. She had planned to unnerve Chris with chops, slices and spins. "But I couldn't," she said. "When your timing is off, forget it." Miss Evert was more succinct. "I played real well," she explained, "and Billie Jean didn't play real well."
Even so, the professional Mrs. King won a second-place check for $3,000 and a diamond necklace. Chris, the amateur, received a kiss and some roses.
This may or may not be a comment on the inexorable way a bureaucracy grows, but it is interesting to note that whereas the National Football League took two tedious days to conduct its draft of college football players, the Canadian Football League last week ran off its draft in exactly 57 minutes.
Of course, the pro football bureaucrats do achieve a rather precise knowledge of college players whom no one except their mothers have ever heard of. Evidence of this is to be found in a study of players drafted from the Western Athletic Conference. Headlines did not matter. Texas El Paso, which finished last in the conference with a 1-6 record, had seven players chosen in the draft, two more than league champion Arizona State. And New Mexico, which finished second, had no players drafted at all. The pros must know something.
THURBER TO VEECK TO KELLEY
The Baltimore Colts, smarting from their failure to reach the Super Bowl this year, have been given some deadpan advice from a Colt fan named Mark Alan Kelley. His letter to the Baltimore front office says, "I have decided to help the Colts win the Super Bowl next year by using a new type of offense. This offense I have invented is called the 'M. Alan Kelley Midget Offense.' Next year you should recruit two or three very small but well-built midgets and one large man of the greatest possible strength. The offense consists simply of giving the ball to the midgets and having the big, strong man throw the midget with the ball as far downfield as possible. I believe with sufficient padding and training on how to land, that the midget could avoid injury. This offense should be good for five yards any time it is run. You need not worry about someone intercepting the midget because it would be forward progress where they catch him.
"You could also devastate the rest of the AFC with the 'M. Alan Kelley Midget Defense.' In this defense you have each of the three linebackers throw a midget at the opposing quarterback as soon as he receives the snap. If the initial impact didn't knock the quarterback down, the midgets could hold on to his arms until he could be tackled. It would be very difficult to pass or hand the ball off with midgets hanging all over you.
"I will be starting college next year, so any compensation for this original idea would be very welcome. I think $15,000 would be a fair price for a Super Bowl championship. All the way in '73!"
Basketball star Henry Bibby has known nothing but national championships at UCLA. This year he is the only senior on another unbeaten and top-ranked team. Even so, he admitted recently that he would have been happier if he had stayed home in North Carolina and gone to little Guilford College instead. "I'm not knocking Coach John Wooden or the program," he said. "They've been great. But if I had known the trauma and the frightening experiences I would undergo in my first year and a half at UCLA I would never have gone."
Bibby said he was "scared stiff" by a campus whose student enrollment is seven times greater than the population of Franklinton, N.C., his hometown. "Back home all you did was play ball and kiss your girl. I was more of a small-town boy than I realized."
Bibby, a 6'1" sharpshooting guard, said yes, he'd like to play professional basketball. But not in Los Angeles, New York or Chicago. He'd prefer to play back home, for the Carolina Cougars.
THEY SAID IT
•Bobby Knight, Indiana basketball coach, on refusing to shake hands with controversial Bill Musselman of Minnesota after Indiana's 61-42 win last week: "My feeling dates from our earlier game this season with Minnesota. It's because of certain discourteous incidents."
•John Brodie, San Francisco 49er quarterback: "There is no truth to the rumor that I tried to shoot myself after the Dallas game and the bullet was intercepted."
•Babe McCarthy, Memphis Pros basketball coach, objecting to an official's call: "If that was a foul, I hope the Lord strikes me down right here on the spot.... See, I told you."