The Congressional inquiry into the latest NCAA-AAU dispute is pointless, says one weary observer of the amateur scene. "Everyone says the two groups should sit down and work, out their differences," he says, "but that's where we keep going wrong. We can't have two groups. We're the only country in the world that does not have one administrative body governing amateur sport. As long as we have two, no matter what sort of temporary peace they work out, there'll be trouble.
"But neither the AAU nor the NCAA has the right to be that sole body. The AAU is an anachronism. It was organized a century ago to protect amateurs from professional inroads, but by the first decades of this century it was obvious that most amateur sport was in schools and colleges. The scholastic groups should have taken over, but the AAU leaders were—and still are—jealous of their position and refused to let go. They had a powerful weapon: the AAU is the U.S. body recognized by international federations. That's the only reason the AAU has any authority at all today.
"O.K. The NCAA should have become the nucleus of a new organization 50 years ago, but it's too late now. The NCAA has forfeited its position as an amateur authority because its prime responsibility today is the stability and financial well-being of big-time college football and basketball, which are essentially professional sports. Nothing wrong with that; it's not a sin to be a pro. But the financial problems of football and basketball—the arenas, season ticket sales, lucrative TV contracts, recruiting costs, coaches' salaries, distribution of income—are incompatible with the problems of administering the nonprofessional sports, including track and field and swimming, the two most important Olympic events.
"The solution? The AAU should be disbanded. The NCAA should establish a separate division devoted entirely to big-time football and basketball. The remainder of the NCAA and the NAIA and the other scholastic and club associations should reorganize into one federation which would have international affiliations and jurisdiction over all amateur sport in the U.S.
"It may sound farfetched and impractical, but it is the only solution if we are interested in the future health of amateur sport in this country."
This has to have happened somewhere before. Bellefontaine (Ohio) High School's basketball team had a 5'10" guard named Long and a 6'5" center named Short.
It is a verity: when a politician talks about sport he makes a fool of himself. He also makes headlines, which is What he wants in the first place. Eighteen Congressmen have signed a letter asking that Lee Elder, a black, be invited to the Masters Tournament. No black has ever competed in the event, an unpleasant fact of life that has been well publicized in the past. The letter, sent to Tournament Chairman Clifford Roberts, says, "Surely if a man such as Lee Elder can play in South Africa [which he has]...there can be no possible justification for him and others of his race not to play at Augusta."
Elder is a good golfer, but under the Masters' rules of eligibility for inviting U.S. pros (top 16 in the U.S. Open, top eight in the PGA Championship and the like) he has not yet qualified. The categories were altered a year ago to allow winners of regular tour events to compete this year, a further opening of the door to blacks. None have yet qualified, but inevitably—most likely in the next year or so—one or more will.
The point is, no artificial barrier keeps blacks out of the Masters, regardless of what the Congressmen imply. What they ask is that an arbitrary new qualification category be added: one black man. This is both reverse racism and an affront to. the superior black athletes who will be making it to the Masters on their own talents in the very near future.
CHECKS AND BALANCES
Hotels in the famous ski resort country around Banff, Alberta had a difficult time this winter finding enough people to work as waiters, maids and dishwashers. Ordinarily the hotels have a plentiful labor supply among young people from places like Calgary and Edmonton in the neighboring plains to the east. Not this year. Ivor Petrack, manager of the Banff Springs Hotel, says, "They work for four weeks and then quit."
What they did then was take to the slopes and ski. Some began to wear the letters UIC on their parkas. It became an insiders' joke to refer to the UIC ski team. UIC? That stands for Unemployment Insurance Commission, the department of the Canadian government that issues unemployment checks.
Ho, ho. Funny joke. But the joke came to an end last week when Robert Andras, Minister for Manpower, told the House of Commons in Ottawa that 32 unemployment claimants from Edmonton and Calgary had asked the UIC to send their checks to them in care of the Banff Springs Hotel. Commons was not amused. One thing led to another, the unemployment checks were no longer redirected to Banff and the UIC ski team more or less disbanded.
"The labor situation has improved," says Ivor Petrack.
Broadcasting magazine says major league baseball will receive $42 million for radio and TV rights in 1973, with that figure apt to go higher if plans go through for Mutual Broadcasting to do a game of the week on radio beginning in July. Of the total, $18 million comes from NBC for the World Series, pennant playoffs, All-Star Game and game of the week telecasts. The remaining $24 million is the sum received locally by individual clubs. The Dodgers have the most lucrative deal, $1.8 million, with the Phils a surprising second at $1.6 million. The Reds and Yanks are at $1.3 million, the Mets at $1.25 million. The lowest reported figure was Milwaukee's $600,000. The National League teams will pick up almost $3 million more from local contracts than the American League.
DO OR DIE FOR SONNY
Sonny Werblin, the onetime show biz agent who more or less invented Joe Namath, the New York Jets and the American Football League, is now interested in inventing New Jersey. Heretofore, New Jersey has been little more—in sport, anyway—than a level, sometimes stagnant stretch of ground between New York and Philadelphia in which lie Jersey City, Newark and Princeton, among other cultural advantages. Werblin wants to turn it into a sports colossus. He is one of the prime movers of the New Jersey Sports Complex, a dream that hopes to come alive in the Jersey Meadows (a euphemism for swamp), which lie a few miles west of New York City. Jersey already has plans for a football stadium and racetrack there and assurances from the New York Giants that they will play in the stadium when it is ready—which Werblin hopes will be in 1975.
Werblin, a mover, assumes the Sports Complex will come into being on schedule and that in time the football stadium and racetrack will be joined by a baseball park and an indoor coliseum. A practical man, he also feels that having a pro football team on Sunday is not enough. He wants college football on Saturday. The logical school is nearby Rutgers, Werblin's alma mater, but Rutgers has trouble filling its own 23,000-seat stadium. Werblin, a member of the school's board of governors, wants to upgrade Rutgers football so that when the stadium is ready, Rutgers will be, too.
"Last year I saw Nebraska play Kansas," he says, "and there must have been 11 New Jersey boys in the game. Every year New Jersey has 30 boys on all-conference teams around the country. We want to keep them home. We're not about to lower academic standards to get football players, but I don't think there is anything morally wrong in having student athletes receive athletic scholarships."
Don't sell Werblin short. You might even apply now for tickets to the 1980 Nebraska-Rutgers showdown in the Sports Complex.
The Department of Fisheries in the State of Washington tags salmon in order to learn more about the migratory habits of these splendid fish. It pays $3 for the return of each tag with information as to where it was found. Alan Yanofsky of New York City dutifully returned a tag with an explanatory note:
"Enclosed is a tag that came off a salmon. I found it when I bit into my sandwich. It came to me in a can of salmon. Please send the $3."
VOTE FOR BUSH
Clarence Campbell, president of the National Hockey League, is 67 and ailing and may soon give up his pressing duties to accept a more or less honorary post as commissioner of the NHL. The commissioner—a new title for hockey—would be something like the president in West Germany or Italy: the nominal head of state, a ceremonial figurehead. The practical work of running hockey would remain in the president's office but be assigned to a younger, more vigorous man.
The logical younger, more vigorous man to succeed Campbell appears to be Walter Bush, president of the Minnesota North Stars. The 43-year-old Bush, a lawyer, played hockey at Dartmouth and has run Junior Olympic, Olympic, amateur, minor league and major league hockey teams with notable success. He would almost certainly establish his office in New York, where baseball, football and basketball already have their headquarters.
His selection would be a departure for the NHL, which up to now has had a Canadian as top man and the league office in Canada. But 13 of the 16 NHL franchises are in the U.S., New York is the most advantageous place for a sports headquarters to be, and Bush is the best man for the job.
GOING TO THE DOGS
William Kerbe, an animal control officer (used to be called dogcatcher) in Maryland, says that he and his assistants had to destroy six dogs recently because they were running wild. "They're like wolves," he says of the wild dogs he encounters more and more frequently. In rural areas the dogs start by killing rabbits and small animals and then graduate to sheep and cattle. In towns and cities they forage for food behind houses and apartments, mostly by knocking over garbage cans.
"I'm a lover of dogs," Kerbe says, "but the dog population today—people can't understand this—is exploding on us." He says the ratio of newborn cats and dogs to newborn children is 20 to 1. Puppies are cuddly and cute, he concedes, but people who find themselves stuck with a houseful of half-grown pups all too often will abandon them in isolated areas. When the abandoned dogs reach maturity they are totally unmanageable—dangerous, in other words—and must be destroyed.
"Spaying is the only answer," Kerbe says, "especially for house pets."
THEY SAID IT
•Russell (Sox) Walseth, Colorado basketball coach named Big Eight Conference coach of the year, on why he called two consecutive time-outs without resumption of play in a game with Missouri: "During the first time-out I got everybody on my team so thoroughly confused I had to call another one right away to straighten things out."
•Al Rossi, veteran basketball official, counseling a group of apprentice referees: "The first thing to remember is never to say, 'Our out!' "
•Mike Andrews of the Chicago White Sox, on the aging Detroit Tigers: "They are a collection of designated pinch hitters."