Many people are against the amateur sports bill that Senator John Tunney is sponsoring in Congress. They are fearful of intrusion by government into sport, and so are we. But marathon runner Kenny Moore contends the bill is the only reasonable way to end the serious division in American sports administration that has existed for more than half a century. Moore writes: "The absurd sanctioning wars and disqualifications by both the NCAA and AAU in recent years have been the inevitable consequence of this basic schism, and barring a staggering reversal of character, conciliation is not at hand. Mediation in the past by such referees as Douglas MacArthur, Theodore Kheel and Archibald Cox (now assigned to an easier case) failed utterly. The issue is not which do you trust, the private sector or government control. Rather, it is how a solution can be effectively imposed upon the intransigent groups. The Tunney bill trustbusts the AAU's hold on eight Olympic sports, permitting each to be administered by those who know it best. It prohibits the NCAA from arbitrarily disqualifying student athletes from international competition. It is not disruptive, except of those structures that have kept the people in amateur sports at the barricades for so long."
The fear of government meddling in sport is not an idle or capricious one. Consider the Soviet Union, which once again has allowed politics to confound its athletics. After the military coup in Chile overturned the Marxist government of Salvador Allende, the U.S.S.R. called the new rulers "brutal reactionaries" and broke diplomatic relations. Embarrassingly for the Soviets, on Sept. 26 a soccer team from Chile was in Moscow to play the Russians in the first game of a home-and-home series, part of the elimination round competition for the 1974 World Cup. It was a taut game, with the Chileans holding off the superior Soviet team to achieve a 0-0 tie.
But despite intense interest, the match was neither televised nor broadcast in Russia, and newspapers gave only the score and a paragraph or so of details. The situation is decidedly awkward for the Soviet politicians, because the second game between the two countries is scheduled to be played later this autumn in Chile. Obviously, the Soviets would prefer not to go there. But if they don't, they face almost certain elimination from the World Cup.
Southern California Attorney Gary Davidson, a founder and first president of both the American Basketball Association and the World Hockey Association, will shortly move on to his most ambitious project yet—the World Football League.
Davidson envisions an innovative league of 12 teams kicking off on three continents next fall. He says franchises are already being developed in Tokyo, Honolulu, Toronto, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Tampa. Cities under consideration for the remaining sites are London, Osaka, Mexico City, Chicago, Houston, Memphis, Birmingham and Charlotte.
Davidson expects five more owners to join within the next few weeks, each paying more than the founders' rate of $100,000 but a whole lot less than the $12 million it would take to get into the NFL. Already signed up are:
Los Angeles: Davidson.
Tokyo: Steven Arnold, an attorney and player-management specialist who lives in San Francisco.
Honolulu: Ben Hatskin, owner of the WHA's Winnipeg Jets.
Toronto: John Bassett, owner of the Toronto WHA franchise and minority owner in the city's Canadian Football League franchise.
Tampa: Nick Mileti, of the Cleveland Indians, Cavaliers and Crusaders.
New York: Bob Schmertz, owner of the Boston Celtics and majority owner of the New England Whalers.
Boston: Howard Baldwin, president of the Whalers.
In an effort to attract both spectators and TV coverage, the league will avoid scheduling conflicts with the NFL. However, it does plan to compete for established pro players and coaches and upcoming collegiate prospects.
STARS IN HIS EYES
Twelve-year-old George Kinkead of St. Paul, Minn. is a cousin of Billy Cahill, the New Orleans Saints" rookie safety-man. Young George is an intense pro football fan, even to knowing such esoteric things as the salary scale for different positions. He is well aware, for instance, that interior linemen are way down. When the coach of his seventh-grade team put George at guard on offense, the youngster came home muttering, "He's got me playing the position that pays the least."
During his brief but brilliant career Austria's Jochen Rindt was generally conceded to be the most talented road racer in the world. Driving for Roy Winkelmann, Rindt led that racing team to 25 Formula II wins and finished in the top three 49 times. What made this feat so exceptional was that team manager and owner Winkelmann was competing as a private entry against the factory teams of Ferrari, Lotus, Brabham, McLaren, Cooper and Matra, the big guns of European road racing.
At the time of Rindt's death at Monza three years ago, Winkelmann was working on a Formula I car. The effort ceased when Jochen died, and Winkelmann dropped out of racing. Now he is back. He has joined forces with Dan Gurney, currently the manufacturer of the superquick Eagles that dominate Indy-type racing. Gurney will build Formula 5000 cars for Winkelmann to run in the L&M championship series next year, and the two are already thinking ahead to Grand Prix racing in 1975.
Winkelmann brings fascinating credentials to the association. An American born in England, he served in intelligence during the Korean War, studied and taught criminology at San Jose State, developed a thriving armored car business, marketed the wide Wink mirror and then went into racing with Rindt. Among the names being bruited about to drive for Gurney-Winkelmann are Peter Revson, Mario Andretti, Brett Lunger, Carlos Pace and Jochen Maas. Any would enhance the team's chances for success, and Winkelmann may have to develop a new armored car to carry home the loot.
HIGH COST OF DYING
The rising cost of meat has affected dead fish prices. Seriously, folks. Maryland's State Fisheries Administration has a scale of values for dead fish with which it evaluates the dollar cost of fish kill caused by pollution. Under new guidelines, scheduled to go into effect next January, the established prices will be hiked from 10% to 500%, depending on the species offish and its size. Cash value of fish kills in 1971 and 1972 in the state were more than $25,000. Now with the price of four-inch menhaden leaping from 2¢ to 10¢, it's hardly worth polluting anymore.
EVERY ONE A WINNER
Bill Serra of College Athletic Placement Service (SCORECARD, Sept. 24) wishes to correct the impression that he does not take soccer players as scholarship candidates. "Soccer hasn't caught on in spectator appeal in the U.S. as yet," he says, "but there definitely are college scholarships available." And he does handle soccer players. "With a great deal of effort," he adds.
One of the problems, says Serra, is soccer coaches, creators of the all-state list. "Take here in New Jersey, for instance. There are hundreds of all-state soccer players. Each coach picks a couple of kids to nominate and they automatically make the list. They come in here and I ask them, 'You play inside left and shot eight goals in 24 games and you made all-state?" And they did, they have their framed certificates to verify it. Well, the coaches are trying to build up the sport's appeal to the boys, but it lessens the honor to have all-state too easy to achieve."
The following letter arrived the other day for this department.
"I don't know where you obtain your quotes for 'They Said It," but here is one I would like to submit. It has appeared in the Greensboro and Durham newspapers in North Carolina. I have attached a clipping of the quote."
The clipping was taped to the letter at this point. It read:
Mark London, Duke halfback, is the roommate of Quarterback Mark Johnson. A couple of days ago London said of his roommate, "Mark is hardly a dull person. He has three girl friends on campus and one back home, and seems to keep them all happy. He gets around." Well, maybe he did before that statement was made.
Beneath the clipping, the letter went on:
"I hope you give it some consideration for your column. Thank you.
"The one back home."
Last April baseball players from two Virginia high schools got into a fight during a game. One school is predominantly white, the other predominantly black. Witnesses tended to contradict one another, but all agreed that on a pickoff attempt at first base tempers exploded and the fight began. Michael Moore, the batter, and Christopher Swecker, the catcher, moved down the line toward the battle and Swecker received a head cut that required eight stitches. Moore, 18, was arrested and charged with hitting Swecker, 17, with his bat. On Sept. 19 Moore, a black who is now attending St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C. on a baseball scholarship, went before Circuit Court Judge Paul W. Ackiss in Virginia Beach. After a two-hour trial, Judge Ackiss found Moore guilty of malicious assault and sentenced him to four years in prison.
Before passing sentence, the judge said, "All the defense evidence is negative evidence. The defense witnesses said they didn't see anything. The prosecution's evidence is all positive. They say they clearly saw the boy hit with the bat." He told Moore he was guilty of an "unprovoked assault...an act of violence."
Moore's lawyer said the decision was "incredible and unbelievable," and that he would apply for a writ of error from the Virginia Supreme Court. "This happened at a baseball game between two groups of high school students when tempers were flaring. This boy is not a criminal."
AGE MUST HAVE ITS FLING
The minor league version of the Riggs-King match, a $500 winner-take-all confrontation between 62-year-old Byron (Bitsy) Grant, the former Davis Cup star, and 19-year-old Betsy Butler, reaffirmed the dreadful proposition that a good old man is no match for a good young girl. Betsy whupped Bitsy 6-1, 5-7, 6-3. Grant said, "When a tennis player gets to be 62 he's a fool to play singles, and I'm the biggest fool around." Grant's age showed during the match when he was called for a foot fault by a young male linesman. "I've been playing tennis 50 years, since long before you were born," protested Grant. "That still doesn't make you right," retorted the youngster.
Maybe a Riggs-Grant match would put everything back into perspective.
THEY SAID IT
•John McKay, USC football coach, who has been using his son as a starting end: ' They used to yell, 'McKay, you idiot.' Now they holler, There's that idiot McKay playing his idiot son.' "
•Jon Morris, New England Patriot center, in the hospital for knee surgery, asked if he was getting plenty of attention from the nurses: "Nope. Derek Sanderson's down the hall."
•Bob Birdsong, winner of the medium-weight division in the Mr. America contest, on those who use oil to accent their muscles: "You gotta be careful. If you use too much, you look like a glazed doughnut."