THROUGH THE ROOF
There is a genuine fear in Montreal that the Olympic Stadium complex will not be completed in time for the opening day of the Games next July 17. Essential arenas, including the main stadium, will be ready enough for competition to take place—assuming no more work stoppages—but there will be few frills. The much-publicized retractable roof may not be ready, nor the main mast that supports it, nor the landscaping that surrounds the stadium.
"We haven't any time to waste," says Roger Rousseau, head of the organizing committee. "We need all the help we can get." Asked about the stadium roof, he says, "The Games don't need a roof."
Widespread criticism of Olympic planning in Canada is centering now on the fee being paid the architect, Roger Taillibert of France. Reports say that Taillibert's fee, based on a percentage of the cost of construction, may reach $40 million, which would be four times the highest architect's fee ever paid in North America. It is also more than all 1,200 members of the Order of Architects of Quebec made as a group in 1974, which doesn't make things any easier for Montreal's beleaguered Olympic planners.
As Indiana University moved into the final minutes of its resounding 94-78 win over the touring Soviet Union basketball team, a sign appeared in the crowd saying, TODAY THE WORLD, TOMORROW THE BIG TEN.
The firing of Bob Prince as broadcaster of Pittsburgh Pirate games after 28 years on the job moved Red Barber, the doyen of the trade, to comment that there would be little future in the business today for a young Red Barber, who gained his reputation as an impartial reporter. "I was fortunate that I came along at a time when radio was very new," he says. "The clubs, the ad agencies, the sponsors didn't pay that much attention to us. We were allowed to broadcast as we wished. Now, in too many cases, that freedom has been taken away. Reporting has been replaced by selling.
"I feel ours is a sick civilization. All we want to do is sell the merchandise. Our country bows down to the god of Mammon. All money. All power. It doesn't matter if it's the government, the legal profession, broadcasting—it's all the same package. Everybody is contaminated by it. Broadcasting is merely a symptom.
"I'm not happy to see a man fired, but when I saw the story about Prince I said to myself, 'He was fortunate to last 28 years.' There won't be any more who will last that long."
For more than 30 years Eddie Robinson of Grambling has been turning out remarkable football teams and sending star after star into professional ranks. His 244 victories are second only to Bear Bryant's 250 among active college coaches. This season another fine Grambling team is 8-1. And this year, as in all years past, Robinson's Tigers will almost certainly be overlooked by the bowl selection committees.
More pragmatic than Red Barber, Robinson understands the situation. "I'm a believer in the American dream," he says, "and I know it's the all-American dollar that gets things done." He would like the bowl people to know that Grambling attracted 61,571 to the New Orleans Superdome and 46,419 to Houston's Astrodome this season. The game in the Astrodome with Texas Southern drew better than any other college game played that weekend in Texas and its neighboring states. That includes Texas-SMU, Alabama-Mississippi State and LSU-Mississippi.
Even with these figures to argue Grambling's worth at the box office, the realistic Robinson remains conciliatory. "I'd like to get that bowl bid this year," he says, "but if it doesn't happen, then maybe next year." As though to add insult to his own injury, he continues, "I like to think that maybe someday, somebody will say, 'If we can't get anybody else, well, how about Grambling?' "
Judging from the way the bowl committees have acted in the past, that's about how it will have to happen.
There were some magnificent performances at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden last week, but nothing that quite matched an ecdysial event at the Washington International Horse Show a week earlier. It was Halloween night. Someone found a large plastic pumpkin. An idea germinated. Several impish exhibitors chipped in $750 and with it persuaded a rider to carry out their devilish plan. Wearing nothing but boots and the pumpkin, the ghostly figure raced his mount out of the chute, over the jumps and swiftly back into the stable area. The crowd was amused, the horse show committee horrified—more or less. "I haven't a clue who it was," said Show President Bruce Sundlum, who then added, in the spirit of Halloween, "but he was one hell of a rider."
BOY AND GIRLS TOGETHER
In South Bend the final game of the sectional playoffs leading to the Indiana girls' volleyball championships was a one-boy show. Clay High School, with five girls and 6'3" Brian Goralski, creamed Riley High's all-girl team, 15-7.
Brian plays girls' volleyball because 1) he hopes for a volleyball scholarship to Ball State and 2) Clay has no boys' volleyball team and 3) Brian needs a competitive record. Under the constitution of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, a boy or girl cannot be excluded from a sport if his or her school has no program in that sport for his or her sex. The rule was established in 1972 by order of the State Supreme Court after a girl had sued to be allowed to play on a boys' golf team.
Armed with a copy of the Title IX guidelines and the advice of counsel, a two-person contingent from tiny all-girl St. Mary's Academy of South Bend (not a contender), consisting of Principal Paul Deignan and Athletic Director Linda O'Leary, petitioned the commissioner of the IHSAA, Phil Eskew, to issue a directive eliminating boys from the volleyball championships on the grounds that Title IX, being federal legislation, supersedes and invalidates the state's rule. The commissioner has refused, saying, in effect, "So sue me."
St. Mary's argued that under Title IX guidelines, which went into effect in July, it is not necessary that there be comparable programs for males and females, merely comparable opportunities, and since boys in South Bend have the opportunity to participate in tennis, cross-country and football in the fall, they need not be admitted to girls' volleyball teams.
"We probably can't do anything about these volleyball championships," admitted O'Leary, "but we hope we can stop them from playing girls' softball in the spring."
The irony of the situation lies in the fact that the guidelines for enforcing Title IX were a disappointment to women sports activists. They saw "equal opportunities" instead of substantial programs as a watering down of the original intent of Title IX. Now St. Mary's is ready to go to court in defense of a girls' sport, and the basis of its case, which may be the first anywhere under Title IX, will be one of the "weak" provisions of the same guidelines.
LIKE IT IS
Leonard Tose, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, whose 1-7 record is a major disappointment of the National Football League season, was refreshingly frank during a radio interview between halves of an Eagle loss. When Sportscaster Al Wester made some optimistic remarks about progress, Tose replied flatly, "In seven years we haven't made any progress at all." Wester commented on how well the Eagles had played before losing on a last-second field goal. "But they beat us," Tose said, "and that's the point." Again, Wester tried to console Tose, but the owner said, "I think you've been too kind—we've slipped a lot. I wish I could give our fans a little better football than we've been giving them."
An Associated Press story out of San Francisco read: "Bob Hayes, once known as the World's Fastest Shoeman, was cut loose from the San Francisco 49ers Wednesday."
PACKING IT IN?
Rumors persist, in spite of the denials of West Coast athletic directors, that the Pac-8, reorganized out of the old Pacific Coast Conference in 1959, will soon be disbanded. Imbalance between the four chronically weak Oregon and Washington schools and the four usually contending California teams is becoming more and more pronounced. The four northern teams together have won only two games from California teams during the past two seasons.
The speculation is that Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State would end up in the Western Athletic Conference. The University of Washington's future is a puzzle. But it is no secret that USC wants a divorce, and that would probably lead to independent status for the other California schools as well. If that happens, the Rose Bowl, too, would have to make some adjustments.
Everybody seems to have a high school team or two that has done something exceptional. Cathedral High of Indianapolis, for instance, breaks winning streaks. Two years ago Cathedral upset powerful Bloomington South, then the best high school football team in Indiana, after Bloomington had won 60 straight games. This season it knocked off Washington High of Indianapolis, the defending state champions, after Washington had won 24 in a row. Cathedral should set up a game with Hudson High (Hi there, Jack Armstrong) of Hudson, Mich., which ended its regular-season schedule with its 71st straight victory to tie the national scholastic record set a decade ago by Jefferson City (Mo.) High.
Then there is Madras High of Madras, Ore., which should be consulted whenever the question of football tie breakers comes up. Some states have systems to decide high school games that end up tied in regulation time. Oregon is such a state, as Madras knows all too well. Madras finished its first game of the season 0-0, but lost 6-0 in overtime. It tied its second game 6-6, but lost 12-6 after two overtimes. It tied its third game 16-16, this time taking three overtimes to lose 28-22. It lost its fourth game and won its fifth in regulation but, after that interlude, got back to work. It tied its sixth game 6-6, losing in overtime 14-12, and tied its seventh 12-12, finally winning one in overtime 15-12. At that point Madras' record was 2-5. With a little luck it could have been 6-1. With no tie breaker it would have been 1-1-5. Are ties common in that part of Oregon? The last time Madras had a tie game was seven years ago.
In another overtime story, this one from Kansas, Haviland High beat Skyline 62-60 after three overtimes. Bryan Kendall of Haviland had 56 of his eight-man team's 62 points, including all 20 that Haviland scored in overtime. At the other end of the scoring scale is Bethel Local High of Brandt, Ohio, which finished a second consecutive winless season with its 22nd straight defeat. Optimistic Coach Larry Giangulio points out that things looked better this year. Last season his Bees were outscored 544-0. This year it was only 371-45.
THEY SAID IT
•Ken Harrelson, former major-leaguer who failed three times to qualify for the professional golf tour: "In baseball you hit your home run over the right-field fence, the left-field fence, the center-field fence. Nobody cares. In golf everything has got to be right over second base."
•Jack Rudnay, Kansas City Chiefs center, who finished a game after breaking his hand, asked when he broke it: "I don't know. I wasn't watching the clock."
•Hank Peters, newly appointed general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, who was twice fired by Charles O. Finley: "I taught Charlie all he knows about baseball. That's why I keep asking myself where I went wrong."