THE AAU AT BAY
In its fourth and perhaps most important set of public hearings, the 10-month-old President's Commission on Olympic Sports examined the NCAA and AAU last week in Chicago. The airing of familiar charges and controversies resolved little and may even have sharpened the battle lines. But the testimony also indicated what is at stake for the two organizations when the commission makes its recommendations to the President.
At present the NCAA controls most of the nation's best athletes and facilities, while the AAU holds the franchises (international governing rights) for eight Olympic sports, notably swimming and track and field. The commission feels that a "highest sports authority" could arbitrate disputes that naturally rise from this type of power standoff, but the nature of the authority and the extent of its responsibility has not been determined. The reaction of NCAA and AAU officials to the authority concept and its possible scope says much about their conflicting interests.
With its international recognition and influence on the U.S. Olympic Committee, the AAU is basically opposed to the idea of a "highest" sports authority—unless it becomes that authority itself. If it becomes a subordinate organization, the AAU could lose much of its status. As for the NCAA and other, ostensibly independent, groups like the U.S. Track and Field Federation and the U.S. Wrestling Federation, which are opposed to the AAU, they would favor an independent authority—especially if governing rights were taken from the AAU and reassigned to organizations they deem more competent, like themselves.
April 19, 1976
AAU President, Joseph Scalzo says the USTFF and the USWF are puppets of the NCAA and that these groups would better serve amateur sport by joining the AAU. NCAA President John Fuzak says such talk only "diverts attention from [the AAU's] inadequacies," and it is true that in recent years Scalzo's organization has lost control of basketball and gymnastics and faces rebellion in track and field and wrestling. Inefficient management is the most persistent criticism leveled at the AAU. Long jumper Willye White, a member of the commission, said to Scalzo, in a backhand compliment, "If all your programs were as good as your Junior Olympics, you wouldn't have the problems you have now."
The NCAA, which is as reluctant as the AAU to yield any of its power, would accept a highest sports authority as a final arbitrator of disputes, although not as the supreme administrator of amateur sport. At the moment its future seems brighter than the AAU's. At any rate, while the commission has found fault with both the major sports groups, on the vital issue of franchises, it seems more sympathetic to critics of the AAU.
The Kansas City Scouts were able to win only one of the last 44 games they played in the National Hockey League's regular season. It was a dreadful time for them. The inability to do anything right extended as far as a despairing quote from Defenseman Steve Durbano, who moaned, "Jesus Christ and his 10 disciples couldn't help this team."
Ron Cey played third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their Opening Day loss to the San Francisco Giants last week, which is news only because it set a Los Angeles team record: most consecutive years, same man opening the season at third base—three. When the migrant Dodgers, newly arrived from Brooklyn, opened against the Giants in San Francisco in 1958, Dick Gray was their third baseman. In 1959 it was Jim Baxes, in 1960 Jim Gilliam, in 1961 Tommy Davis, in 1962 Daryl Spencer, in 1963 Ken McMullen, in 1964 John Werhas, in 1965 John Kennedy, in 1966 Jim Lefebvre. In 1967 Lefebvre shattered precedent by opening the season at third for a second-straight year, but in 1968 it was Bob Bailey, in 1969 Bill Sudakis, in 1970 Steve Garvey. Garvey tried third again in 1971 before shifting to first base and eventual stardom. Bill Grabarkewitz had the job in 1972, and Ken McMullen, back after a lapse of 10 years, was at third in 1973. That's 13 third basemen in 16 seasons, of whom only two (Gilliam and Sudakis) went on to play as many as 100 games at the position the same season and only three (Davis, Lefebvre and Garvey) batted as high as .250.
The long search for stability ended when Cey took over during the 1973 season (he played 146 games at third that year). Now 28, the Penguin, as Cey is called because of his splayfooted gait, seems set for a long run, or waddle.
As the best golfers in the world made their way to Augusta and the Masters last week, a former master was all by himself, so to speak, in Vancouver. Tony Jacklin, the compact Englishman who led the U.S. Open from wire to wire in 1970, was on top of a building in the Canadian city driving golf balls into Burrard Inlet as part of the ceremonies celebrating the opening of Vancouver's 495-foot Harbour Centre Tower. Jacklin hasn't done particularly well on the tour since winning the Open. Last year, in 15 U.S. tournaments, his earnings were only $10,000. However, his off-course income from testimonials and other such has been so substantial that Jacklin upped stakes and moved from England to the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel in order to avoid Britain's stringent income tax.
Although homesick for England, the golfer has few regrets. "I'm not the only one," he said last week, pointing out that Britain's income-tax bite is 85% in his bracket, compared to a 25% maximum in Jersey. "There is no way you can live with that kind of tax load. Practically everyone in England who is in a high tax bracket...has either gone, is going or wishes he could go."
In Vancouver, Jacklin blasted his 12th and final drive off the tower an impressive 389 yards. Nonetheless, he rued his lonesome lot. "On the whole," he said, paraphrasing W.C. Fields, "I'd rather be in Augusta."
There are pro football fans who get headaches and wish the strange noises would stop when they read that their favorite team has been involved in a trade that brought them star running back Full Thrust Follansbee from the Lower Mississippi Floodtides in exchange for a couple of second-string offensive linemen, the team's No. 1 draft choice in 1977 and three high 1978 draft picks that had been obtained previously in a deal with the Bismarck Herrings.
In the interest of bringing a bit of clarity to the often occult practice of trading draft choices, the following passage from the Chicago Tribune, which appeared last week just before this year's draft of college players, is reprinted as a public service:
"The Bears needed a press conference to explain how they got an extra fourth-rounder. Briefly, it came from the Jets with Mike Adamle for Carl Garrett. But that's oversimplification. It's from Detroit through Miami in a deal that might confuse even George Allen. The Bears owed Miami a fifth-round for Bo Rather. But they gave up their fifth last year to Baltimore for Noah Jackson. So they wanted Miami to postpone it until 1977. The Dolphins agreed, but only if the Bears would trade fourth-round positions with them. So the Bears traded their Jets' fourth-round spot for Miami's fourth-round spot which the Dolphins owned from Detroit. But don't ask how."
HOW GEORGE DOES IT
The George Allen the Tribune referred to is, of course, the wheeler-dealer coach of the Washington Redskins. Washington fans, although familiar with Allen's practice of trading the future for the present, wonder sometimes where all the draft choices went. This year, for example, the Redskins had no picks at all in the opening four rounds, and by the time they made their first selection (Guard Mike Hughes of Baylor) the other 27 NFL teams had already taken 147 players, an average of more than five apiece. Here is how the Redskin's top draft picks were horse-traded:
1. To Miami for Joe Theismann.
2. To San Diego for Duane Thomas.
3. To San Diego for Bryant Salter.
4. To San Diego for Walt Sweeney.
5. To St. Louis for Fred Sturt, but...
5. ...from St. Louis in a deal for Dave Butz.
6. To Kansas City for Jim Tyrer, but...
6. ...from Los Angeles in a deal for Tim Stokes.
7. Taken away from the Redskins by the league as forfeit for a signing infraction.
8. To Atlanta for Glenn Hyde, but...
8. ...from Los Angeles in the Stokes deal.
9. A genuine, original, unsullied Redskin pick.
This is not a trivia question. What do Dristan cough syrup, Listerine lozenges, Pertussin 8-Hour cough formula, St. Joseph cough syrup, Vicks cough silencers and Vicks Formula 44 cough mixture have in common? No, no, not the obvious—that they are all things you take when you have a cold. Something else, and if you are an Olympic athlete, or hope to be, you'd better know what it is.
Ready? They are all on a list of medications that conceivably could get an athlete disqualified from the Olympics and banned from amateur competition for life. Sound silly? Maybe, but the list, prepared for the U.S. women's track and field committee, says that is the way it is. In cracking down on the use of certain drugs by world-class athletes, international sports authorities have gone in for overkill. They are banning everything in sight, and if an athlete tests positive—even if the so-called forbidden drug is in his system only because small amounts of it were in the ordinary cough medicine he happened to take, as an ordinary citizen might—he can be zapped. Joan Wenzel, of Canada, who finished third in the Pan-American Games' 800 meters in Mexico City last fall, was barred for life when phenylephrine, a banned substance, was discovered in her system. Wenzel says she took a cold capsule before the race. Too bad, said the International Track and Field Federation. Canada is appealing, as well it might, especially since the organizing committee for the Montreal Games has endorsed Coricidin D, another antihistamine, which also contains stuff the IAAF has banned.
"It's ridiculous," Wenzel says. And indeed it seems so. But to be on the safe side, you Olympic athletes, watch out for Listerine, avoid Vicks, run from Pertussin. How about a nice mustard plaster instead?
CATCH AS ALI CAN
Conjecture on what will happen when—perhaps if?—Muhammad Ali meets Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in Tokyo on June 25 is bubbling. Serious wrestlers claim that any collegiate light heavyweight could take Ali. Even Pat Patterson, a professional who is one of the many U.S. champions, says, "It would last less than a minute. I'd immediately go to the floor. Ali would try to dance, but he'd have no chance. I'd get him somewhere in the legs and bring him to the mat. After that, God help him."
However, history points out that Jack Dempsey twice had bouts with wrestlers Dempsey won. Surprised? Archie Moore also engaged in such a match not long before his epic heavyweight title bout with Rocky Marciano. No, Archie didn't lose, either.
If you still feel Ali is in danger and that a bet on the wrestler is worth trying, don't go to Nevada looking for odds. There won't be any. As they say in horse racing, it's out, out and out.
THEY SAID IT
•Joe Frazier, 53-year-old rookie manager of the New York Mets, asked before Opening Day if he was excited: "No, I'm not excited. It's no big deal. How the hell is a man my age going to get excited?"
•Jud Heathcote, Michigan State basketball coach, on the priorities in his new job: "The first thing you do is panic. From there you go to work."
•Doug Swift, veteran NFL linebacker, on the most enjoyable part of football: "Being introduced and running through the goalposts. It's all downhill after that."