Phil Lansford, a shortstop who was the Cleveland Indians' first pick in last week's college draft, is the younger brother of Carney Lansford, the rookie third baseman for the Angels; the third cousin of Buck Lansford, a guard for the Rams in the late '50s; the fourth cousin of Tex Ritter, the country-and-western star, and a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake.
With the overwhelming passage of Proposition 13, which cuts California property taxes an average 57%, there is total confusion about funding for high school and junior college sports (state universities are unaffected because they are not funded through property taxes). It will take state officials at least a month to decide how much of an estimated $5 billion treasury surplus they will distribute to the cities, counties and school districts that now have the shorts.
William W. Russell, commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation, which has 1,200 member schools, says, "Each district will decide whether it will have athletics, and how much. When that is accomplished the CIF will have to adjust its program to take care of whatever the program may be."
June 18, 1978
Unless the state helps out, the Long Beach Unified School District stands to lose 46% of its revenues, and a provisional budget approved last March, which assumed passage of Proposition 13, eliminates all high school athletic programs. The Los Angeles City Board of Education will lose 74% of its operating budget, $752 million; Bill Rivera, special assistant to the L.A. superintendent, says, "One of the things to be eliminated is not only the entire athletic program but all of the extracurricular activities. It's all one large package—athletics, journalism, speech, yearbook, band."
The Santa Ana School District in Orange County proposes to do away with junior high sports while trying to maintain varsity sports in the high schools. "This all hinges on having someone to play," says Bus McKnight, Coordinator of Athletics. "If we have no opponent, it's pretty hard to play a game."
Attention, NFL draft picks, particularly you guys from the lower rounds. You'll be getting a quick look this summer because there will be only four exhibition games as a result of the new 16-game season. "Now the rookies will get only two exhibition games to make the squad," says Coach Tom Landry of the Cowboys, a team that has stressed youth. Chuck Fairbanks of the Patriots puts it in a somewhat different perspective: "There will be more mistakes in evaluating personnel."
But not if Chuck Noll of the Steelers were to have his way. Noll recently held a contact workout with pads behind closed doors at Three Rivers Stadium so he could sneak a look at 29 rookies and 15 veterans. The workout was in direct violation of Article 20, Section 4 of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement with the players, which states that a team can have "no contact work or use of pads (except helmets) as part of an off-season training camp." John Clayton of The Pittsburgh Press reported on the workout in detail, prompting Steeler fans to condemn the paper for its lack of "patriotism," as one angry caller told The Press.
Noll, who tried to get the story killed, was furious. He intimated that Clayton was really a spy. "The thing that made it very bad was that the story was of no news value to the people of Pittsburgh," Noll said. "So I have to assume that [Clayton] is working for the competition. He certainly isn't working in the interest of the paper or the fans. The only way I can read it is espionage."
The Steelers are subject to a fine and possible loss of a draft choice for the illegal workout. Green Bay lost a fourth-round draft choice for a similar violation this year, and the choice might have been a higher one had not the Packers convinced Commissioner Pete Rozelle they weren't familiar with the rules. But the Steelers have no such excuse. As Dan Rooney, president of the club, says, "I helped write the darn thing."
By taking advantage of the Gothic architecture and long green courtyards of the Princeton campus, a trio of students—Dave Gilman, Bailey Pope and Eric Olson, all of the class of '80—have come up with their version of Frisbee golf, or Folf as they call it for short. Their 18-hole, par-67 course is designed to make maximum use of arches, nooks and crannies, the Putnam Sculpture Collection, which is conveniently spread throughout the grounds, and the university's scenic and historic landmarks. "For general purposes, I recommend using a 165-gram Wham-o Frisbee because of its superior stability in crosswinds," Olson writes in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, "but some Folfers carry a variety of different weights so as to be able to choose the optimum disk for each shot."
Olson's favorite hole is the par-5 2nd, which he describes as classic. "Tee from the terrace in front of Lockhart arch, driving to the bottom of Blair steps," he advises. "Here one must carefully calculate the next shot—up the steps and through the tower—for if the Frisbee is thrown too high, it will boomerang out of the arch and back down to one's feet. Some novices have taken four or five shots to get through this imposing hazard. From the northern side of the tower, the fairway doglegs slightly to the right. The putt is through Henry Moore's Oval with Points, a natural hole situated between Stanhope and West College."
Recently Olson decided to entertain a prospective freshman, who couldn't make up his mind between Princeton and MIT, by taking him on a round of Folf. "Not only did he fall in love with the game," Olson reports, "he later told me that the people he had met while playing and the tour it gave him of the campus were the deciding factors in persuading him to select Old Nassau."
An NCAA recruiting violation?
CLEARING ALL HURDLES
Three years ago when the embryonic 1,032-acre Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington offered to host the 1978 World Three-Day Championships, there were horselaughs on both sides of the Atlantic. The championships had never been held in the U.S. and, moreover, the types of horses used and the demanding events involved—cross-country endurance, dressage and stadium jumping—were uncommon in Blue Grass country. Critics doubted that the complex courses and facilities could be built in time, or that the personnel needed to run this equestrian decathlon could be assembled. There were also questions about whether Lexington could house horses and riders from as many as 16 foreign countries and could put up 100,000 visitors.
The U.S. earned the right to hold the quadrennial championships by winning in England in 1974 and the Kentucky Horse Park was deemed the best of the five facilities that bid for the event. But controversy continued, especially when Man O' War's statue, long a landmark near the Paris (Ky.) Pike, was moved, along with his bones, inside the park.
Last week, besieged Governor Julian Carroll assembled all the principals involved and asked some pointed questions. He got satisfactory answers. More than 600 experienced personnel from the U.S. and Europe have signed on to officiate the event, and additional offers of help are pouring in. Rooms in Lexington have been booked solid since last February, but nearby towns are filling written requests. The cross-country course promises to be the finest in the world. Most construction is completed or needs only the touch of a paintbrush. Indeed, all facilities will be operational by Aug. 1, plenty of time to work out any bugs before the Duke of Edinburgh declares the championships under way on Sept. 14.
SORRY ABOUT THAT, BOB
Bob Speca, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania who likes to set up dominoes so he can knock them down (SCORECARD, Oct. 31, 1977), set a world record last week by toppling a continuous chain of 97,500 dominoes. It took Speca nine days to set up the involved chain that snaked its way over the 5,000-square-foot floor of a Manhattan ballroom. Actually, Speca set up 100,000 dominoes, but he didn't get to topple the last 2,500 because a TV cameraman leaned over to get a better shot and his press card fell out of his shirt pocket. The card struck domino No. 97,501, and down went the remainder, clickety, clickety, clickety, clickety.
END OF THE HOLIDAY
The Big Eight Holiday Basketball Tournament, the oldest continuous tournament of its kind, is about as successful as a tournament can be. Held the week after Christmas in Kansas City, it draws the biggest crowds of any holiday event and, after expenses, each Big Eight school takes away at least $25,000. However, this year's tournament will be the last. Fed up with the dominance of Kansas (which has won 12 times), Kansas State (seven times) and Missouri (ditto), and irked by crowds partial to those schools, the coaches, athletic directors and faculty reps of the other five institutions have voted to abolish the event.
One other factor is involved. Freed from the rigors of a winter week in Kansas City, conference schools can now head off to tournaments in Hawaii, California, New York, Florida and Arizona. Dangling the likelihood of such trips before a prospect is one way of gaining an edge in increasingly competitive recruiting battles.
Naomi James, who arrived back in England last week aboard a new 53-foot yacht, Express Crusader, 272 days after departing on her solo circumnavigation of the world, started sailing only 2½ years ago and had no experience in long, single-handed voyages until she set out to surpass the record of the late Sir Francis Chichester. The 29-year-old Kingswear housewife not only broke Sir Francis' record by two days, but also made the longest nonstop sail by a woman, 14,000 miles from Cape Town to the Falkland Islands. Overall, she spent only five days in port, including 60 hours for repairs in Cape Town and Port Stanley in the Falk-lands. Her worst moment came when she capsized in a storm off Cape Horn. "My rigging was smashed," she says, "and my radio out of action. The radio's not important, because no one can help you at Cape Horn. But I just couldn't face going back, so I decided to carry on."
In her free time at sea, she read books on antiques, listened to Olivia Newton-John tapes and carved chess pieces. She was not lonely, because she says she felt the presence of her husband Rob, who had earlier crewed in the Whitbread Round the World Race in which his boat finished 12th.
Upon Mrs. James' arrival home, she was greeted at dockside by her husband and by her amazed mother, who said, "Normally, Naomi can't find her way out of a paper bag. When she went into Woolworth's as a kid, she always got lost."
RECORD OF THE MONTH CLUB
In three glorious months in 1942, Gunder Haegg of Sweden set 10 world records at distances between 1,500 and 5,000 meters. Henry Rono has not matched that achievement, but last week in Vienna, by adding the world record in the 10,000 to those he set in the 5,000 (April 8) and the 3,000-meter steeplechase (May 13), he became the first to simultaneously hold these three records, a staggering achievement.
His time of 27:22.5 for the 10,000 broke by eight seconds the record held by Samson Kimobwa, his fellow Kenyan and Washington State teammate. Competing on the Vienna Cricket Club's new Polytan track, Rono was paced for the first 3,000 meters by Jos Hermens of Holland, a world-record holder (20 km., one-hour run) in his own right. Rono, who was reeling off laps of between 65 and 67 seconds, took the lead at 5,000 meters and blazed home with a 57-second final 400 meters.
It would be nice to report that thousands cheered, but last Sunday Austria was playing Brazil in a World Cup match in Argentina, and Viennese sports fans were glued to TV sets. In truth, only 500 cheered—but what a privileged few.