SPARTAN NO LONGER
College administrators alarmed by the movement toward budget parity for women's sports have tended to focus their ire on Title IX, which forbids sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funds. Under an interpretation of Title IX by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, per capita expenditures for female athletes will have to be increased next fall to levels virtually equal to those for men. Critics say that this will drain athletic budgets, thereby endangering men's sports programs.
But Title IX may not be their only concern, as the case of the Michigan State women's basketball team suggests. Sixteen months ago MSU's women athletes began to complain that they were being treated less favorably than the men. While the men were issued three or four pairs of gym shoes, the women received only one. A doctor was present at men's games, but not when the women played. The women had to wash their own uniforms. What is more, they practiced in a gym with a warped floor and inadequate heat and returned to their dorm so late they had trouble getting a hot meal. And. oh yes, they had ample time to talk over these grievances during all-night drives home from games in station wagons. The men traveled by bus and plane.
Two months ago, concluding that conditions were unacceptable even for Spartans, the women filed complaints with HEW and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The heat was soon turned up in their gym and laundry facilities were provided, but the women remained dissatisfied. Last week they brought suit in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids asking that they receive $16 a day for meals and that they be billeted two to a room, the same as the men's team; they had been receiving $11 and had been sleeping up to four to a room. Judge Noel P. Fox issued a temporary restraining order granting their requests. He also ordered the MSU Board of Trustees to show cause at a hearing later this month why the ruling should not be made permanent. College administrators elsewhere will note that the women's suit is being argued not under Title IX but under a somewhat older legal provision: the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
February 19, 1979
MYSTERY GUEST, SIGN IN, PLEASE
Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley last week finally got around to naming a successor to Manager Jack McKeon, whom he fired four months ago. The new manager is Jim Marshall, who may be interested in what happened when the American League recently asked managers to provide preseason analyses of their teams for publicity purposes. Oakland promptly sent in a detailed—and anonymous—position-by-position rundown of how the A's shape up. League officials naturally wanted to know who the "manager" was to whom the preview should be attributed.
The word from Finley's office: "We don't know. When we announce one, just put his name on it."
Welcome to the A's, Jim.
IT'S THE HUMIDITY
A 30-member AAU track and field subcommittee will meet in New York next week to select either Eugene, Ore. or Durham, N.C. as site of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials. All other things being equal, a strong case could be made that it is Durham's turn. After all, Eugene put on the '72 and '76 Trials while Durham has played host to several major meets but never to an Olympic Trials.
But one thing is not equal. The '80 Trials will take place in late June, when Eugene's average humidity ranges from 49% to 62% and Durham's from 57% to 88%. Humidity above 70% can be debilitating for runners, especially for those in distance events. Because the Olympics will be held in late July, when Moscow's average humidity ranges from 40% to 68%, a number of Olympic hopefuls, reasoning that conditions at the Trials should favor those with the best chances of performing well at the Games, are nervous about Durham's getting the nod.
SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT
It may be time to utter a few words in praise of the oft-maligned crow. True, crows steal corn and wheat, which is why farmers are always putting scarecrows in their fields. But the accursed birds may partially make up for the damage by feasting on beetles, caterpillars, slugs and other pests.
As it is in the fields, so it is on the links. Several years ago there were reports out of India that crows, presumably mistaking the white objects for eggs. were stealing golf balls off the greens at the Chembur course in Bombay (SCORECARD, Jan. 5, 1970). Similar incidents have been reported from time to time since then, most recently that the crows have been swiping as many as 20 balls a day off the Ashburnham course at Pembrey, South Wales. Last week a crow swooped down, grabbed a ball in its beak and flew off to perch on a fence a short distance away. When the woman whose ball it was approached, the crow simply hopped a few feet further down the fence, seemingly laughing at her.
On the other hand, a golfer playing the 9th hole on the Manoir Richelieu course at Murray Bay, Quebec last summer came across a crow that was apparently trying to be helpful. John Basaraba hit his tee shot on the 165-yard par-3 hole six inches from the cup, at which point he and the others in his foursome were astonished to see a crow land on the green, pick up the ball and drop it into the hole. It didn't count as a hole-in-one because an "outside agency" was involved. But isn't it likely that the same thing has happened without anybody seeing it? It is a tantalizing thought. Somewhere, sometime, a crow may very well have made an eagle of a birdie.
At a banquet last week in Indianapolis, swimmer John Naber, the Sullivan Award winner as the best U.S. amateur athlete of 1977, opened an envelope and excitedly announced that swimmer Tracy Caulkins had won the 1978 Sullivan Award. No doubt Caulkins' victory also gladdened swimmers Tim Shaw (Sullivan winner 1975), Mark Spitz (1971) and John Kinsella (1970). If you detect a pattern here, you're right. Not only have swimmers won in five of the last nine years but the last 29 Sullivans also have been divided up among just three sports: aquatics (diving as well as swimming), track and field and basketball.
The Sullivan's scope has not always been so narrow. The award, presented by the AAU since 1930, went occasionally in earlier years to performers in golf (e.g., Bobby Jones), tennis (Don Budge) and football (Doc Blanchard). But the best in those sports no longer stand a fighting chance. The Sullivan procedure is for an AAU screening committee to select 10 finalists, with the winner then chosen by a mail ballot of up to 2,500 sports-writers, broadcasters and amateur athletic officials. However, in the years in which they might have merited consideration, none of the following have so much as made the final 10: Tony Dorsett. Earl Campbell, John McEnroe. Nancy Lopez and Tracy Austin.
Instead of acknowledging and explaining what has been an evident shift in criteria, the AAU stubbornly clings to the fiction that it is honoring the best amateur athlete in the U.S. In point of fact. it is honoring the best athlete in an ill-defined and limited group of certain largely (but not exclusively) Olympic sports. The 16-year-old Caulkins, the youngest Sullivan recipient ever, last year won five gold medals at the world swimming championships in West Berlin and currently holds or shares three world and 13 American records. She may very well have outpolled a field in which all amateur sports were represented. Unfortunately, we'll never know.
After a two-year investigation, the Justice Department last week announced the indictments in Boston of 21 men, including three jockeys and two trainers, for conspiring to fix horse races at six tracks between 1973 and 1975. The indictments came six weeks after the convictions in New Jersey of five jockeys and two owners on similar charges. As in both the New Jersey case and a series of indictments last year in Detroit, much of the evidence was supplied by Anthony Ciulla, the convicted race fixer who, under federal protection, continues to detail his activities to officials in New York and Philadelphia (SI, Nov. 6, 1978).
The Boston indictments totaled 51 counts. Those named included Joseph M. McDonald, a fugitive also wanted on charges related to the interstate transportation of stolen property, and Howard T. Winter, 49, of Somerville, Mass., who, has reputed links to organized crime and is serving an 18-to-20-year sentence in the Worcester County House of Correction for extortion.
The jockeys indicted were Norman Mercier, who recently rode his 2,500th winner, Eddie Donnally and Guy Contrada. According to the indictment, Donnally was beaten up after a mount he had been bribed to hold won a race at Suffolk Downs. The indictment says that McDonald wanted Donnally killed and his body placed on the backstretch as a warning to other jockeys.
Donnally is also an accomplished writer. In an article for The Baltimore Sun Magazine about race fixing, he evocatively described jockeys as "artists who painted with quicksilver strokes of violent motion on an oval brown earth canvas." He also wrote, "Like all sidewalk jocks maneuvering for position, they liked to win and were trained to win. But somewhere between the gate and the wire, the American Dream, like a lot of over-raced horses, broke down."
THIRTY MINUS ONE
Save for some Machiavellian scheming on the part of its outmanned rivals, the track team at California's Occidental College might have achieved a conference win streak even more impressive than the 25-year reign enjoyed by Kenyon College's swimmers (page 32). Occidental's track dynasty began in 1946 when Coach Payton Jordan started scheduling more dual meets against Pacific Coast Conference (now the Pac-10) powers and fewer against other schools in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. After thus honing itself against tougher competition, Occidental would routinely wallop everybody in the SCIAC championships.
To cut Occidental down to size, other conference schools pushed through a rule that the championship would be determined by dual-meet standings instead of by the SCIAC meet. On a fateful weekend in 1964, Jim Bush, who had become the Occidental coach two years before, decided to save his best men for a meet the next day against Stanford (where Jordan was then coaching) and entered second-stringers in a double dual meet against SCIAC foes Pomona and Whittier. Occidental came in last and was charged with two losses, with the result that it ended the season as runner-up to Redlands, which had lost only one dual meet—to Occidental. It didn't matter that Occidental subsequently won the conference meet. Its streak of 18 conference titles was broken. Occidental won the next 11 SCIAC championships before losing in 1976 to Pomona-Pitzer. Had it won in 1964, its streak at the time would have been 30, not 11.
Jordan, still at Stanford, has become a coaching legend. Bush has achieved fame at UCLA, where he has coached since 1964. He insists today, "I never lost any conference title at Occidental. Anybody who says otherwise is wrong." The man who coached Redlands in '64 doesn't dispute him. "Occidental was the best team that year." says the splendidly named Ted Runner, now Redlands' athletic director. "Our championship was a paper thing. It was strictly politics. I've always been embarrassed about it."
THEY SAID IT
•George Brett, Kansas City third baseman, explaining why he isn't giving much thought to a more lucrative contract à la Pete Rose and Jim Rice: "I've got three years left on my present contract and by then all the owners may be broke."
•Hilton Hale, who quit San Diego State's basketball team in expectation of becoming a Baptist minister: "I was tired of basketball being my god. I want God to be my god."