WILLIAM VS. MARY
William and Mary, which is located in storied Williamsburg, Va. and is the nation's second oldest college after Harvard, is embroiled in a dispute over plans to raise $4 million from private donors to enlarge the capacity of its football stadium, Cary Field, from 15,500 to 30,000.
Because Cary Field is so small, William and Mary has been playing opponents such as Villanova, Virginia Tech and Navy on the road while fleshing out its home schedule with the likes of James Madison University. The school's ruling Board of Visitors reckons that by enlarging Cary Field, William and Mary can upgrade its schedule, play worthy opponents at home as well as away and reap the prestige and financial benefits that big-time football sometimes bestows.
Most William and Mary students and faculty members oppose enlarging the stadium. They argue that football muscle-flexing is out of place in sedate Williams-burg and that the money in question could be better applied to faculty salaries. Last month 3,000 of William and Mary's 4,500 undergraduates protested by boycotting a day's classes and there have been two demonstrations since then. The faculty has voted its overwhelming disapproval of the plan. Nevertheless, the school is sticking to its guns.
March 5, 1979
In disregarding the wishes of students, the Board of Visitors has yet to satisfactorily answer the fundamental question: For whose benefit is college football being played? Also, the board may not fully appreciate that bigger stadiums put a premium on winning; playing .500 football in recent years, William and Mary has had trouble filling even 15,500 seats.
On the other hand, by asking that the money be used for higher faculty salaries, the administration's opponents are engaging in wishful thinking. The New York Times piously editorialized last week that "it's only right" that the $4 million be put to academic purposes, adding, "Williamsburg is a restoration town—and there's nothing more in need of restoration than the purpose of higher education." But it is naive to assume that those who donate large sums for football would also be eager to contribute to faculty salaries, however worthy that cause may be. At the same time, the assumption that academic excellence and big-time sports are mutually exclusive ignores schools that have successfully combined the two—Michigan and Stanford, for example.
YANKEE DOODLE BOY
At the turn of the century Tod Sloan, the renowned American jockey, packed his tack and went to ride in England. Sloan took along 10 steamer trunks, a valet and a secretary and grandly listed himself on programs as J. Todhunter Sloan. He won 21 of his first 48 races and inspired George M. Cohan's Broadway musical about horse racing, Little Johnny Jones. Out of that show came the songs Give My Regards to Broadway and Yankee Doodle Dandy, which includes the lyric, "Yankee Doodle came to London just to ride the ponies."
Now Steve Cauthen is going to London, too. Cauthen, who guided Affirmed to the Triple Crown in 1978, announced last week that next month he will begin riding under exclusive contract to British owner Robert Sangster, who has had the leading stable in England the past two years and has also enjoyed considerable racing success in France. Cauthen denies that the timing of the move had anything to do with his recent slump, during which he lost 110 straight races and was removed from Affirmed in favor of Laffit Pincay Jr. "I'm going because I got a terrific offer," Cauthen says. "It's a good chance for me to gain experience and travel the world, to see what Europe's like."
Europe should be just fine. Races there are generally longer than those in the U.S. and Cauthen excels at rating his mounts. Another nice thing about Europe is that purses for major races tend to be larger. Cauthen reportedly will receive the usual 10% of all winnings plus $400,000 and incentive bonuses. During the seven months that the contract will run, the 18-year-old jockey could earn $1 million.
Just to ride the ponies.
The hooliganism that Boston Bruin General Manager Harry Sinden condemns in his critique of the NHL, starting on page 20, continued unabated last week. In Detroit the Red Wings were mugged so shamelessly by the once-proud Toronto Maple Leafs that NHL President John Ziegler was forced to admit, "It wasn't a game anyone could be proud of." Two days later the St. Louis Blues' Steve Durbano swung a stick at the New York Rangers' Nick Fotiu, touching off a brawl that ended with Fotiu trying to get at Durbano in the visitors' locker room at Madison Square Garden.
Like several other NHL players, Durbano is in the league more for his fighting ability than for any discernible hockey skills; in six on-and-off seasons as an NHL spot player, Durbano has scored just 12 goals but has averaged more than five minutes a game in penalties. For trying to bean Fotiu with a hockey stick, Durbano drew a mere five-game suspension from Ziegler. By contrast, NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien suspended Kermit Washington for 29 games last season for throwing a punch. The score was 3-3 when Durbano brandished his stick, after which the riled-up Rangers went on to win 7-3. Emile Francis, the Blues' president and general manager, was later asked if he condoned the fact that his player had swung a stick at an opponent. Francis' unfortunate reply seems to sum up the prevailing attitude in the NHL toward violence: "Not when the score is 3-3."
After bucking poor attendance during the team's inaugural season, owners of the Oakland Stompers last week sold 80% of the North American Soccer League franchise to Edmonton entrepreneur Peter Pocklington, who immediately transferred the club to that Canadian city. Among assets that weren't covered in the deal were the tape recordings of crowd noises that the Stompers management played over the Oakland Coliseum's public-address system to simulate fan enthusiasm. That practice, a milestone in the history of hype, was discontinued when real live fans complained. Stomper officials say they don't know what became of the tapes.
MACE NO, BRUT YES
Britain's predominantly male soccer crowds have been behaving a bit more decorously lately, thanks partly to a crackdown on rowdyism by police and the courts. In Northumbria two men were arrested for chanting obscenely during a game between Newcastle United and Oldham and were fined ¬¨¬®¬¨¬£250 (about $500) each. In Birmingham two men attending a game were fined ¬¨¬®¬¨¬£500 each, one for spitting at a policeman, the other for spitting at rival fans. Team officials have been getting tough, too. For example, the Nottingham Forest club has begun printing full details of soccer-related convictions, including names and addresses, in the official program.
The most startling action was taken after police saw a fan toss an object into a crowd in Birmingham. It turned out to be only a peanut, but Magistrate Clyde Riley fined 18-year-old Ricky Wilson ¬¨¬®¬¨¬£400. "It doesn't matter what the missile was," Riley said. "It doesn't have to be something heavy to cause injury or start a fight."
But antisocial tendencies may not be all that easy to root out. Another likely reason for the improvement in crowd behavior is that this has been an unusually cold and snowy winter in England, causing postponement of some games and holding down attendance—and, no doubt, emotions—at others. If Dr. Tom Clark, an anesthesiologist at Guy's Hospital in London, is to be believed, rowdyism may flare up anew with the return of better weather and bigger crowds. Noting that male odors in animals can attract females and repel other males, Clark suggests that fighting at soccer games is often caused by something that police probably can't do much about—namely, "too much male smell acting subconsciously on the male crowds."
Howard Schenken, who died last week at the age of 75, was widely regarded as the greatest bridge player in the world, as the following, perhaps apocryphal, exchange between two tournament players attests:
"If you had to play a match for your life, whom would you choose as a partner?"
"And if Schenken weren't available?"
"I'd wait until he was."
TEARS FOR TWO
In Philip Roth's 1959 novel Goodbye, Columbus, Ron Patimkin splashed up to his sister Brenda in a swimming pool and said excitedly, "The Yankees took two." Since then the chances of the Yankees—or anybody else—taking two have diminished. In 1959 the major leagues had 16 teams and 87 scheduled doubleheaders. There are now 26 teams and slightly longer schedules (162 games vs. 154), yet only 63 doubleheaders are on tap for the upcoming season. Although rainouts could increase the total, the trend is clearly away from good old bargain-day twin bills.
One might assume that the only reason doubleheaders are in decline is the natural desire of clubs to schedule as many separate admissions as possible. But California Angel Vice-President Buzzy Bavasi says that increased concession sales make doubleheaders almost as profitable as two separate admissions. He and other front-office men insist that the main consideration is that doubleheaders put too much strain on players. That explanation would have appalled Iron Man Joe McGinnity, who pitched and won both ends of a doubleheader three times in a single month in 1903, but today's ballplayers are a different breed. Tommy John, the ex-Dodger now with Ron Patimkin's beloved Yankees, says, "Doubleheaders make for a long, long day. And they tear down pitching staffs."
There are few offensive systems in college football more mystifying than the one devised by Harvard Coach Joe Restic. Based on the idea that a lot of movement is the best way to disrupt a defense, Restic's entertaining but abstruse "multiflex" attack involves a seemingly endless variety of formations, including such novelties as men dropping on and off the line before the snap and quarterbacks going into motion. Restic needn't worry about his playbook falling into unfriendly hands: the thieves wouldn't grasp what they were looking at, anyway.
In view of all this, Ivy League rivals might be advised to monitor a course at Harvard taught by Larry Brown, Restic's quarterback the past two seasons. Brown, a senior who majors in government and is interested in a teaching career, received permission to organize and teach a half-credit "non-catalog" course entitled Fundamentals of the Multiflex. The course attracted 20 students, among them seven coeds and Brown's teammate Dan Binning, who attend a weekly two-hour class that consists of lectures by Brown and the showing of game films. Restic, who is frequently rumored to be in line for NFL coaching jobs, has given Professor Touchdown, as Brown is now called, technical guidance.
Some Harvard administrators and faculty members have grumbled about the course, apparently finding football an unworthy subject of intellectual inquiry. Brown replies pointedly, "This is a better course than some they're giving around here." As for Binning, a senior defensive end, he says he is taking the course to find out what the offense was doing these past four years.
THEY SAID IT
•Rod Hundley, telecaster, recalling how he signed as a first-round NBA draft choice in 1957 for a $10,000 salary and no bonus: "Every time I see my mother I say, 'Why didn't you wait?' "
•Darrell Griffith, Louisville basketball star, about the No. 11 worn by 7'3" Soviet Center Vladimir Tkachenko before the Cardinals lost to the U.S.S.R. National Team 91-76 on Sunday: "It looks like a pair of expressways running down his shirt."