TRULY HIGHER EDUCATION
The lack of academic and competitive integrity in college sports has created, at least in some circles, a distaste for the win-at-all-costs ethic that has led to compromise and outright cheating at many schools. Two of these dissenting groups have formed their own sports organizations. Three years ago the Colonial League debuted in the East: The Division I-AA football programs at Bucknell, Colgate, Davidson, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Lehigh banded together and dedicated their league to the ideal of the scholar-athlete. The Colonial League's leaders, seeking guidance when founding the conference, held discussions with administrators of the Ivy League, and now the CL has an interleague scheduling agreement with the Ivys.
This fall another new league joins the backlash. The Division III University Athletic Association says it is the country's only league based solely on a philosophical, rather than geographical, kinship. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Emory in Atlanta, Case Western in Cleveland and Washington University in St. Louis are joining New York University, the University of Chicago and the University of Rochester (N.Y.) in the UAA. The league feels that the very fact of a far-flung membership, coupled with the high academic caliber of its schools, makes "a strong statement as to the proper role of athletics in our colleges and universities."
That role, according to Norman Brad-burn, provost of the University of Chicago, "holds that athletics is part of the overall educational process and should be conducted in a manner consistent with the university's central academic mission." To that end, the UAA will award no athletic scholarships and will require that its athletes be measured against the same admission, financial aid and academic progress standards as other students.
September 7, 1986
Obviously, travel will be a problem for the UAA. The league is working toward regular-season competition in football, soccer and basketball and will hold annual end-of-season tournaments in eight men's and eight women's sports. The five UAA schools with baseball teams will coordinate their spring trips so that they can play each other in league games throughout the South. The 1986-87 school year has been designated a "transitional period," as the UAA works some of the bugs out of the system.
While the increased travel will mean added expense for each school's athletic budget, the league hopes its new concept will lead to higher visibility, better athletes and larger crowds down the road. Whether this happens or not, UAA officials stress that all member schools are committed to sticking with the plan. "We share the belief that academic excellence and athletic excellence are not mutually exclusive," says NYU chancellor L. Jay Oliva. "The members are making known their concept of what college athletics can be."
YASTRZEMSKI WE COULD UNDERSTAND
Quick, fill in the blank: GE—RGE BRETT. The other day three Wheel of Fortune contestants forced the tireless Vanna White to unveil all those letters before one guessed the two-time batting champ's name.
There seems to be a trend toward fragrances for the sportsperson on the go. Adidas has introduced a line of colognes, which presumably will keep Ivan Lendl smelling good off—if not on—the court. And a new company, Hemingway Ltd., which is run by several of Papa's heirs, will reportedly market perfumes and after-shave as well as shotguns, hunting knives and fishing rods. No official word yet on Chanel's latest line—baseball mitts, perhaps?
A TEX BY ANY OTHER NAME
Tex Schramm, president of the Dallas Cowboys, is not given to Western adornments like Stetsons and string ties. But nobody knew this at the Hyatt Islandia Hotel in San Diego, Calif., where the Cowboys were due to check in before an exhibition game against the Chargers. So when a great big feller decked out in Wild West gear strutted into the lobby and announced, "I'm Mr. Schramm," everyone jumped. "He had the belt buckle, the hat, the boots," remembers Jessica Rogers, who was on duty at the time. "In our minds, that said Tex."
When a hotel employee opened the door to Mr. Schramm's suite for him, there was a pleasant-looking fellow sitting in the room. The employee slammed the door and notified the front desk, and Rogers phoned the room.
"Who is this?" she demanded.
Then who was this!
This was John Schramm, not really a cowboy at all, just pulled in from Oregon for a wedding.
PALM TREES 101
It was the ultimate extension of the open classroom concept. Seven University of Nevada at Las Vegas basketball players took a social-work course for academic credit last spring while making a 16-day playing tour of Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia. The specially arranged course, Contemporary Issues in Social Welfare, required each participant to spend several hours daily on field trips, read two books and submit a term paper. Some players received as many as six credits for the work; a full term's average credit load at UNLV is 15. "The course made the trip more meaningful," says Dr. Esther Langston, the UNLV instructor who accompanied the team.
Langston says that she and the Runnin' Rebel coaches coordinated class schedules so that the team's games and practices could be held at or near field-trip sites selected for the course. Nevertheless, there was some griping by players about their time-consuming work load. "The first field trip we took was seven hours in Tahiti, and the players were ready to throw me in the ocean," Langston says. "They would rather have been on the beach." Langston insists that the Rebel basketball players grew through their experience. "There was a lot of bitching initially, but when they began to reflect and put things in perspective, it turned out very well," she says.
There's still some grumbling about that basketball tour, and not just from the players. Published reports indicate that campus police and AT&T investigators have questioned team members about more than $1,000 worth of "unauthorized" phone calls made to the United States from Australia and New Zealand. UNLV officials confirm only that an internal investigation did find evidence that unauthorized calls were made. The officials say that the players have agreed to pay the overdue bills. Perhaps some of them just couldn't wait to tell the folks back home about their rewarding educational experience.
IN NEED OF ANOTHER VACATION?
John McEnroe had a rotten week. On Tuesday he lost to Paul Annacone in the opening round of the U.S. Open. Then he and his doubles partner, Peter Fleming—who had turned down a place in the singles draw to concentrate on doubles—got caught in New York City traffic and had to default in the Open doubles because they showed up 21 minutes late for their first match. "McEnroe was very, very upset," said Grand Prix supervisor and master of understatement Ken Farrar. Well, it's not as if McEnroe, who was raised in the borough of Queens, site of the tournament, could claim he didn't know about holiday weekend traffic in the city.
McEnroe made $2,816.80 for his brief appearance at Flushing Meadow, but was fined $1,000 for being one of the Tardy Boys and $4,000 for what he really said to Farrar, so his net loss for the week was $2,183.20. Not counting tolls and gas.
Meanwhile, it was disclosed that McEnroe is under suspension from Davis Cup competition for the remainder of the year. This information came out because doubles specialist Robert Seguso, bothered by an inflamed left knee, was unable to defend his U.S. Open title. When Tom Gorman, the Davis Cup captain, learned of Seguso's default, he expressed concern that Seguso might not be ready to team with Ken Flach for the semifinal tie in Australia during the first week of October. So why not ask McEnroe to fill in? McEnroe, Gorman replied, had been banned from the 1986 team by U.S. Tennis Association president Randy Gregson for "past behavior." Gregson told SI's Barry McDermott that he hadn't previously announced the suspension, because "McEnroe was off on his own vacation and it just didn't come up." But others, who knew of Gorman's desire to have McEnroe play against Mexico this summer (SCORECARD, July 28), speculated that Gregson's ban was a retroactive one. "The fact is, Gregson told Gorman he would have complete control over picking the Davis Cup team," said McEnroe's father, John McEnroe Sr. "Afterward he told him John could not play." The McEnroes charged that Gregson is letting a personal vendetta—"I don't think he's John's best friend," said McEnroe's mother, Kay—dictate who will wear the country's colors.
If it's not one thing it's another. McEnroe's ballyhooed comeback is still off to a wheel-spinning start.
CATHY RIGBY SCORES PERFECT MARKS
Former gymnastics champion Cathy Rigby recently completed a fly-by-night engagement as Peter Pan with the Long Beach (Calif.) Civic Light Opera. But this wasn't your usual sports-star-takes-a-bow performance. Rigby wowed 'em. "Sometimes risky casting is inspired casting," wrote Los Angeles Times theater critic Robert Koehler. "Within seconds of her flight through the Darlings' bedroom window, Rigby punches out the cynical questions like so many Captain Hooks. She is spunky. She is spry. She is athletic, elastic, almost angelic at the same time.... Rigby is the spark plug that makes this production light up." Koehler praised Rigby's singing and acting, and gushed about her specialty: "Her flying, of course, is nonpareil." His only qualm was that the two-week booking of Peter Pan, which ended last week, was "patently absurd. Every kid should have a chance to see this show."
THEY SAID IT
•Mike Fratello, Atlanta Hawks coach, on being named vice-president of the basketball team and gaining a seat on the board of directors: "What that means is that the vote to fire me will never be unanimous."
•Frank Broyles, Arkansas athletic director, when asked if he would still like his football coach, Ken Hatfield, if the team went .500 this year: "Sure I would. I'd miss him, too."