This is an article from the Jan. 5, 1987 issue
Even though it wasdisclosed that Auburn's All-America tailback, Brent Fullwood, hadn't attended asingle class since October, coach Pat Dye refused to suspend his star from thisweek's Citrus Bowl game against Southern Cal. Dye accepted Fullwood'sexplanation that he had stopped going to class for personal reasons, includinga debilitating illness and a car accident involving his father and stepmother."I wouldn't think of suspending him," Dye told The Birmingham News,though he didn't explain why Fullwood, a senior, was able to concentrate onfootball when he couldn't attend class. Fullwood's fall-term academic workaffects his winter-term eligibility, and because the winter quarter at Auburndoesn't begin until after New Year's Day, he's technically eligible for thegame.
North Carolinatailback Derrick Fenner, the leading rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference,was technically eligible for UNC's Aloha Bowl appearance against Arizona lastSaturday, but he didn't play. He didn't even make the trip to Honolulu. Fenner,a sophomore, had been suspended "for academic reasons," said Tar Heelscoach, Dick Crum. "I'm very disappointed for Derrick. He's a very talentedfootball player and he has certainly made some important contributions to ourteam. However, at this institution academics are also important, and somethinghad to be done about his current situation." Crum wouldn't elaborate onwhat Fenner's situation was. Without Fenner, UNC lost to Arizona, 30-21.
IT'S THE THOUGHTTHAT COUNTS
In the Associated Press wire story that announced the GTE Academic All-Americafootball team, the word academic was misspelled.
WHAT'S IN ANAME?
Memphis Stateforward Vincent Askew's on-court artistry has earned him the colorful sobriquetVincent Van Go. And the basketball fans in Minnesota have come up with livelynicknames for the NBA team they hope to attract to the Twin Cities. Theprospective owners of the not-yet-extant franchise obviously didn't want toreprise the names of previous local pro hoops teams—the Pipers, Muskies andLakers—so they held a contest. Submissions included the Abominable Snowmen, theSlush, the Mosquito Nets and the Wobegons. The finalists are the Timberwolvesand the Polars; a winner will be selected later this month.
Then there's thecase of the quarterback they call Dan Marino, who plays for the Bears in theSouthington (Conn.) midget football league. He would love a nickname because hereally is named Dan Marino, a coincidence that has led to considerable ribbingfrom his teammates. Still, the 13-year-old admits he loves to hear the P.A.announcer say, "Dan Marino back to pass."
BLOWN' IN THEWIND
In a California Class 3-A playoff game, punter Art Moran of Palisades Highkicked for a respectable 31-yard average and allowed no runbacks but still costhis team two points. Booting with a 25-mile-per-hour wind at his back in thefirst quarter, Moran boomed one over the receiver for a 65-yarder. With theball on his team's three and facing the same wind in the next period, he kickeda towering punt from his own end zone. The ball hovered, then blew backward andout of the end zone for a safety. Palisades hung on to win 14-8.
Griffin O'Neal,son of actor Ryan O'Neal, was acquitted last month of manslaughter charges inconnection with the boating death of his friend Gian Carlo Coppola. But the22-year-old O'Neal was found guilty of operating a boat in a manner thatendangered life. "He used poor judgment," said Maryland Circuit CourtJudge Martin Wolff. "He was inexperienced, and he tried to squeeze througha small space." The Memorial Day accident occurred on the South River nearAnnapolis when a 14-foot runabout steered by O'Neal snagged a towline strungbetween two larger boats. Coppola, 23, son of movie director Francis FordCoppola, was thrown to the deck of the runabout and suffered massive headinjuries. "We have a tragic result," said the judge, "but death andnegligence don't equal manslaughter."
The publicitygenerated by O'Neal's trial has focused attention on the growing problem ofirresponsible boating. As more people take to the waterways, there are moreaccidents; Coppola's death was one of 11 Maryland boating fatalities last year.State Senator Raymond E. Beck thinks the high accident rate is due in part to alack of education. Unlike flying an airplane or driving a car, piloting a boatrequires no proficiency test. "The only thing you have to meet to put aboat on the water is the purchase price," says Beck, who adds that he willsupport legislation, to be introduced in the next session of the Marylandlegislature, that would mandate boat-safety courses.
Meanwhile O'Neal,who inadvertently drew attention to a serious problem, awaits sentencing onFeb. 27. He could draw three months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
As Colorado's recent 53-51 win over Tulsa mercifully wound toward the finalbuzzer, the commentators on ESPN's broadcast began rationalizing the lacklusterplay. At one point Wayne Larrivee noted that several players had been studyingfor semester finals. "Yeah," said his straightfaced sidekick, JimGibbons. "It's a distraction, I understand that."
Although we'reusually shy about tooting our own horn, we thought it worth mentioning thatSI's Ph.D. of Pigskin, the phenomenally prescient Dr. Z, was perfect inforeseeing this year's NFL playoff picture. Back before the season kicked off(SI, Sept. 3), the good doctor, more formally known as Paul Zimmerman,predicted that the 49ers, Bears, Giants, Broncos, Browns and Patriots would winthe six divisions. Furthermore, his crystal ball told of second-place finishesand possible wild-card berths for the Redskins, Rams, Jets and Chiefs. Thatmakes Dr. Z 10 for 10.
So what's going tohappen next? You might remember that Dr. Z predicted a Broncos-Giants SuperBowl, with the New Yorkers prevailing. But keep in mind that there may besomething to the J theory, as elucidated by San Francisco accountant SteveCarroll. Carroll expects the Redskins or 49ers to come out on top because theyfit the trend of this decade. "All six 1980s Super Bowls were won by teamswith starting quarterbacks whose first names began with the letter J and hadthree letters," says Carroll. The Raiders' Jim Plunkett was on the winningside in 1981 and '84; Joe Montana led the 49ers to titles in '82 and '85; JoeTheismann's Redskins won in '83, and Jim McMahon's Bears won last year. Carrollexpresses no opinion as to whether Montana and the 49ers or Jay Schroeder andthe Redskins will win in Pasadena. (Jim Everett's Rams had a shot under thissuperstitious system before they lost to the Skins, 19-7, on Sunday. See page14.) As for Dr. Z, he sees no science in the J theory and will stick with hisX's and O's.
Cincinnati mayor Charles Luken told Cleveland mayor George Voinovich that ifthe Bengals didn't win their Dec. 14 meeting with the Browns, Cleveland's flagwould fly above Cincy's city hall for one day. The Bengals did lose, and Lukenraised the flag—but he waited a week to do it. "I looked it up," saidthe mayor, "and December 21 is the shortest day of the year."
HE ALWAYS COMES TOPLAY
Last Friday inHartford, Whaler center Doug Jarvis moved to center ice, dug in the toe of hisstick and won the opening face-off cleanly. With that, he had skated in his915th consecutive NHL game, breaking the record of Garry Unger.
For a littleperspective on Jarvis's iron-man mark, consider this: An average of only two ofthe 40 players on each team compete in all 80 regular-season games. Jarvis, 31,has done that for nearly 12 straight years, playing every regular-season gamesince he broke in with Montreal in 1975. That's a dozen years without giving into illness; without spraining an ankle; without missing a plane. Considerfurther that the active player who comes closest to Jarvis's record isChicago's Steve Larmer, having played a measly 357 in a row. He needs anotherseven full seasons to reach 915. "I'm not sure Doug's record will be brokenfor a long time, if ever," says Hartford G.M. Emile Francis. "With theplayers being so much bigger and faster, the average playing career is reallydecreasing."
Jarvis didn'treach the record by being one of those bigger, faster players. At 5'9" and175 pounds, he looks more iron-poor than iron-man. A face-off specialist,penalty-killer extraordinaire and shadow to such stars as Trottier and Savard,Gretzky and Dionne, Jarvis has always played smart—nothing reckless ordangerous here. And he keeps himself in superb shape. "There's no doubtthat one of the reasons he's stayed healthy is his clean life-style," saysUnger, who retired in 1983.
"I've hadbumps, bruises and cuts—colds too," admits Jarvis. "Everybody who playsthis game does." Sure, but what about playing last year the day aftersuffering a concussion? "The doctors saw no reason why I couldn'tplay," Jarvis says with a shrug. "So why not?"
THEY SAID IT
•Bill Callahan, University of Missouri sportsinformation director, on how he improved at his job: "I used to have theworst time remembering names. Then I took that Sam Carnegie course and I'vebeen all right ever since."
•C.M. Newton, Vanderbilt basketball coach, misspeakingon a radio show about the loss of two Commodore starters: "We'll have touse some of our inexpensive players."
•Bo Schembechler, Michigan football coach, on why hedoesn't plan to become an athletic director after he finally wins a nationaltitle as a coach: "They don't hire 90-year-old AD's."
•Shirley Muldowney, drag racer: "I want to be thefastest woman in the world—in a manner of speaking."