Henry Nichols, chairman of the education and human services department at Villanova, who in his spare time was the best referee in all of college basketball, is not working any ACC, Big East, SEC, Metro, Sun Belt or NCAA tournament games this season.
No, he's not protesting Bylaw 5-1-(j) or the inclusion of Keith ("Fumbllllle...Huskers!") Jackson on the new ABC-TV basketball crew. Nichols has become the national coordinator for a special NCAA committee on the improvement of officiating. For the next two years he and NCAA rules editor Ed Steitz will conduct mandatory seminars for all Division I officials, coaches and conference supervisors. Nichols, a 16-year NCAA veteran who has worked more national championship games—including 6 of the last 12—and appeared in more Final Fours than any other ref, says his committee "will help achieve consistency in officiating, one of our top priorities."
Great idea? Got to be applauded by all concerned? Coaches will get in line to support the effort, right? Guess again. Kansas's Larry Brown, who spent most of the off-season griping that Danny Manning was jobbed in his pitiful NCAA semifinal showing against Duke last March, says that an instructional film Nichols shows at his seminars is "confusing" and was "edited wrong." Brown contends that an offending segment shows Kansas's Greg Dreiling fouling a Blue Devil player when it was really the Duke guy who fouled Dreiling. O.K., what does Oklahoma's Billy Tubbs think about the new committee? "I am not sure we need that," he says. "I don't think it is necessary at all. I don't think it will help a damn bit."
BACK TO YOU, ED
So what will? Fred Barakat, the supervisor of ACC officials, said that his referees' halftime decision to change a basket by Wake Forest's Muggsy Bogues from three points to two (SI, Jan. 12) was "the right decision."
"Wrong," says Dr. Steitz, the guy who hammered the three-pointer into law. Citing Rule 2, section 10-e (Correctable Errors), Steitz said the point should not have been removed because correctable errors must be changed before the second resumption of play after the error was made.
By your leave (or words to that effect), said Barakat. "A correctable error always occurs with the clock stopped. This [Bogues's shot] happened with the clock running. I don't agree with the interpretation, and I'm upset and sick over the fact that now we're being told that we're wrong."
Not necessarily wrong. Everybody's just totally, inexorably, unforgivably confused. Hey, Mr. Nichols, looks like coordinating starts in the home office.
BUT CAN THEY ARBITRAGE?
Army's Kevin Houston (page 30) isn't the only surprising name to be found among last week's NCAA statistics leaders. What about Jim Barton? Alan Williams? Chris Dudley? Do you know them? Well, turn in your BILL BRADLEY FOR PRESIDENT button if you don't. It's not enough that Harvard has named its offense Scoot 'n Shoot ("Look, Muffy, a cute nickname just for us"), all of them are Ivy guys through and through. Barton of Dartmouth ranked fifth in scoring (27.1 points per game). Williams of Princeton was No. 1 in field goal shooting (71.1%) and Dudley of Yale was tops in rebounding (13.6 a game). Moreover, you surely will recall Barton as the 6'4" soph who scored 40 points when the Big Green spoiled Tito Horford's debut at Miami, while Dudley is, of course, the 6'10" senior whose father, mother, uncle and grandfather all studied at Yale. The latter, Guilford Dudley, also served as ambassador to Denmark under Nixon. And that's not Norm Nixon.
AT CENTER: FRANK N. STEIN
The All-Morbid Award for this turn of the moon goes to Northwestern (La.) State SID Tom Wancho, who created a "resurrection" theme for this season's press guide because coach Don Beasley improved a 3-25 record to 11-16 in '85-86—as if that's very much alive.
The cover of the booklet shows the Demons posing in the graveyard of the Holy Cross Catholic Church of Natchitoches. The back cover presents the team's '86-87 schedule and calls it the "Northwestern State University 1986-87 Obituary Page." For headings, in place of the usual "opponent," "place" and "date" there is "deceased," "place of death" and "time of death." Inside, returning players' stats are listed inside sketches of tombstones.
"It was difficult just getting most of those guys to go into a graveyard," says Wancho. "As soon as we shot the picture some of them ran out of the cemetery faster than they run on the court."
And it could have been worse. Wancho wanted to shoot the returning vets sitting in a coffin, until that idea got vetoed. Who's the guy with the taste? Thus far, by the by, the Demons are 8-4. AaaaOWWWWW.
REPORTING FOR DUTY
Norris Coleman at last, read a fan's sign on Saturday, when the 25-year-old Kansas State sophomore and former Army sergeant entered a game for the first time since the NCAA declared him ineligible last February. That's when it was discovered that Coleman, the highest-scoring freshman in Division I in '85-86, with a 21.8-point average, had not earned a 2.0 average at Paxon Senior High in Jacksonville way back in 1979. After a summer of hearings, rulings and appeals, the NCAA. K State and Coleman agreed on a compromise—the Sgt. would pay back his '85-86 scholarship (roughly $3,000), the Wildcats would forfeit their 16 wins with Coleman and he would lose approximately half a season of eligibility.
"Who's to say if they were right or wrong?" Coleman said. "I'm not going to be the Boz of basketball. You take your licking and keep on ticking."
Coleman did not start against Nebraska, but he played 26 minutes, scoring 23 points with a game-high 9 rebounds, in K State's 114-82 victory. That set a school scoring record for the surprising (10-3) Cats. "It seems like the older I get, the better I get," said Coleman.
UHBUHDEE...THAT'S ALL FOLKS
Bob Knight has missed four of the last five annual Big Ten preseason media sessions in Chicago, and last week he was the only conference coach not to participate in the loop's first weekly teleconference.
When the Indiana coach did not appear at the November function he, along with the rest of the league's coaches, received a letter from the league's assistant commissioner, Clarence Underwood, informing them that their attendance would be required at such events in the future. The Chicago Sun-Times and The Indianapolis Star printed Knight's reply:
"In reference to your letter of November 19th, I have two questions and they are as follows:
1) If a person would be sick and unable to attend the press conference, how much prior notice does he have to give to your office indicating that he knows he is going to be sick?
2) If a person becomes sick without being able to give sufficient prior notice, would a letter from his mother be satisfactory for his absence?"
Oh, there was a PS as well:
"Clarence, would you send me a list of the meetings that faculty representatives and athletic directors are required to attend. Also, please send me a list of those in each group who have been reprimanded for not attending those meetings."
And under the PS was a CC, a list of people who supposedly received copies of the letter: "Wayne Duke [Big Ten commissioner], Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Garfield, Pogo, William Rehnquist, William Webster, National Security Council, Corazon Aquino, Neale Stoner [Illinois athletic director]."
FINAH IN KANSALINA?
In the first Prodigal Sons Mid-Plains Face-Off last week, rookie Wichita State coach Eddie Fogler got the biggest victory of his young coaching career by upsetting fellow North Carolina grad and Dean Smith disciple Larry Brown's Kansas 54-49, in a series that may be no less bitter than the longtime relations between the two former Heels.
Fogler has not forgotten—nor forgiven—Brown for making off with Carolina-bred Danny Manning after Fogler, then an N.C. assistant, thought Manning would enroll at Chapel Hill. Recently the coaches clashed over another recruit, Mike Maddox of Oklahoma City, with Kansas winning again after Brown had reportedly promised Maddox that he would remain as KU coach for all of Maddox's four years. Uh-huh.
Brown and Fogler are widely held to be cofavorites to succeed Smith at Chapel Hill when the Tar Heel mentor decides to step down, sometime in the next millennium. By then, of course, Brown will have completed coaching stints at Kentucky, Rhode Island, the Colorado School of Mines, NYU, Bethune-Cookman, De Matha High, Tulane, UCLA (redux) and San Jacinto Junior College, as well as the New York Knicks and teams in the CBA, Zimbabwe and Paraguay.
Meanwhile, following the Shockers' shocker last week, Fogler received this anonymous telegram from Chapel Hill: "Congratulations. Renegotiate. Now."
It was not from Deano.
AND HIS FUTURE'S AHEAD OF HIM
Bob Healey, sportscaster for the Iowa TV network, on Bo Cucuz of Northwestern: "Cucuz was originally born in Yugoslavia."
Among the 10 BYU players who have served missions are 5 who spent time in Spanish-speaking countries. At certain moments their linguistic skill has proven valuable, as in the Cougars' 77-74 WAC victory over Wyoming. In-bounding the ball under his own basket at a critical point, BYU guard Bob Capener (Chile) glanced at forward Mike Smith (Argentina), who said, "Pasame la pelota. Voy a la cesta, "which means: "Pass me the ball. I'm going to the basket."
As the Cowboys stood around waiting for a translator, the Coogs got an easy two points. If Smith and the rest of the 11-6 Coogs keep it up, the rest of the league may be speaking some Spanish of their own. Like "No màs."
Attractions That Should Be Saved On Videotape Forever Dept.: Gary Grant of Michigan (35 points) against Dennis Hopson of Ohio State (39) in the Wolverines' 107-92 victory was the most spectacular athlete-o-rama this side of Air Jordan.
Clemson coach Cliff Ellis handed down history's shortest suspension when he penalized center Horace Grant for missing curfew in Hawaii. When the Tigers opened their ACC season against N.C. State, Grant sat sure enough—for exactly 59 seconds, before leading Clemson to a 73-69 victory.
Sandy Harding, point guard for the Kentucky Lady Kats, has five blocked shots, meaning if she were an inch taller, she'd have one block for every foot of her height.
The Kansas Jayhawks are not very tough, says Larry Brown, a boyhood friend of comedian Billy Crystal. "We had our flu shots earlier this week, and half our players are still wearing their Band-Aids."
Jacksonville was 2-6 on Dec. 21, when a fire broke out in the off-campus apartment building where many of the Dolphins live. Most had gone home for the holidays, but when guard Curtis Taylor, an Illinois transfer who's sitting out this season, returned from the store to the blazing building he helped save the life of a three-year-old girl by catching the child as her mother dropped her from a second-story balcony. Jax has since won five in a row.
When Kentucky coaches told Richard Madison he reminded them of Paul Silas, the Master Blaster replied, "Is he a movie star or a rhythm-and-blues singer?"
Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote on the Spartans: "We need to win sooner or later. Not to get back in the Big Ten race. But to get back in the human race."
In San Jose State's 79-62 victory over New Mexico State, coach Bill Berry's son, 6'8" Ricky, played four positions effectively, both offensively and on D—shades of Magic Johnson at Michigan State when, incidentally, Berry senior was a Spartan assistant to Heathcote.
That is the percentage of Wake Forest's points accounted for by 5'3" senior Muggsy Bogues (23 scored; 37 assisted on) in a 91-88 overtime loss to Clemson. That may be the most points per player inch ever produced.
Todd May, formerly of Kentucky and Wake Forest, is now at tiny Pikeville (Ky.) College, averaging 44.5 points and 15.0 rebounds. Richmond's PETER WOOLFOLK, no piker he, grabbed 20 rebounds to go with his 26 points against Fairfield and scored 24 in a 64-62 upset of Navy.
SI TOP 20
1. UNLV (14-0)
2. N. CAROLINA (13-1)
3. IOWA (15-0)
4. INDIANA (11-1)
5. PURDUE (12-1)
6. SYRACUSE (14-0)
8. TEMPLE (14-2)
9. DUKE (11-2)
10. G' TOWN (11-1)
11. ILLINOIS (12-2)
12. CLEMSON (13-0)
13. ALABAMA (10-2)
14. TCU (12-3)
15. AUBURN (9-2)
16. FLORIDA (12-3)
17. OKLAHOMA (9-3)
18. PITT (10-3)
19. ST. JOHN'S (10-2)
19.9 COLGATE* (0-12)
*Red Raiders, 0-31 over two seasons, eyeing Division I record 37 straight L's set by The Citadel, 1954-55. Uh-oh. Manhattanville looks beatable.