Our Endeavor--to compile a list of jock-school superlatives--has
taken us from the bowels of Texas A&M's Kyle Field to the rim of
California's Memorial Stadium. From a ski trail in Middlebury,
Vt., to a wood-chip path in Eugene, Ore. We have employed the
scientific method (hypothesize, test, observe, fudge data) in an
attempt to answer questions that scholars have debated for
generations. Questions such as, What's the best surfing school?
Research was both exhaustive and exhausting. In short, we never
worked this hard in college.
BEST SCHOOL FOR BOWLING
Wichita State. The Shockers have the nation's only full-time
paid bowling coach, Gordon Vadakin, whose men's and women's
teams have won a combined 11 national titles since 1975. Vadakin
tenders $32,000 in scholarships annually and teaches an
11-session, one-credit bowling class (sample topic: presentation
of bowling ball dynamics). Go ahead, tap a kegler.
TEN BEST GOLF COURSES
Air Force, Arizona State, Duke, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio
State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Wisconsin, Yale. A collegian
with a golf itch and a car might be happiest, however, attending
Coastal Carolina, which has no course on its Conway, S.C.,
campus but is located less than an hour's drive from more than
100 open-to-the-public layouts.
MOST EXCLUSIVE GOLF COURSE
UNLV. The school doesn't own Shadow Creek, but unless the man
who does, Steve Wynn, invites you to play the course, as he has
Michael Jordan and George Bush, your only chance to set foot on
it is as a member of the Rebels men's team, which practices
BEST SCHOOL FOR INTENSE JOCKS
Air Force. Cadets must participate in a team athletic activity.
(Choices include parachuting.) The sports facilities are
first-class--better than those at the other service
academies--and the cafeteria, where cadets go to refuel, is one
of the world's largest. If you love sports, detest the hassle of
picking out a wardrobe and have no plans for your first seven
years after college, aim high. Now drop and gimme 20!
BEST RECREATION CENTER
Georgia. Opened in 1995, the school's $40 million Ramsey Student
Activities Center boasts, among other things, three pools, five
gyms (one of which holds four full basketball courts), 10
racquetball and two squash courts, and--for when final exams
have you scaling the walls--a 44-foot vertical climbing surface.
BEST SCHOOL FOR SURFING
UC San Diego. UC Santa Barbara has better surfers--witness the
Gauchos' nine national titles. But our top ranking goes to UCSD
because of the nearby beaches, such as Black's, which has some
of the tastiest waves in Southern California and is
nudist-friendly. Besides, La Jolla-based UCSD has better
sunsets. The shore at Santa Barbara actually faces east.
BEST SCHOOL FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING
Fort Lewis. This NCAA Division II institution is located in
Durango, Colo., the Shangri-la of off-road cycling, as evidenced
by the five bike shops in the picturesque town of 14,700.
"Within five miles of campus there are more than 20 very good
bike trails," says Keith Darner, who has coached the Skyhawks to
three national titles in the three years that a championship has
been staged. Three of the sport's stars--Ned Overend, Juli
Furtado and Missy Giove--live in Durango and are amiable enough
if you can catch up to them. No need to worry where to store
your bike: Dorm rooms come equipped with bike hangers.
BEST SCHOOL FOR ROCK CLIMBING
Colorado. A town named Boulder should be home to the premier
school for rock-climbing enthusiasts. The student rec center
offers classes in rock and ice climbing, and the Flatirons and
Boulder Canyon are minutes away by car or bike. The roof of
Colorado's engineering building, another favorite summit, is
BEST SCHOOL FOR RUNNING
Oregon. Pre's Trail, dedicated to Ducks distance star Steve
Prefontaine, who was killed in a car crash in 1975, offers five
miles of running along the scenic Willamette River. The course
is lit overhead and layered with wood chips underfoot. Or you
can do an interval workout at Hayward Field, the cathedral of
collegiate tracks. Keep an eye out for more accomplished joggers
such as Olympians Vicki Huber, Maria Mutola and Mary Slaney.
BEST SCHOOL FOR SKIING
Utah. Eight-session courses at Alta or Wolf Mountain are a
bargain at $140, including lift ticket. Expert-level resorts
such as Brighton and Ogden Valley--the latter a venue for the
2002 Olympics--are within an hour's drive of the Salt Lake City
BEST PICKUP-BASKETBALL GYM
Iowa. The 10 courts at the Fieldhouse, home to Hawkeye varsity
teams from 1926 to '82, are open 364 days a year from 7:30 a.m
to 10:30 p.m. After 3:30 a monitor enforces the rules--teams
must give up the court after three wins in a row; games up to
15, win by one; and women have priority if enough of them are
GREATEST INTRAMURAL EVENT
Indiana. The Little 500 stands alone. How many other intramurals
have inspired an Oscar-winning film (Breaking Away) and been
shown on ESPN? For the 10th year, the Women's Little 500, which
is half the distance (100 laps around the quarter-mile cinder
oval) of the men's race, will also be staged.
LOOPIEST INTRAMURAL EVENT
Indiana State. In the Sycamore Cup Tricycle Derby, a
three-wheeled cousin of the Little 500, six-rider teams pedal 50
laps around the quarter-mile oval at the Wabash County
Fairgrounds. The 20-inch-high trikes cost $1,200 each and can
attain speeds of more than 20 mph.
STRANGEST INTRAMURAL PASSION
Iowa State. Students here field more than 400 teams for
broomball, a form of ice hockey played in sneakers, with brooms
and a soccer ball.
BEST SCHOOL FOR ULTIMATE FRISBEE
UC Santa Barbara. The club team, the Black Tide, has won four
men's national titles. Its adviser is Tom Kennedy, a local
machinist who founded the Ultimate Players Association in 1979
and is one of the sport's West Coast pioneers.
BEST INTRAMURAL HOOPS TOURNAMENT
Notre Dame. Bookstore Basketball, the world's largest outdoor
five-on-five tournament, is contested over three weeks each
April by close to 700 teams. It goes on through rain, sleet,
snow--even spring football practice, from which quarterback Ron
Powlus is excused if his team has a game. More entertaining than
the quality of play are the team names, which often walk a
tightrope of tastefulness. Past examples include Roman
Polanski's Babysitting Service and Coach [Digger] Phelps:
Oxymoron or Just Moron?
BEST INTRAMURAL USE OF DIRT
Connecticut. The school dumps 250 tons of it into four
wood-framed courts, turns on a fire hose and creates knee-deep
muck for the annual oozeball (mud-volleyball) tournament.
LONGEST INTRAMURAL EVENT
Carleton College. In 1967, to celebrate their school's
centennial, students at this Division III college in Northfield,
Minn., staged a 100-inning softball game (final score: 100-82)
that lasted nine hours. In each succeeding year they have added
one inning to the game, which is known as Rotblatt, after former
Chicago White Sox pitcher Marvin Rotblatt (his bubblegum card
was a prized possession of one of the game's founders). As
usual, the best pitchers at next month's 131-inning affair will
have a foamy head.
BEST JOCK-SCHOOL GRADUATION EXERCISE
Middlebury. After their baccalaureate session, February grads at
this Division III Vermont school ski or snowboard down one of 15
trails at the college-owned ski area to the base, where their
graduation photo is taken. Middlebury also has more than 24
miles of cross-country ski trails, several of which wend their
way past poet Robert Frost's old cabin.
BEST PLACE TO WATCH BASEBALL
Mississippi State. Nobody knows exactly when folks started
parking their vee-hickles behind the leftfield fence at Dudy
Noble Field and taking in Bulldogs games as they would a
drive-in movie, but in 1987 the school decided to cash in on the
phenomenon. The Left Field Lounge is now a designated area of
nearly 100 rental spaces ($100 to $150 per space for the
season), two-deep, that fill up with cars, pickups and even
torn-out bus seats carried in by students. Some fans fire up
grills; opposing team buses are often delayed in leaving while
players load up plates with barbecue for the trip home.
BEST PLACE TO WATCH BASKETBALL
Texas-Arlington. Texas Hall is a 4,200-seat theater that houses
the school's dramatic productions. A basketball floor is laid
down over the stage before the hoops season, and "Break a leg!"
is replaced by "Don't tear an ACL!"
BEST HAND SIGNAL
Texas. Put up just your pinkie and your index finger and your
message is clear: Hook 'em, Horns.
(tie) Kentucky and USC. The Wildcats have won more national
competitions (seven) than any other school, but the USC song
girls, resplendent in their traditional white sweaters, embody
the California ideal.
BEST PLACE TO CHEER
Texas A&M. Before each home football game the Aggies hold
midnight yell practice at Kyle Field. Toward the end of the
practice, the stadium lights are turned off, which is a cue to
kiss your date. "If you know the engineer," says A&M sports
information director Alan Cannon, "you can slip him a few bucks
to keep the lights off a few extra moments."
MOST POLITICALLY INCORRECT FIGHT SONG
New Mexico State. An excerpt: "We'll buy a keg of booze/And
we'll drink to the Aggies/'Til we wobble in our shoes...."
MOST OBTUSE CHEER
UC Davis. "Bossy Cow Cow [pause], Honey BeeBee [pause], Oleo
Margarine, Oleo Butterine, Alfalfa [long pause], hay!" The
intent of the cheer is "to confuse the opposition and their
cheering section," explains one Aggie student.
"It works remarkably well."
MOST VENERABLE RIVALRY
Harvard versus Yale, rowing. The nation's oldest intercollegiate
sporting event was first staged in 1852 and has been held almost
every year since. The race is contested each June on the Thames
River in New London, Conn.
MOST OBSCURE RIVALRY
Navy versus St. John's College, croquet. No two schools could be
farther apart pedagogically (one is a military academy, the
other a Great Books college) or closer geographically (the two
Annapolis, Md., campuses are separated by only the width of King
George Street). While cadets must participate in a sport, be it
intercollegiate or intramural, St. John's has little in the way
of sports, other than intramurals ... and its croquet club. The
Johnnies have won 11 of the 14 Annapolis Cup matches. "You don't
understand," says one plebe. "They're out practicing croquet
every afternoon! Alabama should take football this seriously."
BEST SCHOOL IF YOU DREAM OF BECOMING A SPORTSCASTER
Syracuse. Alumni include Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Dick Stockton,
Mike Tirico and not Brent Musberger.
FIVE MUST-VISIT SPORTS BARS
1. Bubba's II, Thibodaux, La. (Nicholls State)
2. The Esso Club, Clemson, S.C.
3. 44's, Syracuse, N.Y.
4. Dan Marino's American Sports Bar & Grill, Coconut Grove, Fla.
5. Tony's Locker Room, Muncie, Ind. (Ball State)
BEST GRIDIRON VIEW
Cal. From parts of the rim of Memorial Stadium--or the hill
behind it--one can take in much of the San Francisco Bay area.
BEST COACH'S SHOW
Colorado. Buffaloes football coach Rick Neuheisel brings an
acoustic guitar and glib wit to his weekly Wednesday night radio
show, broadcast from a Boulder Holiday Inn. A proud Parrothead,
Neuheisel plays Jimmy Buffet tunes on request.
BIGGEST HELMET COLLECTION
Oklahoma. In 1982 football equipment manager Dorman Knight, now
deceased, started a collection of helmets that today includes
more than 100 Division I schools and every NFL team except the
Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
MOST JOCKISHLY STASHED SI COLLECTION
Texas A&M. Associate athletic director Bill Pickard, a charter
subscriber, has kept every issue (this week he'll receive number
2,218). In 1987 his wife, Linda, grew tired of seeing so much
home storage space consumed by the magazines. Now Pickard keeps
the collection in a storage room underneath Kyle Field's west
JOCK-SCHOOL DREAM SCHEDULE
(ALL CLASSES ACTUALLY EXIST)
P.E. 03644--Coaching Football, University of Florida (2
credits). Students must scout one game and put together a
playbook. Guest lecturer: Steve Spurrier.
KINESIOLOGY 443--The Modern Olympic Games, Penn State (3
credits). Made popular by now retired professor John Lucas, who
was named North America's official International Olympic
Committee (IOC) lecturer by IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch
in 1993. The title of one lecture: "Television and Corporation
Monies. 'Thank You, Peter Ueberroth!'"
INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS-COLLECTIVE BARGAINING 603--The
Economics of Collective Bargaining in Sports, Cornell (3
credits). Or you could just rent Jerry Maguire when it goes to
FINE ARTS 237--The Architecture of Sport and Spectacle in
Ancient Rome, Harvard (one half-course credit). Did the
Colosseum have a retractable roof? (Maybe.) Christian and lion
locker rooms? (Sort of.) How did the facilities built by the
Greeks and the Romans differ? (You'll have to take the course to
SOCIAL SCIENCE 200--Fields of Dreams: Baseball, American Culture
and the Open Road, Alabama (3 credits). Professor Rich Megraw's
syllabus refers to spring break as the "seventh-inning stretch."
The course includes a five-day field trip to see games played at
five levels, from the low-level minors to the major leagues.
Georgia. If you can't appreciate the swaggering gait and
Churchillian physiognomy of UGA V, the Bulldogs' bulldog, you
must be a cat lover.
North Alabama. O.K., so you're a cat lover. You'd purr for Leo
II, a nine-year-old male lion whose outdoor caged compound is
located only steps from the student union. He's considerably
better behaved than his predecessor, the original Leo, who
during a 1974 photo shoot nipped Miss Alabama on the posterior
(or, as she put it, "punctuated" her visit).
MOST INDEFATIGABLE COSTUMED MASCOT
St. Joseph's. The Hawk is required to flap his wings ceaselessly
from the moment the St. Joe's basketball team takes the floor
until the game ends.
1 George Steinbrenner A Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
2 Arnold Palmer B Wichita State
3 Dick Vitale C Brown
4 Ted Turner D Seton Hall
5 Bill Parcells E Wake Forest
6 John Madden F Williams
Who Did What?
1 Orville Redenbacher A Played basketball at
2 Tommy Lee Jones B Ran track at Purdue
3 Strom Thurmond C Was All-Ivy football player at
4 Dean Cain D Ran cross-country at Clemson
5 ESPN's Robin Roberts E Was All-Ivy soccer player at
6 Andrew Shue F Was All-America football player at
ANSWERS: Alumni Matchup: 1-F, 2-E, 3-D, 4-C, 5-B, 6-A
Who Did What?: 1-B, 2-C, 3-D, 4-F, 5-A, 6-E