Doing the Legwork
In the battle to lure top recruits, the kindliness of campus
hostesses can make all the difference. And you thought it was the
new physics lab
Like thousands of high school seniors being courted by college
football programs this month, Dominic Cooper will have been led
through hangar-sized weight rooms and plied with prime rib
dinners by the time National Signing Day rolls around on Feb. 5.
Yet should Cooper, a defensive end from New Orleans's O.P. Walker
High, forego scholarship offers from Colorado and LSU and sign
with Clemson, Tigers fans can thank a fresh-faced nursing student
with a southern drawl. Albertine White, who on Jan. 11 ate
breakfast and toured the campus with Cooper as one of the Tiger
PAWS, the school's official recruiting hostesses, may be the
difference if Cooper comes to Clemson. "Albertine's recruit was
smitten with her," says PAWS chief Jill Wilks. Adds White,
giggling, "He said that if there were more girls like me, he
could definitely see himself coming here."
Welcome to a checkered but unchecked area of college athletics.
The NCAA has rules on just about every aspect of
recruiting--visits can't be longer than 48 hours; entertainment
outings must be within 30 miles of campus--but no one monitors
the practice of using women to wangle a player commitment. The
tradition began in earnest when Bear Bryant sent lipsticked,
winsome coeds to visit All-Americas considering Alabama in the
1960s. Since then the use of hostesses to schmooze prospects has
become routine. Texas has its Angels, Alabama its 'Bama Belles,
N.C. State its Stately Ladies. Recently, Maryland football coach
Ralph Friedgen noted that the school's "personable and pretty
girls" (a.k.a. the Black-Eyed Susans) are "a valuable asset."
If you think using women as bait sounds antiquated, unsavory or
both, you're not alone. Friedgen's comments led to an editorial
in his school's newspaper decrying hostesses as "archaic." And in
November an Arizona State student got national attention when,
writing in ASU's State Press, she labeled the Sun Devil
Recruiters "hos to attract the bros." Some hostess squad leaders
have lately felt it necessary to speak out in defense of their
members. Says Debbie Yow, Maryland athletic director, "Our
Black-Eyed Susans wear camper clothes--sneakers and khakis. We're
not selling sex."
January 27, 2003
Still, some recruits may find it hard to see where the lines are
drawn. Besides being escorted around by hostesses, recruits
visiting Alabama and Michigan in recent years have also been
entertained by strippers. Last month a woman filed a $1 million
suit against the University of Colorado alleging she was raped at
an off-campus party for football recruits. Stephanie Barnes, a
former 'Bama Belle, understands how things can get out of hand.
One high-profile recruit, she says, tried to lure her to his
hotel room, saying, "The girls at Kentucky and Georgia did it."
"The mindset of these recruits is one of entitlement," says Kathy
Redmond, of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, "yet
they're expected to know the difference between women who want to
be with them and those who don't."
Some schools are making adjustments. In recent years Miami's
Hurricane Honeys were renamed the Cane Connection, Clemson's
Bengal Babes became the Tiger PAWS, and most athletic departments
now require hostesses to sign contracts saying that they will
conduct themselves with decorum around recruits. In the end
self-policing may clean up an area where the regulators seem
afraid to tread. --Kelley King
SI's Frank Deford says the USOC is an utter embarrassment
A couple of weeks ago, in writing my weekly commentary for
National Public Radio, I reached back in time and searched to
find just the right word to describe members of our esteemed
United States Olympic Committee. I finally remembered a wonderful
forgotten pejorative: nincompoop. The response has been
unanimous; I have never been so commended for a word choice.
Our USOC is peopled, manned and womanned, by nincompoops.
Since I wrote that, five members of our USOC have resigned--four
of them members of the ethics committee--because Lloyd Ward, your
USOC Chief Executive, was not fired after blatant
conflict-of-interest charges. After all, these members must have
reasoned, why should Ward be any different? Presidents and
executive directors of the USOC regularly are fired or forced out
for various ethical abuses.
Then we discovered that the chairman of the ethics committee,
Kenneth Duberstein, an apparatchik in the Reagan Administration,
was accused by a member of the ethics committee of trying to
silence complaints about ethical matters on the ethics committee.
But then the USOC, hidden away from the mainstream media under a
mountain somewhere in Colorado, operates without anybody ever
caring--until it messes up (again) so badly that the media
suddenly remember we actually do have an Olympic committee. The
U.S. is so parochial in its sports interest. A Bud Selig sneeze
or a Paul Tagliabue cough interests us much more than the
epidemics of shame and slapstick at Camp USOC.
And, of course, how much damage can one man do? As soon as Lloyd
Ward was given the all-clear, he issued a statement boasting of
how well our Olympic athletes perform under his aegis. Hey,
Lloyd, we're the U.S.A., world's only superpower, third most
populous, richer, stronger. We have better rap artists, sneakers,
horror movies, weapons of mass destruction, stock options,
frequent flyer miles and cheeseburgers than everybody else. Good
grief, to the chagrin of the rest of the denizens of God's green
earth, we even fell into the quarterfinals of the World Cup when
we don't give a fig about soccer.
There's a sad irony to it all too. Our country has the most
magnificent tradition of volunteerism, but we attract only
second-rate jock-sniffers to our sports organizations. (See also:
Johnson, Hootie.) The IOC is certainly no repository of intellect
and morality, but even its members are appalled at the low level
of talent that surfaces on the USOC.
If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny. It's not easy being the
juggernaut and the laughingstock of international sport, both.
$1.26 million Salary Blazers forward Rasheed Wallace will forfeit
(he earns $16.2 million a year) during his seven-game suspension
for threatening a game official in a parking lot outside
Portland's Rose Garden.
18 Minutes NBA officials working the Pistons-Pacers game last
Saturday needed to determine that Indiana forward Jermaine
O'Neal's game-winning jumper had indeed beaten the buzzer.
17 Years agents Leigh Steinberg and Jeffrey Moorad have hosted a
Super Bowl party, including this year's bash at the San Diego
$2.1 million Average price for a 30-second Super Bowl ad on ABC,
up from $1.9 million for last year's game on Fox.
$1,500 Fine assessed top-ranked Serena Williams for using obscene
language during her first-round match at the Australian Open.
5 Defensive coordinators for the Redskins over the last five
seasons, including George Edwards, who was hired last week to
replace Marvin Lewis.
18,000 Feet above Qualcomm Stadium that will be enforced by U.S.
military planes as part of the Super Bowl's no-fly zone.
FOR THE RECORD
IGNITED With three goals in his first two games for Everton, the
English soccer career of Brian McBride, a striker for the U.S.
national team and the Columbus Crew of MLS. McBride, 30, scored
10 minutes into his Premiership debut on Jan. 11, shooting the
ball past Tottenham keeper (and fellow American) Kasey Keller.
Last Saturday, McBride scored twice in the Toffees' 2--1 win over
Sunderland, once on an overhead kick. McBride is the first U.S.
nongoalie to sign with a European team since the World Cup. "I
think people are starting to take the U.S. players more
seriously," he said after Saturday's game. He will return to
Columbus for its April 5 season opener.
SENTENCED To 18 months in prison for interstate domestic
violence, former heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe. On Feb. 25,
1998, Bowe abducted his estranged wife, Judy, and their five
children from her home in Cornelius, N.C., and set out toward
Fort Washington, Md., where they had formerly lived. According to
reports, Bowe showed his wife a knife, handcuffs, pepper spray
and duct tape and told her he "came ready." Judy Bowe used a
cellphone to call a relative from the bathroom of a Virginia
fast-food restaurant, and authorities were alerted. Bowe, 35, who
said during the trial that he suffered from brain damage, retired
in '97 with a 4011 record and more than $75 million in earnings.
NOMINATED For induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,
Pete Rose. He will be evaluated with 45 other nominees, including
former Blue Jay Joe Carter; inductees, who must be chosen by 12
of the Hall's 16 voters, will be announced Feb. 24. Rose's
eligibility is based on his half season with the Expos in 1984,
during which he got his 4,000th hit. "This is not a p.r. stunt,"
says Hall president Tom Valcke. Says Rose: "Regarding any sincere
recognition of my accomplishments, I'm all for it."
REVEALED By The New England Journal of Medicine, that NFL players
are five times more likely than other men their age to suffer
from sleep apnea. The disorder, characterized by breathing lapses
while sleeping, is linked to heart disease, stroke and
hypertension. It occurred in 14% of the more than 300 players who
were monitored. "You wouldn't expect people in their 20s and in
top condition to have this," said Dr. Charles George, the study's
principal investigator. George said the high incidence may stem
from the players' large size. The findings could help doctors
detect apnea sufferers at an earlier age. For players, treatment
could lead to quicker reaction time and speedier recovery from
MISSED A foul shot by Butler's senior guard Darnell Archey
against Youngstown State last Saturday, ending the longest
consecutive-free-throw streak in Division I history at 85. It was
Archey's first miss since Feb. 8, 2001, a span of 56 games. "Once
I missed, it kind of hurt," Archey said. "I wanted to get 100."
After the game Archey returned to the court and hit a ceremonial
free throw in front of a cheering home crowd. For his career
Archey has gone 128 for 135 (.948) from the line.
Indicated That she may retire from tennis, Martina Hingis. The
22-year-old Hingis, who's won 38 WTA singles titles including
five Grand Slam events, told a Swiss news agency that "it is
quite possible that I will never play top-level tennis again,
because my feet don't allow it." Hingis had surgery to repair
ligaments in her right ankle in October 2001 and in her left
ankle in May. Though she returned briefly after the first
surgery, recurring pain has kept her out of competition since
COMPLETEd By Buffalo bachelors Peter Farrell and Andrew Kulyk a
quest that took them to every venue in the NBA, the NFL, the NHL
and major league baseball. All told, Kulyk, who's 45 and owns an
exterminating company, and Farrell, a 32-year-old mailman,
visited 102 venues in 49 cities, traveling sporadically over four
years and eight months. "We did this in lieu of taking
vacations," says Kulyk.
Although Kulyk waxes nostalgic over a "room in the Doubletree in
Seattle for $23 a night," he and Farrell each spent about $20,000
on the odyssey. They've gained a measure of fame by chronicling
their adventures on a website (www.thesportsroadtrip.com), where
they rate venues from one to five stars and provide commentary on
parking, food, seating, fan friendliness and tailgating
opportunities. A five-star example: Indianapolis's Conseco
Fieldhouse, home of the Pacers ("Personifies the basketball
tradition in the Hoosier State ... not just a fieldhouse it is
THE fieldhouse ... the finest [venue] of them all"). A one-star
example: Miami's Pro Player Stadium, home of the Marlins ("too
big, too orange, too empty and probably the worst pure baseball
experience in the bigs").
"We also give props to the pulled pork nachos at The Pyramid in
Memphis," says Farrell. "Man, this was a great way to see the
country." The stunt has been such a success--the two were
scheduled to appear on the Today show on Jan. 24 and are in
negotiations for a book about the journey--that they won't let it
end. They plan to visit and rank the nine major venues slated to
open in the next two years, including Cincinnati's Great American
Ballpark, Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field and the Houston
Arena. And soon they're hoping to go global with a 12-stadium
pilgrimage to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. "If you think about
it," says Kulyk, "it's a trip with no end."
Three Times a Lady
Michelle Kwan won another U.S. title, but she's not alone at the
Not only did Michelle Kwan, Sarah Hughes and the elfin Sasha
Cohen all skate well enough to win the women's U.S. Figure
Skating Championships in Dallas last weekend, they also gave a
glittering alternative to the sloppy men's competition. Michael
Weiss's path to the title is too desultory to rehash, the first
hash of it providing indigestion aplenty.
The feel-good story out of Dallas was Kwan, who went in as an
underdog despite having won six of the last seven U.S.
titles--she's 22, after all, an old bat--and skated better than
she has since 1998. By winning her seventh U.S. crown, Kwan
trails only Maribel Vinson Owen, who won nine between 1928 and
The championships also reminded us that Kwan, Hughes (who was
second) and Cohen (third) comprise a U.S. threesome as unique and
talented as any who've competed at the same time. This leads to
speculation of a sweep at the World Championships in Washington,
D.C., in March. That's only happened once, in '91, when Kristi
Yamaguchi won gold, Tonya Harding silver and Nancy Kerrigan
That there's a chance for history to repeat itself is due largely
to Hughes, 17. The surprise gold medalist in Salt Lake City last
February has thus far eschewed a pro career and is the first
reigning Olympic champion to return to compete at the U.S.
nationals. Hughes, who calls her desire to skate "addictive,"
skated winningly in Dallas despite having missed several months
with a torn muscle behind her right knee. She didn't attempt
either of her triple-triple combinations, the technical element
that swept her to victory in Salt Lake, but she showed the
competitive fire that's her hallmark, and that, along with her
ability to convey the pure pleasure she feels when skating, makes
her a threat in D.C.
Cohen, 18, who changed coaches during the summer, is now with
Tatiana Tarasova, a renowned groomer of Olympic champions. Cohen
entered the competition as the favorite, and despite a few small
errors she unveiled her strengths--the dizzying variety of body
positions and startling spins that make her the most arresting
skater competing today. "All of us are tough cookies," said Kwan
Kwan is a link to that triumphant trio of '91. After that year
Yamaguchi won Olympic gold in '92, then went pro; Kerrigan won
the U.S. title in '93, and Harding schemed with ex-husband Jeff
Gillooly to whack Kerrigan with a pipe at the '94 U.S. nationals.
The scandal created unprecedented interest in the sport, and
Kerrigan proved to be a tough cookie herself, winning silver at
Lillehammer. Kwan, who was second in the '94 nationals, was in
Lillehammer as an alternate in case Harding was kicked off the
team. (She wasn't but was later banned.) That was the first of
Kwan's Olympics. From the looks of things, she may have one more
in her. --E.M. Swift
Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, the reputed Russian mobster accused of
masterminding the Salt Lake City vote-swapping scandal that
briefly cost Jamie Sale and David Pelletier their Olympic golds,
is languishing in a Venice jail--held at the request of U.S.
prosecutors and facing several charges, including conspiracy to
commit bribery. An Italian court has ruled that Tokhtakhounov,
53, should be extradited to the U.S., but that's on hold while he
appeals and while Venetian prosecutors probe his possible role in
mob and money-laundering schemes. Tokhtakhounov denies any
KEVIN MCENROE AND JOAKIM NOAH
Noah faced McEnroe on the court last week, except that it wasn't
that Noah, that McEnroe or even that kind of court. In a high
school basketball game in New York City, Brooklyn's Poly Prep,
featuring 6'10" star center Joakim Noah, son of Yannick, scored a
60--30 win over Manhattan's Trinity School, featuring 6'1"
reserve forward Kevin McEnroe, son of John. "Hey, man, good to
finally meet you," Joakim, 17, told Kevin, 16, after the game.
"Heard a lot about you," Kevin replied. Joakim, who scored 21
points, is a Division I prospect but doesn't play tennis. He says
the time he beat his father--who is divorced from Joakim's mother
and lives in Paris--in a game of 21 was "the greatest feeling of
my life." Kevin is a three-sport athlete at Trinity, where he
plays soccer and his best sport, tennis. "He's a good kid who
doesn't get caught up in trying to please me," says John, who
missed the game but often sees Kevin play. ("He doesn't talk to
the refs," Kevin swears.) John says Yannick, whom he beat in
doubles in the '82 Davis Cup, was "one of the cooler guys on
tour. I'm psyched to see Joakim [at the Feb. 14
rematch]." --Brian Cazeneuve
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
JANUARY 24--JANUARY 30
FRIDAY 1/24 > ESPN2 8 PM > Wizards at Bulls
If you think the murder trial of Roxie Hart captivated Chicago,
watch as Michael Jordan plays his last game (we think) in the
town he owned for two decades.
FRIDAY 1/24 > ESPN 9:30 PM > Australian Open: Women's Singles
This is the one Grand Slam neither Williams sister has won. Will
that end tonight?
SATURDAY 1/25 > CBS 1 PM > Arizona at Kansas
The Wildcats (13--1 through Sunday) and the Jayhawks (13--3) were
ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in our college hoops
preview--and we're not backing off.
SATURDAY 1/25 > HBO 10 PM > Vernon Forrest vs. Ricardo Mayorga
A title unification match between the WBC welterweight champ
Forrest (35--0, 26 KOs), a master technician, and brawling WBA
champ Mayorga (2431, 22 KOs).
MONDAY 1/27 > FSN 5 PM > 54321
SportsCenter for the Generation Y Crowd: Fox Sports debuts the
first daily show covering news and personalities in action sports
such as skateboarding and surfing.
THURSDAY 1/30 > ESPN2 9 PM > Winter X Games
There's no business like snow business. The seventh version of
this madeforTV event features UltraCross, a relay combining
skiing and snowboarding, along with snowmobiling, Moto X and
other high-speed madness.
>> DON'T MISS
SUNDAY 1/26 > ABC 6 PM
Super Bowl: Raiders vs. Bucs
Or is it Gruden vs. Gruden? In a delicious subplot to a game that
pits the NFL's most prolific offense (the Raiders) against its
stingiest defense (the Buccaneers), Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden
tries to beat the team he helped to build.
Meet Mike Millionaire
One Hot League
Reality shows, as president of ABC entertainment Susan Lyne put
it last week, can be like crack for networks. And the addiction
only grows worse. As SI first reported last August, a reality
show featuring Mike Tyson is moving inexorably toward reality.
Triage Entertainment, the folks who brought you Victoria's Secret
Fashion Show on CBS last year, are planning a series that would
follow an ordinary joe as he trains for a fight against Iron
Mike, which would take place on the final episode. A Triage
spokesperson told SI that the show "is a done deal," and Fox
(naturally) is among the networks reportedly interested. While
Tyson adviser Shelly Finkel was more cautious, saying they were
still in negotiations with Triage, he noted that Tyson wouldn't
be afraid to let the cameras follow him around. If the deal's
made, said Finkel, "you'll see a lot of Mike Tyson." A Tyson show
could well be a hit. Iron Mike's carnival act mixes celebrity,
sleaze (think Anna Nicole Smith) and danger (think Fear Factor),
and the prospect of some schlub getting his lights punched out
will have the appeal of a televised execution. It's also a good
deal. Unlike many of Tyson's TV appearances, this one won't cost
After 40 years in broadcasting, Marv Albert will call his first
Super Bowl as the play-by-play man on the Westwood One/CBS Radio
Sports coverage of Super Bowl XXXVII. The broadcast caps off a
terrific first year for Albert and analyst Boomer Esiason.
NFL ratings are soaring: CBS got a 26.4 overnight for the
Raiders-Titans AFC Championship, up 10% from last year's
Steelers-Patriots title game. Fox got a 26.5 for the Bucs-Eagles
NFC Championship, up nearly 5% from Rams-Eagles last year.
A Warm Host
Homegrown Heroes San Diego, the Super Bowl host city, is a
year-round sportsman's paradise. Hundreds of athletes live
there--and not all of them are transplants. Three of the four
greats listed below were born in San Diego. Who wasn't?
a. Maureen Connolly, tennis player
b. Dennis Conner, yachtsman
c. Terrell Davis, football player
d. Tony Gwynn, baseball player
Two-Timer Super Bowl XXXVII marks the third time that the big
game will be played in Qualcomm (formerly Jack Murphy) Stadium.
Which team has played in both of the Super Bowls already held
This Week's Matchup Pair the San Diego--area athletes who are
alumni of the same high school.
1. Brian Giles a. Eric Karros
2. Tony Hawk b. John Lynch
3. Ricky Williams c. Phil Mickelson
4. Barry Zito d. Tommy Vardell
Call to Order Rank these athletes in order of the number of
All-Star Game appearances they made representing San Diego teams.
a. Dan Fouts c. Dave Winfield
b. Bill Walton d. Kellen Winslow
HOMEGROWN HEROES: d. Gwynn, who attended San Diego State
University and played his entire career with the Padres, was born
in Los Angeles.
TWO-TIMER: The Broncos played in both Super Bowls held in San
Diego. They were routed by the Redskins 42--10 in Super Bowl XXII
in 1988 and beat the Packers 31--24 in Super Bowl XXXII in '98.
THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP: 1. d (Granite Hills H.S.); 2. b (Torrey
Pines H.S.); 3. a (Patrick Henry H.S.);
4. c (University of San Diego H.S.)
CALL TO ORDER: Fouts (six); Winslow (five); Winfield (four);
"Our USOC is peopled, manned and womanned, by nincompoops."
--RINGDINGS, PAGE 32