SI Vault
Edited by Jack McCallum and Kostya Kennedy
April 01, 1996
On the Right Track
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April 01, 1996


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Go Git 'Em!

Now that Rutgers-Camden provost Walter K. Gordon has rescinded his decision to scrap the school's woeful basketball program (SI, March 11), the mission of all Pioneers fans is clear: Find somebody for your guys to beat. Sure, they've lost 108 in a row, but somewhere out there is, well, another Rutgers-Camden. A few possibilities:



The Skinny

Oberlin College
Oberlin, Ohio

2-22 this season; only two winning campaigns since 1978-79; mellow, nonaggressive sensibility permeates campus.

First institution to award degrees to women could become first to award a W to Rutgers-Camden (hereafter R-C).

Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

0-21 this season; 6-64 over the past three seasons; schools in hyphenated locales rarely intimidate.

Bard? A bunch of poor players strutting and fretting their hours upon the court. Lay on, R-C!

University of Dallas
Irving, Texas

4-20 this season; the Crusaders lost 86 straight games between 1985 and '88.

R-C eighty-sixed Dallas from the record books when it lost its 87th in a row; this is Dallas's chance to once again be part of history.

California Maritime Academy
Vallejo, Calif.

Jumped from three wins to nine this season by beating same two Bible colleges six times.

Yes, R-C is a rickety vessel, but the Keelhaulers have been too long at sea to win this showdown.

Villa Julie
Stevenson, Md.

8-40 in two years of competition; when program was started in July 1994, the Mustangs had no gym, no players and no balls.

If you can't beat a team that sounds like a bed-and-breakfast, maybe Gordon had the right idea in the first place.

On the Right Track

The United States has grown indifferent to track and field in recent years, and the sport's governing bodies have done little to rekindle interest. Last Sunday, however, the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), which oversees the sport, showed some common sense. It approved a change that will add a spark to the Atlanta Olympics, modifying the track schedule to enable U.S. sprinter Michael Johnson to go for gold in the 200 and the 400 meters, an unprecedented double.

Johnson, who won both events at last summer's world championships, had been lobbying the IAAF for a year, pointing out that because the schedules for the heats of the 200 and the 400 overlapped, he could not realistically attempt a double. The new timetable allows him to complete all four rounds of the 400, rest one day, then complete the four 200 rounds. It gives him a chance to do something extraordinary, which his sport desperately needs. As Johnson said Sunday, "The officials changed the schedule because it was the best thing for the Olympic Games."

Also notable, if largely ceremonial, was the rescheduling of the long jump to separate it from the 200 meters, clearly to allow Carl Lewis—who had also lobbied for a change—to compete in both events along with the 100 meters and 4x100 relay. With eight gold medals, the 34-year-old Lewis has a permanent place in the Olympic pantheon, but it requires a long jump of faith to presume that he will even make the U.S. team in three individual events plus a relay.

There is no questioning the wisdom of the IAAF's decision to shift the start of the men's marathon from 6:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the final day of the Games. No one should run a marathon in the late-day heat of Atlanta in August. The IAAF's move is a rare and welcome instance in which athletes' welfare has been given precedence over the needs of television.

Anyone Bet the Perfecto?
Cigar Aficionado magazine is not a fanzine devoted to the 1995 Horse of the Year, but its high-living editor and publisher, Marvin Shanken, is an aficionado of horse racing. Last Wednesday at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey, he hosted the latest in his series of Big Smokes—wretchedly excessive evenings dedicated to fine food, fine wines and, of course, plenty of puffing. The 750 attendees, who watched the trotters through a haze of smoke from complimentary handcrafted cigars, were treated to an appropriate finish in the final race of the evening, which in Shanken's honor was called Marvin's Good Night. The original winning horse, Peekaboo Pete, was disqualified, giving the win to a 9-1 shot called Light It Up.

The Commish Stands Up

Facing a fifth franchise relocation in 11 months, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue last week showed the backbone many fans and league executives had begun to doubt he had. Tagliabue forced Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring—who wants to move his team to Southern California—to shift the Seahawks' off-season workouts from Anaheim back to Kirkland, Wash. Threatened with a $500,000 fine and other sanctions, Behring backed off and let the commissioner win this battle.

The week brought other victories for the NFL, recently dubbed the National Floating League by Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson. Voters in Cincinnati approved a half-cent sales tax to fund two new stadiums (one for the Bengals, one for the Reds), reducing the likelihood of a Bengals' move. And in Tampa local politicians and Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer neared a deal that would keep the Bucs in that city through the year 2027. Meanwhile, Detroit voters approved $40 million in city funding to build a $240 million park, which could give the Lions—another club thinking of relocating—leverage in getting the adjacent Oakland County to upgrade the Silverdome or Detroit to build a new football stadium.

Behring is not done fighting the NFL. As ridiculous as it sounds, he claims he wants to leave the Seahawks' current stadium, the Kingdome, because of its vulnerability to earthquakes. His lawyers will argue that position in a King County (Wash.) courtroom later this spring in an attempt to free the Seahawks from their lease, which runs through 2005. The Kingdome is, in fact, an inferior facility badly in need of renovation, and meetings have been scheduled between NFL and King County officials to consider plans to replace the dome with a state-of-the-art facility. League sources believe that the Seahawks will play in Seattle in 1996 and that Behring will either sell them to local businessman Paul Allen or be forced to stay put.

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