Even while university sports programs generate millions of dollars, the NCAA's antiquated rules have created a class of athletes, made up largely of those from poorer families, who don't have enough walking-around money to buy an off-campus hamburger. It's an encouraging sign that Dempsey is at least prepared to face that inequity. Though he backed off the trust-fund idea—wisely, since it would serve only superstars—Dempsey, in an interview with SI last week, pledged to continue exploring ways to erase the dichotomy that exists in many cases between rich schools and poor athletes. A couple of possibilities are increasing scholarships to cover all incidentals (the athletic grant-in-aid typically leaves the student between $1,800 and $2,400 short of the entire college cost) and broadening the range of what a scholarship can cover (such as travel to and from campus). Most of all, he seems determined to bring the NCAA rule book into a closer relationship with reality, to "take a hard look at deregulation and raising the sensitivity level of our group to some of the contradictions in our rules." Heaven knows that NCAA wheels turn slowly. But Dempsey has begun to stare into the heart of a hypocritical system and realize that something must be done.
This Week in Baseball
Mel Allen's death on Sunday at age 83 silenced one of the most distinctive voices in broadcasting history. The unabashedly partisan and ebullient calls of Allen could be heard on New York Yankees radio and, later, television from 1939 to '64. It was he who dubbed Joe DiMaggio Joltin' Joe and labeled Phil Rizzuto The Scooter. And it was he who stood on the Yankee Stadium sod and gave the introduction to both Lou Gehrig's '39 farewell speech and Babe Ruth's goodbye in '48.
After Allen, who was born Melvin Allen Israel to Russian immigrants living in Alabama, was let go by the Yankees, he spent most of the next 13 years away from the game. He returned in 1977 to gain a national audience as host of the syndicated TV show This Week In Baseball, a job he held until his death. Though Allen appeared gaunt in his last years, his voice never lost its boyish enthusiasm. That's why, upon hearing Allen broadcast one of the week's highlights, even today's young fans couldn't help but shake their heads in wonder and say to themselves, How about that!
Even though she was sitting near the finish at the Minnesota high school class 4AA section track meet in Stillwater on June 1, Jeanne Gatzlaff never saw her daughter Sarah cross the line. "My eyes were too full of tears," says Jeanne.
Sarah's performance was overwhelming, and not just from a mom's perspective. A 17-year-old junior from Mounds View High, Sarah was running the third leg of the girls' 4 x 800-meter relay and vying for the lead with half a lap to go when pain began shooting through her right calf. She kept running, but 15 meters from the line, her leg broke ("I kept hearing the crack for days after," says Sarah), and she pitched to the track, the baton rolling from her grasp. "I didn't feel any pain when I was on the ground, I just felt mad," she says. As officials yelled to Mounds View anchor Amy Maciasek to stay behind the handoff line or be disqualified, Sarah tried to stand, then fell again before reaching the baton and finally crawling to the line. Mounds View High wound up fifth.
Sarah underwent a three-hour operation to repair the snapped tibia; she will be in a cast for eight weeks. Still, she has some consolation as she looks forward to next season. At the team banquet held the day after the state meet, she was named the winner of the Mustang Pride Award, given to the athlete exhibiting the best team spirit. "My coach said I was a lock for that one," says Sarah.