The hawks, meanwhile, are dispatched to the shrubbery on the airport grounds. In addition to keeping that greenery clear of feathered foes, they've snagged a half dozen black-tailed jackrabbits, descendants of a dog-track-bound batch that escaped in the 1960s when their transport cage was dropped on a runway.
These aren't flush times for the hall of fame business. Attendance is down in Cooperstown, and Canton, as well as in Springfield, Mass., where the Basketball Hall of Fame hopes to triple its annual visitorship with a $104 million expansion project that will add restaurants, shops, an IMAX theater and acres of exhibition space in the next two years. Yet instead of all of basketball consolidating in Springfield, in a single hooplex that would celebrate a global, genderless game, the groundbreaking of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is set for next month in Knoxville, Tenn.
The board of the Basketball Hall of Fame tried to persuade organizers of the women's hall to reconsider their plans and back the expanded shrine in Springfield, which will acommodate much more women's memorabilia than is currently on display. But talks broke down over induction procedures. For 25 years Springfield was all male, and not until 1992 did it enshrine a woman player.
With Monday's induction of UCLA All-America Denise Curry and AAU stalwart Joan Crawford, the basketball hall counts only 13 women among its 222 members. "The [women's hall] wants to make up for lost time," says Robin Deutsch, spokesman for the Springfield hall. "Their classes could number 15. They wanted us to make that kind of commitment."
Springfield enshrines about two women a year and wouldn't promise to accelerate its pace. So, with many deserving figures from the distaff game uninducted, Knoxville forged ahead. "This is not a competitive situation," says Don Gibson, who was to take over as head of the Springfield hall on Oct. 1. Indeed, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt sits on the boards of both institutions, and Deutsch points out that the sport supports other halls of fame, such as Indiana's.
Even as Springfield wishes Knoxville luck and vows to continue to induct women, questions remain about the marketplace. "This business isn't easy," says Deutsch. "After the initial wave of success they'll have, and deserve, they'll face the question of how to get people back. It's a problem we face every day."