At the line, Evans shouts "Set!" as middle linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer (the prize $8 million steal of the TFL's first draft) digs in across from him. The cameraman bolts for the sideline, and Evans takes the snap, his eyes—and his 1.2-ounce helmet cam—scanning the secondary. But his $45,000-a-year left tackle, Chicago Bears castoff Chad Overhauser, gets steamrollered by former Oakland Raiders pass-rusher Vince Amey, who drives Evans into the turf. NBC cuts to a commercial promoting that night's second playoff game, with New England Chowder quarterback Doug Flutie purring into the camera, "All I ever wanted was a chance to play football back home, and the TFL gave it to me. Watch our playoff game tonight against Birmingham. I'll take you into our huddle."
New York has made an effort of late to clean up its image, Disneyfying Times Square and purging many of the city's notorious porn shops. So does Manhattan real-estate tycoon Donald Trump feel a touch of tawdry nostalgia when he contemplates the site of his latest golf resort, in West Palm Beach, Fla., of all places? Trump's proposed $40 million club will nestle among a 12-story jail, a strip club and a store called Condoms Galore.
NCAA Eligibility Rules
Toure Butler, a candidate to start at cornerback for Washington this fall, has few problems concentrating on the football field. Like many other learning-disabled students, however, he has trouble in the classroom. In addition to his condition, a difficulty in processing spoken information, he has been burdened over the past two years by the question of whether the special-education courses he took in high school made him ineligible to play under NCAA rules. "There were times when I didn't know if I was going to lose my scholarship and be out of school," he says.
On May 26, when the NCAA agreed after months of prodding from the Justice Department to revise its initial-eligibility requirements for those with learning disabilities, that anxiety was removed for Butler and hundreds of other student-athletes. The agreement, which came after a 2½-year federal investigation found that the NCAA's eligibility policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, will allow learning-disabled students—who will still have to meet GPA and standardized test requirements—to count NCAA-approved remedial and special-education high school classes as part of the core courses all athletes need to be eligible as freshmen.
That means fewer headaches for athletes like Butler, who was declared ineligible in October 1996, three games into his Huskies career, after the NCAA decided it would not recognize the remedial-level courses he took at Cascade High in Everett, Wash. Butler, who just finished his sophomore year with a GPA of 2.4, says he was yanked off the practice field by school officials when the NCAA's decision came down. He sued the NCAA and was granted an injunction to play until the start of the trial, which was to have begun on Monday.
Butler's is one of at least six cases settled by last week's rule changes. While questions remain about possible eligibility abuse of the new policies, the NCAA doesn't anticipate a flood of newly declared learning-disabled athletes because most students are designated as such long before high school. "We have to be mindful [of potential abuses]," says NCAA spokesman Wally Renfro, "but we can't not do the right thing just because we mistrust people."
Sad Roadside Garden
On my way home a couple of months ago I glanced, as I always do, at the building where I spent so much of my personal and professional life. What I saw nearly sent me off the road. The wall of the Boston Garden facing I-93 had been razed, offering a gaping view of the arena's guts. Of course I knew that the Garden was doomed, having been replaced three years ago by its neighbor, the FleetCenter, one of those state-of-the-art joints with air conditioning, $10 chicken sandwiches and no clue about history. The old barn had to go. But why last week was it still sitting there like a wounded animal?
As I peered into the building, I could see the loge section where my dad and I sat the night goalie Jacques Plante debuted in a Bruins uniform. The upper deck railings my girlfriends and I hung over to yell our devotion to the Celtics' Don Nelson were intact. The posts were still up, too, blocking from view the action of games that have long since ended.