Without a complaint from McIver, no charges can be pressed, and McIver can't be compelled to testify in court as a hostile witness. Says a member of the Dallas County district attorney's office who is frustrated because the office can't begin a probe, "There are many ways to obstruct justice in Texas, but paying a person off is not one of them."
We do know that after the incident—which coach Chan Gailey called "horseplay" but which may have been assault with a deadly weapon—McIver was squirreled away to his home in Dallas and Cowboys players were told not to talk about how McIver had suffered his wound, which required stitches. We know that Jones met with McIver's agent, Stephen Hayes, twice last week. We also know that if Irvin was found to have maliciously stabbed McIver he would be in violation of the four-year probation he was put on as part of his 1996 sentence for felony cocaine possession. He then could face a prison term of as much as 20 years for the cocaine conviction.
Last year, hoping to crack down on his renegade troops, Jones started a counseling program for Cowboys players, installed surveillance cameras in their training-camp dorm and forbade them to visit a popular bar. For the first time since the 1994 season the team didn't have a player arrested or suspended by the NFL. That record isn't likely to be tarnished by the McIver incident—even though there is enough smoke to have the Dallas County D.A.'s office searching for some way to investigate Irvin's alleged involvement.
Just Wait'Til Next Year
En route to winning four races in the 85-to 89-year-old division at the U.S. Track & Field Masters Championships in Orono, Maine, Ivy Granstrom of Vancouver set age-group world records in the 400 (2:22.93) and 100 (32.28) and established herself as the fastest 86-year-old woman on earth. Granstrom, who is blind, might have been even swifter in her events if she hadn't had to rely on her roommate, Paul Hoeberigs, 70, to lead her around the track. "He sometimes gets out of breath," Granstrom complained after closing out an impressive win in the 5,000, "and we have to slow down."
Schoolin' on The Side
Blue-chip high school basketball players who don't have the ACT or SAT scores to get into an NCAA Division I school, as well as those who would simply rather work more on their games than their college grades, will have another option next year: the Collegiate Professional Basketball League. Expected to launch in eight U.S. cities in the fall of 1999, the CPBL will offer players age 17 to 22 a $9,000 annual salary, a $5,000 signing bonus, room and board, and full tuition if they choose to go to school. (The league hopes to raise money by selling team naming rights to corporations.) There will also be a $2,500 to $10,000 bonus for any player who gets his degree within eight years.
While the CPBL is set up to allow players to concentrate on their hoop dreams, at least the league offers the time and wherewithal for them to pursue an education. Under the current system, once a student-athlete's eligibility expires, so too does the financial support of his school. "Playing Division I basketball is a full-time job," says CPBL founder Paul McMann, an accounting professor at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. "By giving them eight years to finish their education, we're not taking advantage of these kids."
Yet another option, one likely to attract more experienced players, is the International Basketball League, a rival to the CBA, that on Aug. 11 was to announce its 1999 start-up date. The league will feature at least one international player per team and plans to launch in eight U.S. cities. The IBL intends to offer higher salaries than the CBA and provide the chance to play in larger markets, such as Baltimore, Cincinnati and Las Vegas. Like the CPBL, the IBL will offer extra money to players for attending college.
Making education an incentive rather than an obligation is a worthy goal. For years Division I schools have been forced to waste precious classroom space on athletes who have little or no interest in learning. And for years, some players have attended college because they believed it was their only shot at the pros. With the CPBL and IBL, these athletes will no longer be forced to be hypocritical about their priorities.
It Is a Far, Far Bettor Place