SI Vault
Edited by Steve Wulf
April 11, 1988
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April 11, 1988


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Tickets to the Final Four are always hot items, but this year in Kansas City they were especially so because 1) Kemper Arena seats only 15,892,and 2) two of the Final Four, Oklahoma and Kansas, were very close to home. A $50 combination ticket to the semis and the final reportedly netted a seller as much as $2,000, although the Kansas City police were quite diligent in arresting scalpers. (One ticket seller tried to get around the law by selling his official Final Four T-shirt for $700, throwing in a free ticket; he was arrested.)

Only 23% of the 15,892 three-game blocks—or 3,655—were made available to the general public, and the NCAA had 325,000 requests for the tickets, which were parceled out by lottery. Who received the rest of the tickets? Well, about 40% went to the Final Four teams (1,625 per school); 14% to the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which holds its annual convention at the site of the Final Four; 11% to the NCAA for its staff, conference commissioners and other functionaries; 6% to the host conference, the Big Eight; 5% to representatives of the media; and 1% to those former players and coaches participating in the 50th anniversary celebration of the tournament.

Despite the smallness of Kemper—last year's Final Four was held in the 60,000-seat Superdome in New Orleans and next year's will be in the 40,000-seat Kingdome in Seattle—the NABC had its allotment increased from 10% to 14% this year. The coaches' organization did start the tournament back in 1939, but that does not give it the right to take so many precious tickets for its convention.

As if to prove the coaches were getting more than their fair share, four of them—Iowa Wesleyan head coach Jerry Olson, Montana State assistant Ron Anderson, North Dakota assistant Don Rockstad and another, unnamed college assistant—were arrested by undercover officers at or near their hotels for allegedly trying to sell their Final Four seats for as much as $700. Released on bonds, the coaches face sentences of 60 days in jail and fines of $500 if they are convicted. In addition, NABC president Eddie Sutton says they stand to lose their ticket privileges for future Final Four games.

All of the privileged groups, but the NABC in particular, should give some of their tickets back to the public. Arnie Ferrin, the chairman of the Division I men's basketball committee, defends the high percentage of seats set aside for coaches by saying, "My feeling is the coaches and players make this tournament." Gee, we thought basketball fans had something do with the phenomenal success of the Final Four.

There was a joke making the rounds at the Final Four that a sequel to the movie I hosiers was in the works. This film, also about Indiana basketball, would be entitled Five Men and a Baby.


Dave Bresnahan, the minor league catcher who was released after he released a potato during a minor league game last year (SCORECARD, Sept. 14, 1987), will be honored by his former team, the Williamsport (Pa.) Bills, in ceremonies on May 30. Bresnahan, who is now selling real estate in Scottsdale, Ariz., will have his number 59 retired, and he will also re-create his infamous play, in which he threw a potato over the third baseman's head, then tagged a Reading base runner with the real baseball as the runner tried to score. "I'd like to get back in the game somehow." said Bresnahan, who was batting .150 with no home runs at the time he was released by the parent Cleveland Indians. "I Love baseball."

If only he had hit taters, not thrown them.

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