On May 2 sports agent Lloyd Bloom was arraigned in state circuit court in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on misdemeanor charges of commercial bribery, deceptive trade practice and tampering with a sports contest, all stemming from payments he allegedly made to former University of Alabama basketball players Derrick McKey and Terry Coner in violation of NCAA rules. But after negotiations between the Alabama state attorney general's office and Bloom's attorney, Mike Trope, Bloom pleaded guilty to one count of deceptive trade practice and agreed to testify at the criminal trial of his former boss, Norby Walters, who faces the same charges. If Walters is convicted, Bloom's sentence—if you can call it that—is to spend one week in the Tuscaloosa hotel of his choice (at his own expense) and to wash state police cars nine hours a day for the week. "It's going to be great," Bloom told Chris Mortensen of The Atlanta Constitution. "It'll be like a country club. I get to stay in Tuscaloosa's top hotel, eat good food and mingle with some locals." If Walters is not convicted, Bloom won't even have to stay at the hotel. He'll get off scot-free.
"People may laugh at this deal," said Alabama Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska. "But I think it should be obvious that we want Walters, and to get Walters we need Bloom."
People should laugh at the deal, and that's a shame, because Alabama is trying to do what the NCAA and the professional leagues have failed to do: keep unscrupulous agents away from college athletes. Former agent Jim Abernethy was convicted March 1 in Alabama of tampering with a sports contest, a charge that arose out of his payments to Auburn football player Kevin Porter; he was sentenced to a year in jail and a fine of $2,000. He has appealed. In Bloom's case, the state's purpose would have been better served if Bloom had simply been sentenced to community service. Then he would not have been able to make such sniggering comments as "I've never washed a police car, just a few Rolls-Royces and a few Mercedes."
HIS SUNDAE BEST
As of Sunday night the woeful (5-31) Orioles were still recovering from their record season-opening 21-game losing streak. So was Mike Filippelli, a morning disc jockey at Ocean City, Md., station WWTR-FM and lifelong O's booster. On April 19, midway into the O's streak, Filippelli bet his broadcast partner, Vince Edwards, on the air that the Baltimore streak would not reach 13, then the season-opening record. The two deejays let listeners choose the stakes.
For Filippelli, that was a mistake. In order to pay up, he first had to crawl and walk a 6.2-mile stretch of Maryland's Coastal Highway, which took four hours. Then he went to the Ocean Plaza Mall, where, dressed in an Orioles jersey and helmet, he sat down in a plastic kiddie pool and let Edwards pour 30 gallons of chocolate syrup over him. While Edwards watched and gloated, mall patrons decorated Filippelli with cherries, pineapple, jimmies, nuts and whipped cream—the works. "After two hours of that, I can make it through a season of humiliation with the Orioles," says Filippelli, adding, "It was something not to tell my grandchildren about."
HOOSIER AND WHO?
Both Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight and Vice-President George Bush were in Albuquerque last week to discuss job openings. Knight was looking into the University of New Mexico coaching vacancy, and Bush was campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. Who attracted more attention? On Thursday The Albuquerque Tribune sent one reporter and a photographer to cover Bush's speech at a Rotary Club meeting and five reporters and photographers to a hotel where Knight, who eventually turned down the Lobo job, had reportedly been spotted.
"I really am surprised to see so many people here," Bush told the Rotarians in his address. "I thought the queue would be around the Pit [the university's arena] for basketball tickets." Then he added, "I won't give my speech about Bobby Knight. I'm going to talk about other nuclear defenses."