The silver lining in the Cason nomination is harder to find. Environmentalists had a raft of objections to Cason, a loyal underling to James Watt at the Department of the Interior. As opposition to Cason grew stronger, the White House let it be known that the President wouldn't withdraw Cason's name but would allow the nominee to withdraw it himself. Indications were that as many as 60 senators—including five Republicans—were poised to vote him down. Cason withdrew.
Bush seems to be groping for the appearance of a balance of interests between developers and environmentalists, the same sort of waffling that has led to the federal government's ineffectiveness on environmental issues in recent years. First he withheld his global-warming initiatives in the Netherlands, to the disappointment of environmentalists; then he flip-flopped on Cason, to the chagrin of developers.
If Bush ever intends to deliver on his campaign promise to be an advocate for the environment, he should begin in 1990 by leading the industrialized world to an agreement to cut back greenhouse emissions and by appointing to the Agriculture post a conservationist dedicated to protecting America's forests.
A POSITIVE PAYOFF
While Congress is weighing legislation that would require colleges to release varsity athletes' graduation rates (SCORECARD, Sept. 18) and the NCAA is contemplating enlightened ways to divvy up the $1 billion it will receive from CBS for the right to televise its basketball tournament for seven years beginning in 1991 (page 67), the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference ( MAAC) is out in front on both graduation-rate disclosure and the distribution of TV earnings. The 12-school, Division I league has not only voluntarily announced its graduation rates for 1989—95.8% of all seniors who played basketball last season had graduated by July 1—but it has also linked television revenues to athletes' performance in the classroom.
This season, SportsChannel will televise 13 MAAC games, and the conference has enticed the sponsors of those cablecasts to tie the cost of ad time to the graduation rates of MAAC players. If no one graduates, the sponsors pay nothing; if all do, they will end up spending a total of $500,000 over four years. The conference's pitch has already begun to pay off. Says Jim Drucker, president of Global Sports, a Philadelphia-based television syndication company, "We sold ad time with this faster than we've ever sold basketball ad time."
IT'S AN AD, AD, AD...
Just how far are companies willing to go to sear their logos into the public mind? Hillerich & Bradsby showed the depth of its marketing commitment in the World Series, spelling out LOUISVILLE on the bat of Oakland's Rickey Henderson in print readable from the cheap seats. Hillerich & Bradsby says that it was only responding to the enlargement of trademarks on bats by rival companies. Major league baseball, whose Rule 1.17 forbids "undue commercialization," is now expected to effect strict guidelines for the size of bat labels. "We don't have any problem with the presence of logos," says Richard Levin, baseball's director of public relations, "but we don't want our players wielding billboards."
The Maryland Racing Commission feels the same way about its jockeys, and in September it blocked 19-year-old Kent Desormeaux (page 99) from riding at Pimlico Race Course in a pair of britches bearing the logo of Caesars casinos. The stewards in New Jersey felt differently about Desormeaux's britches, however, and let him wear them while riding at the Meadowlands later that month. Then there's horse trainer Wayne Lukas, who recently said he intends to use the supposedly painless—and quite legal—process of freeze branding to monogram the right shoulders of his thoroughbreds with a W and L enclosed in a circle. "The guy is putting initials on a horse the way he would on cuff links," says Jockey Club registrar Buddy Bishop.
All of this makes us wonder when someone will brand a trademark onto a horse's flank or a hitter will offer his forearms for promotional tattoos.