THE GUILTY MEN
Take a good look at the eight men in the column at right. They are the presidents (or chancellors)of the seven schools involved in the basketball scandals (see page 20) and the executive director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. In our opinion, they and all other college presidents should share in the guilt for the corruption of the players who took bribes from gamblers to fix games.
The most shocking fact about the scandals is not that there are evil men who try to seduce college athletes, or that some of those athletes yield to temptation. It is that the college heads refuse to admit their own dereliction of duty and are trying to shift responsibility for the tragedy to others. "We don't intend to do anything different than in the past," says LaSalle's Brother Bernian, "because we don't think we did anything wrong." This seems to be the position all college administrations have taken since the scandals broke.
U.S. university presidents and the NCAA's Mr. Byers are ultimately responsible for the recruiting tactics which corrupt young athletes while they are still in high school. There has grown up on our campuses a double academic standard (one for athletes, one for other students) for which all the presidents share responsibility. These men deplore bribe-taking by their athletes at the same time that they themselves have yielded to the temptation of commercialized college athletics.
So long as college administrations believe they discharge their duties by expelling bribe takers and shedding a few tears before going back to business as usual, so long will there exist all the necessary ingredients for future scandals.
For his part, Mr. Byers says the scandals did not originate within college walls but are merely a reflection of the poor moral climate of our times. This statement is doubly outrageous. Policies which gave birth to the scandals did originate within college walls. As for the moral climate of our times—since when have college presidents not had the responsibility of trying to better it?
Andres Gimeno, a big, ebullient puppy of a tennis player who earned the title of "world's second best" a few months back by beating Lew Hoad, Barry Mac-Kay, Alex Olmedo and others in a lengthy round robin, has a problem. It's to dethrone the lean and still-hungry Pancho Gonzales, winner of the world's professional title six times in a row. As of last week in the playoff series, Pancho had won 10 matches to the Barcelona-born Gimeno's four with 15 yet to be played. Though his ground strokes are fluid and he assaults the net with spider-like grace, Gimeno (El Matador) has some handicaps—a second serve without much speed or spin (by pro standards), a backhand whose power has to come from a delicate wrist flick, and possibly too much good nature. Lately pro tennis panjandrum Jack Kramer has been pleading with Gimeno to change his backhand grip by an eighth of a turn and warning him not to get too chummy with Pancho. "Off the court," says Kramer, "Pancho's your buddy, giving you tennis tips and challenging you to pitch coins at a crack in the sidewalk. But on the court he's nobody's pal." A comic-book reader and jazz buff, Gimeno admits to being awed by the company he's keeping. "I like to forget about tennis off the court," he says. "I'm crazy for the Late Late Show." "He sleeps too much," says Kramer. "Too much sleep can murder you."
We saw Gimeno in action against Gonzales a few nights ago at a West Orange, N.J. skating rink. A green tarpaulin had been stretched over the ice, the icy undersurface slowing up the bounce of the balls (good for Andres), and light beamed dimly down from lamps high above (good for Pancho). Gonzales won his services by hitting the ball so fast and deceptively that Andres generally returned them high, allowing Gonzales, lurking at the net, to poke them out of reach. A confirmed racket twirler before serving, the 23-year-old Gimeno was impressive as a volleyer but twice failed to hold service. Pancho won the "pro set" 12-7.
"The smoke, the slippery court, the bad lights, they don't bother me," Gimeno said afterward. "Because I am used to playing indoors. But I think that they bother Pancho even less."