FOOT IN THE DOOR
Two recent fights in Madison Square Garden drew so well and were so stirring that there has been good reason to hope for a revival of prize fighting now that it is free of television's insatiable demands. The networks, presenting as many as three fights a week, saturated the market, destroyed the small clubs where fighters learn the trade and then walked away from the sport. Now it is five months since the last of the networks stopped presenting weekly bouts. During that period evidence has grown that shrewd matchmaking plus the fans' hunger pains could bring back the good old days. The Floyd Patterson- George Chuvalo fight drew 19,100, packing the Garden. The Luis Rodriguez-Rubin Carter bout drew a very respectable 10,806.
But stay. Let us not be too hopeful. The Patterson-Chuvalo go was so exciting that CBS-TV bought the rights to present all 12 rounds of it on video tape last Sunday afternoon. If boxing revives, can television, which all but killed it, be far behind? Will fight promoters, who know the recent history of their sport better than anyone, be so greedy and shortsighted as to let the networks back into the game? Chances are they will.
THE SIX EYES HAVE IT
After a season of experimentation, Ed Norris, basketball coach at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, is convinced that three heads are better than two in officiating basketball games.
As far back as 1952 Norris wrote a master's degree thesis on the three-official system. And this year he has used three officials at most St. Edward's home games. He feels he has now exploded some old myths about the system.
One objection has been that three officials would slow the game by calling too many fouls, but Norris has found that actually fewer fouls are called.
"When a player realizes that an official has a good view of every play," he explained, "he's more careful, leaving more daylight between him and his man."
Further, he believes that older and thereby more experienced officials will be able to stand the pace of the game better under the three-official system and so contribute the benefit of their proficiency for years longer.
During his thesis research Norris experimented with a system of "three men officiating but with two-man mechanics." With only one official on the court, the other two manned platforms at each end. It provided fine officiating, he contends, but fans complained that the platforms, nine feet high, obscured their view. Norris suspects that their real objection may have been elimination of many excuses for booing officials.