The NCAA has established a minimum grade for athletes. It is quite low (1.60 under the four-point system, about the equivalent of a C minus), but the NCAA explained: "We had to set the standard low enough that a college would be ashamed to complain it was too high." Beginning February 16, any school that plays athletes whose grades are under the standard will be punished, the NCAA says. On the surface it seems a praiseworthy step, but some colleges—notably the Ivy League—have reacted angrily.
The Ivies say that the NCAA has put an athletic organization in the absurd position of dictating academic standards to college faculties. That is the main objection, but it is not the only one. The new bylaw is so sloppily devised, the Ivies say, that it directly contradicts the NCAA constitution, which provides that each faculty shall set its own standards. As for the threat to declare offenders ineligible for forthcoming NCAA championships, that would be illegal, too. Even the new rule exempts athletes admitted before January 1.
The NCAA got itself into this box by forgetting that a college athlete is (or should be) a student, and the rules that govern all students should govern him. He should be discriminated neither for nor against. The NCAA also forgot that it is not merely reprehensible to influence faculty decisions adversely; it is exceedingly presumptuous to influence them at all.
It has long been the custom of Red Auerbach, the coach of the Boston Celtics, to point out to basketball officials the errors of their ways. Red usually does this by shouting. The gist of what Red wants to get off his chest usually is that the official, for one colorful reason or another, has overlooked a foul that has just been committed. However, this year, with the Celts hard-pressed to remain in first place, Red has felt obliged to be of even greater help. He is now informing the officials of fouls that will take place, so they can get ready to call them. For instance, the other night, when Dave Stallworth of the New York Knickerbockers got the ball, Red shrieked, "Double dribble coming up!"
One reason Boston wins all those ball games is that Auerbach leaves as little as possible to human frailty. A second or two later Stallworth double-dribbled.
TELL IT TO THE GENERAL
It is an old baseball axiom, dating back to the ironfisted regime of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, that mere proximity to horseflesh (particularly racehorse flesh) will cause a ballplayer's moral fiber to rot. Even tinfisted Ford Frick dreaded the equine curse. In 1960, for example, when Detroit Outfielder Al Kaline announced plans for a racing stable, Frick and Bill DeWitt, then Detroit president, exerted so much suasion in behalf of a (presumably) outraged fandom that Kaline hurriedly disclaimed the notion.
Don Drysdale, it would appear, is determined to be the exception. The Dodger pitcher has been breeding Thoroughbreds for some time now, and he expects to make his racing debut this summer with a 2-year-old filly. If the new baseball commissioner, General William Eckert, zeros in on Drysdale with a morality meter, Drysdale can retaliate by asking how come John Galbreath can run the Pittsburgh Pirates and still breed horses like Graustark and Chateaugay. Oh, the general may assume that a club owner is less vulnerable to temptation than a ballplayer, but can he prove it?