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IN AND OUT
Upset by UCLA and humiliated by Notre Dame, USC lost again last week when nine of its football players, including its top receiver, its safety and its punter, were declared ineligible for the Rose Bowl. All nine are junior-college transfers, and the NCAA has ruled that a junior-college transfer must have accumulated 48 semester hours of credit or 24 hours with a grade of B or better to play in a bowl game, which is an NCAA-approved event. The nine USC players failed to meet these standards.
There is little question but that the rule is directed against California, which has 72 junior colleges—nearly twice as many as any other state. If the California junior-college system had been created merely to funnel athletes into the universities, the rule would make good sense, but 60% of California high school graduates who go to college go to junior college. Because most states lag behind California in the caliber of their junior colleges, many out-of-state educators peremptorily downgrade junior-college education. Thus, when Californians have tried to get the required average reduced from B to C, they've been unable to muster enough votes.
Since we feel academic requirements are often too low, we're not greatly upset by the NCAA's standards. What bothers us is what appears to be a double standard. It makes no sense that a team is chosen for a bowl because of the contributions of all of its players and that on Jan. 2 only some of them may play.
HORSE OF ANOTHER COLOR
It has been reliably reported that Buckpasser, who was recently voted Horse of the Year, will be tried on grass next summer, and if he handles it will go for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes or the Arc de Triomphe. If such is the case, he will be the first truly superior horse we have sent to Europe in 50 years. For example, we have tried to win the Arc with good mile-and-a-quarter horses, like Career Boy, Carry Back and Tom Rolfe, but none of these had ever won at a mile and a half, so how could we have expected them to do so running uphill and downhill on grass over a strange course? Buckpasser is a horse of another color. Not only has he shown he can run on any surface from Chicago's concrete-fast strip to the goo at Aqueduct, but he has won handily at distances up to two miles.
The French may be breeding the best horses in the world for a mile and a half and over, but if Ogden Phipps does send Trainer Eddie Neloy, Jockey Braulio Baeza and Buckpasser to Longchamp, we'd like to get a bundle of francs down on that magnificent nose.
TEE AND SYMPATHY
It is generally an ill wind that blows around the golf courses of northern California. Take the case of Hal Hillman of San Francisco, who some time ago watched helplessly as a westerly carried his lofty, sliced drive into a parking lot. When he went to retrieve his ball he discovered it had made a perfect crater in the hood of a brand-new car. Hillman did what any responsible citizen would have done in such a situation: he left his card with a note saying that he would gladly pay for repairs. In due course Hillman received the following reply from the owner of the damaged car, a lady: