THE IMPORTANT SIDE
Last week Coach Adolph Rupp kicked a boy named Bob Tallent off the University of Kentucky basketball team. Rupp said it was no big deal, and in one sense we agree with him; it wasn't, but only because it was simply one more example of what is too often so rotten about collegiate sport.
The Tallent case flared up last month after Kentucky lost another game and Rupp said, "Tallent can't stand the pressure" and began referring to him as his "error boy" and "no-talent Tallent."
Last Monday at Tennessee, Tallent, who had been playing since late January with an injured ankle, passed to Louie Dampier, who didn't see the ball coming and it went out-of-bounds. Rupp yanked Tallent, who went to the bench and said, "Oh, hell."
"What did you say?" said Rupp.
Tallent repeated it, was chewed out and then told Rupp, "I'm tired of being a puppet."
The next day the equipment manager told Tallent that Rupp had said not to issue anything to him and that he was off the squad. Rupp next threatened to take away his athletic scholarship, but Tallent, a strong B student in engineering, apologized and therefore was allowed to retain his grant for the remainder of the semester.
"Tallent told Coach Rupp that he was sorry for what he did," said Athletic Director Bernie Shively. "Bob also stated he had no hard feelings toward Coach Rupp and that he had been treated fairly and squarely."
When The Kentucky Kernel, the school paper, suggested it was Rupp who should have apologized, Rupp snorted: "What? The guy admits he's wrong and says I was justified in doing what I did. And that sure makes the [ Louisville] Courier-Journal and Times look like a bunch of heels for criticizing me. By God, they picked on the wrong man."
Rupp wasn't through with the press. "Why don't you guys forget this thing?" he asked Billy Reed of the Courier-Journal. "Why make an issue of it? Just say he's dropped from the squad and forget it. Go out and find some news. You newspapermen are the ones who stir up these things. You're the ones who cause all the trouble. You write, write, write, trying to build a mountain of a molehill."