The perforations in the material enable body heat to escape, reducing the likelihood of heat prostration, which causes a large proportion of football deaths—and which has often been invited, rather than prevented, by well-meaning coaches who pushed salt tablets and cut down on water consumption. Teams have been using very open net jerseys in practice for this reason for several years, but this is the first mesh jersey that will hold a number and won't come apart easily.
The perforations and the fact that the material doesn't absorb water also reduce the jersey's weight. Right after SMU wore the shirt experimentally while beating Texas A&M on television last year, Coach Hayden Fry weighed all the sweaty nylon jerseys and found them only half as heavy as the same number of dry cotton ones.
No wonder that little SMU quarterback looked so slight.
THE EUROPE JELIC
When Petar Jelic appeared at the Philadelphia 76ers' training camp in Margate, N.J., Coach Jack Ramsay was dismayed. According to a scouting report that had reached Ramsay during the off season, Jelic, of the University of Zagreb in Yugoslavia, stood 6'8", was adept at blocking shots and had a jump shot like a guard's. He did have such a jump shot, it turned out, but that was because he was a guard—a 6'1" guard. The Yugoslavian scout apparently had confused two different players.
Jelic said, "I am not ill in the head. I know what is basket. Before I go I asked manager, 'Why you want Yugoslav player? You must know the basket in the United States is the best in the world. In United States they have many, many boys better than I and my friends.' He answered, 'If you want to try, I shall pay ticket for you." I answered, 'O.K.'"
After watching Jelic for two days in camp, Ramsay released him to Zagreb. Jelic was not disgruntled. "All the players is very good friends to me," he said. "I am feeling wonderful. In game everybody take me courage. 'Good shot,' 'Good play.' I am pride.
"This Philadelphia basket," he added before departing, "is very, very good. But without Chamberlain, maybe in professional will not be in first position. Wilt is Wilt, the only one in the world." Back in Zagreb, said Jelic, there is a 6'8" center named Kresimir Cosic, perhaps the super Slav of the scout's report. "He have another name," says Jelic—"the Europe Russell."
Dean Billick, sports publicity man for the University of Pittsburgh, recently accused Pitt sophomore Quarterback Dave Havern of being so slow that he, Billick, 26, a former high school trackman now out of shape, could beat him in a 440. They raced in their street clothes, and the publicity man won by 20 yards. And he didn't cover it up.