The new rule, says Ray Graves, "will demand an administration's support of a coach" in questions concerning his prerogative. "The rule," says Graves, "tells us we don't have to put up with troublemakers anymore."
That remains to be seen.
It especially remains to be seen in the area where the friction, frustration and confusion is greatest—in the relationship between the coach and his Negro athletes. A positive effect of the black-athlete furor of the last few years has been that coaches have become more concerned about their own motives ("Am I exercising authority or am I acting out of prejudice?"). Being more introspective, coaches have become more tolerant, more reasonable, more willing to understand. Alerted to the black's special problems, they have sought ways to bridge the gap. For one thing, they began hiring black assistants—and still are—at a furious pace.
But in their eagerness to accommodate, coaches have discovered the Irrational Act, the Superdemander, the Double Standard. Coaches don't knuckle under as easily as administrators, however, and more and more they have come to Question the notion that because they are white they are somehow incapable of meting out justice. "Blacks tell me they can spot a white racist the first time they meet him," says Kansas' Pepper Rodgers. "I think I'm just as smart. I can tell a racist of any color."
"I know I can't really understand what it's like to grow up in a ghetto," says Wisconsin Track Coach Bob Brennan, "but I want to understand more. The better I can communicate, the better for all of us. But then I start to think, maybe I'm taking our white athletes for granted, overlooking their wishes and feelings. I can't neglect them, either."
Athletic Director Jim Barratt of Oregon State, in defending Andros' stand against beards, said, "We in athletics are reluctant to compromise our program, which would result in double standards of rules and regulations, one for the black, one for the white."
But the double standard exists, and many of those who have been hit with black "cultural" demands—mustaches, beards, Afros—have either run into trouble (as at Purdue, Oregon State and Iowa) or have appeared ludicrous. Bob Timmons, the track coach at Kansas, permitted his blacks to wear "small" mustaches, although there was a no-mustache rule for whites. According to Timmons, one reason he allowed the blacks to grow mustaches was that some of them told him "prominent blacks whom they much admired wore mustaches and, in some cases, mustaches ran in their families." However, so he won't be accused of being prejudiced, next season Timmons plans to let his whites wear longer sideburns. At Bridgeport University, Football Coach Nick Nicolau told whites who wanted to grow mustaches like the blacks that, "if I recruited you with a mustache, you can keep it, but you're not growing one on my time."
Coaches are especially frustrated when they try to reach a common meeting ground only to run into the blacks' increasing insulation. Perry Moore, the athletic director at Colorado State, asked how department policies and procedures might be improved. He has 41 blacks on scholarship. He got one suggestion.
Many black athletes tend to read race into everything. (Coaches have helped by broadcasting their little homilies. Basketball coach on playing blacks: "Two at home, three on the road and four when you're behind." Football coach on the quota system: "When you've got more behind you than you do on the field, you're in trouble.") If blacks think they have found prejudice, there is no turning them around. When Basketball Coach Tay Baker of Cincinnati benched a black, Rick Roberson, because of his "attitude," there was talk of reprisals against Baker for a racial slur, although his two best players were also black. At Notre Dame basketball fans exercised a time-honored privilege and booed their basketball team last winter. The five blacks playing at the time demanded an apology. They got it.
Once it appears that the coach will do anything to keep the peace, the sky's the limit. At one time or another, blacks cried for the scalps of the athletic directors at San Francisco State, San Francisco, San Jose State and California, as well as those of the Stanford track coach, the Cal basketball coach, Cal football coach, Cal track coach and San Jose State football coach. Of that group, only four remain on the job today.