SIMPSON AND THE ROCKETS
The Ralph Simpson case (SCORECARD, Sept. 28) has been settled. The ABA, which originally refused to approve Simpson's contract because the Denver Rockets had signed him out of Michigan State when he still had two years of college eligibility remaining, gave the Rockets permission to keep Simpson, although it also fined Denver $10,000 and took away its right to a first-round draft choice for the 1970-71 season. Nobody said so, but it would appear that the suit Simpson filed against Denver and the ABA, when Commissioner Jack Dolph refused to approve his contract, just might have had something to do with the ABA's decision.
Never mind. It is a judgment worthy of a Solomon, if more obvious. Simpson is happy, the Rockets are delighted, the league is no longer being sued, Commissioner Dolph is off the hook and—best of all, from the league's point of view—the ABA has Simpson and the NBA doesn't.
Resistance to the Muhammad Ali- Jerry Quarry fight is minimal in the area of theater television, according to Mike Malitz, who has the TV rights. Malitz says the fight will be televised into nearly 200 arenas and theaters around the country, including at least one such spot in every big city, and he happily anticipates a total theater-TV crowd approaching one million.
Bill Reed, commissioner of the Big Ten, insists that the football teams in his conference are not weaker than when they were the best in the country; it's simply that teams in the other sections have finally caught up. However, at least two Big Ten coaches do not agree with Reed and argue that restrictive conference rules are responsible for the decline in football fortunes. One rule prohibits red-shirting—keeping a surplus player on the sidelines all season to give him an extra year of eligibility at the end of his college career. Indiana's John Pont says, "Four years ago I was dead set against redshirting. I no longer can feel that way. We have to be fair to our players, and in nonconference games they compete against teams who redshirt. I'd like to give our young men the same opportunity to win that our opponents have."
Duffy Daugherty of Michigan State says, "Our rules are too restrictive. We obey all the NCAA restrictions, plus more of our own. We're not allowed the liberal parts of the NCAA rules. There is no way we can compare favorably with Big Eight or Pacific Conference teams, which we play more than we do other conferences. Against the Big Eight, we've lost 16 of our last 18 games. They have 90 scholarships over a two-year period and the opportunity to redshirt young players for more maturity." The Big Ten permits 60 players over two years, and the only redshirts are injured players.
"Unless changes are made," Daugherty warns, "we're in for even more trouble in the future."
Last spring the ABA's Pittsburgh Condors (then called the Pipers) wrested 6'7" Mike Maloy of Davidson away from the NBA by giving the 21-year-old basketball player a three-year, $150,000 contract that included a no-cut provision for his first season (if the club drops him he still gets paid). But according to Pittsburgh Coach Jack McMahon, Maloy came to preseason practice "the fattest, worst-looking player I've ever seen." He has been so listless and indifferent in practice that General Manager Marty Blake last week fined him $5,000, suspended him indefinitely and put him on the trading block. "I want Mike Maloy the great player, not Mike Maloy the fat kid," the general manager said. "I don't understand him. I don't know what he wants. I can't tell him, you're our big man, forget everything."