SI Vault
Edited by Martin Kane
March 29, 1971
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March 29, 1971


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The selection of three underclassmen—Tom Riker, a South Carolina junior, and sophomores Barry Parkhill of the University of Virginia and Jim Chones of Marquette—by the Virginia Squires during the second phase of the American Basketball Association draft was another spin-off of the increasingly far-reaching case of Spencer Haywood.

Unlike the signing of Haywood, whose premature entry into the pro game was facilitated by the ABA's so-called "hardship" clause which permits the hiring of an impoverished college player before his class has graduated, the selection of these three is a direct assault on the draft policies of both pro leagues. The Squires make no contention that the three are special cases of any sort. Earl Foreman, Squires owner who made his choices over the objections of ABA Commissioner Jack Dolph, said:

"I decided to draft according to the bylaws of the ABA as we think they should be interpreted under the precepts of general law and recent court decisions. It was a calculated risk. The future will tell if we are right or wrong."

Foreman's hope of being proved right rests largely on an injunction issued three weeks ago by the federal judge who is hearing the nettlesome Haywood case in Los Angeles. He enjoined the National Basketball Association from enforcing its wait-until-the-player's-class-graduates eligibility rule. The Squires' draft selections indicate that they feel the court injunction not only will be made permanent but also will be extended beyond the NBA to the ABA (and then, presumably, to the National Football League).

The irony of this lies in the fact that the people hurt by the draft rules as they stood were players who might have wanted to turn pro instead of finishing college, not the owners who are risking a change. The system now challenged by owners in both leagues has operated virtually unchanged for 25 years. During that time it helped provide a good farm system for the pros by allowing an attractive, self-supporting college game to thrive. It was also the system under which pro basketball grew to maturity, and essentially identical to the one under which pro football did the same. Alas, it also may have been illegal.

The owners seem to have judged the situation poorly. Instead of a stable player procurement system which, until competition from the ABA arose, gave owners the upper hand in player negotiations and presumably would do so again once the leagues merge, they are now heading for a freewheeling open market that may give the rookie players the advantage permanently.


In Pennsylvania wrestling is a sport dear to the heart, as has been demonstrated in the case of Mike Marino.

Mike was scheduled to compete in the Western regionals of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association high school tournament. But 250 teachers in the Canon-McMillan school district in Canonsburg, Pa. were threatening to strike. Under the rules of the PIAA, if a school is closed because of a strike all athletics are terminated, so Mike would have been ineligible.

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