HEADLINE OF THE WEEK
From the Baltimore Evening Sun:
CATONSVILLE NINE FACES LEGION
No, the Berrigan brothers and their seven contemporaries have not taken on the whole American Legion. It seems only, the story reveals, that the Catonsville A.C. will open its baseball season in an exhibition game against the Dewey Lowman American Legion team.
Even the Vietnam war is not as old as baseball.
MR. HAYWOOD, MEET MR. McQUAY
Last week the University of Tampa's record-breaking running back, Leon McQuay, signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian League. A college junior, McQuay forfeited a year's eligibility to take what Tampa officials call "quick money"—something like $30,000, it is rumored. McQuay could have gone high in the NFL draft next year; indeed, he may have been among the first two or three players selected.
Toronto Coach Leo Cahill maintains that McQuay has been on the Argonauts' negotiating list for a year and that any Canadian team will grab a collegian who wants to take money before his class graduates. McQuay's signing sets no precedent, although he is the best player to quit college for a Canadian club. Bo Scott, a Cleveland Browns running back, and Margene Atkins, a split end with the Dallas Cowboys, were both with the Ottawa Rough Riders before playing out their options and returning to the U.S. Vic Washington is trying to make the San Francisco 49ers after three years in Canada. All started professionally north of the border before their college terms ran out.
Bill Fulcher, the Tampa coach, plans to file a complaint with the CFL, but it would seem that he is whistling in the dark. It is Tampa's own U.S. courts that are, effectively, on the Canadian side. The decision in the Spencer Haywood basketball case supported the contention that no athlete is required to wait until his college eligibility is up before turning pro. Indeed, the McQuay affair suggests what was not apparent before, that the disposition of the Haywood case may have greater reach in football than in basketball. Instead of prepping for the NFL in college, many undergraduate stars may find it more rewarding to quit college—or skip it altogether if they are especially precocious—play for a nice salary in Canada until their option runs out, and then move on to the NFL. Predictable protests from the NFL and colleges about "the value of a college education," as stirring as they may sound, would seem to be so much breast-beating. Whereas the NFL used to be able to put a little informal pressure on the CFL to leave U.S. collegians alone, our courts have put an end to that. McQuay and Haywood could become the leaders in a mighty rush of very young and talented athletes to turn pro.