MR. MERGER GOES TO WASHINGTON
Now that the National and American Basketball Associations have decided to trust each other and work together, the only hurdle to complete merger is Congress, which must pass an antitrust waiver. It will take a lot of backscratching and elbowing, but there are several good reasons why Congress can be expected to grant such a dispensation in time for a common draft next spring.
First, there is the matter of precedent. The NFL got its waiver, and baseball has Supreme Court immunity. Can anyone seriously doubt that basketball is entitled to the same sort of protection? Besides, Congress is going to get a lot of heat to permit a merger from—of all places—the colleges. If peace comes to pro basketball, raids on college teams will end.
Supposedly, the NBA Players Association is hell-bent to halt the merger, but in fact many of the players are closet doves. "Look, we don't want to stop the merger," one player rep says. "We just want to use it to get concessions." A more liberal option/reserve clause and better pensions are what the players really want out of this.
Finally, the NBA-ABA owners have already talked to the man who is obviously the best candidate to plead their case in Washington, Lawyer Thomas Kuchel, the former Senator from California and Republican minority whip. If Kuchel does associate himself with the merger effort, it is difficult to imagine his former colleagues turning him down. He is respected on both sides of the aisle, and it is very shrewd of the NBA-ABA to make him their first draft choice.
THE BETTER HALF
Watson T. Yoshimoto, president of the Oahu Construction Company in Honolulu, is one of 35 men under federal indictment in California for hunting desert bighorn sheep, a legally protected vanishing species.
In July a fashion show will be held in Honolulu as a benefit for the Hawaiian Humane Society. It has been arranged by a member of the board of the society, Mrs. Watson T. Yoshimoto.
TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
Because their territories overlap and they compete directly for players and spectators, the Big Eight and Missouri Valley Conference are bitter basketball rivals. When Maury John, the Drake University coach, resigned recently to accept the head coaching job at Iowa State, Drake's president, Dr. Paul Sharp, talked about presenting John with an alarm clock "to keep him awake while sitting on the bench at those dull Big Eight games." Those words should interest the athletic department at Oklahoma, in the Big Eight. Dr. Sharp has just been named president of Oklahoma.
An NCAA survey has revealed that the leading jock school in the country, the only one that offers 21 different undergraduate sports, is that famous old football factory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.