"For example," he explained, "I believe we could reduce the number of scholarship awards without any appreciable loss of quality in performance. Four of the strong Eastern powers—Syracuse, Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia—have a ceiling of 100 scholarships a year and they compete pretty successfully.
"Obviously we're not going to take any such reduction unilaterally, but we would certainly be interested in a move of this kind by the NCAA."
The NCAA is studying the problem—slowly and carefully. Last week at Dallas one of its committees proposed a limitation of 30 football scholarships and six basketball scholarships per year per school, as well as restrictions on the size of coaching staffs. The hope is that the NCAA can translate recommendations into action before too many college athletic departments go broke.
IRON MIKE FINDS A HOME
There are those who have long felt that Little League pitchers are prone to arm injury because they try to emulate the big-league boys before their muscles, cartilage and bone have developed sufficiently to cope with the contortions required in throwing a curveball. Well, the Madison Meadows ( Phoenix, Ariz.) Little League has an answer. Jack August, a physical-education teacher at Madison Meadows School, has persuaded the teams in his league to use a mechanical pitcher in place of a live one.
The way it works, the coach of the defensive team operates the machine from a chair behind the mound. A youngster who normally would do the pitching stands by to perform all the fielding duties of the pitcher. Everything else is like regulation baseball except that if a batted ball hits the pitching machine there is no play and the batter gets another chance.
Scores still run in the high 20s range, but now the kids get in seven innings of play well within the allotted 90-minute limit. And the pitcher never gets mad at the ump.
Most fans—and baseball players, for that matter—would disagree, but Roberto Clemente says baseball is a stronger game now than it was in the simple, 16-team days before expansion.
"Because there were so few openings years ago," the Pirate outfielder explains, "players used to be 28 to 30 years old before they made it to the majors. They'd play many more seasons in the minors before they were brought up.