SI Vault
Edited by Martin Kane
September 06, 1971
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September 06, 1971


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Forget it. The sentence will be ignored. California plans to play Isaac Curtis, halfback, whose presence on Cal teams has caused the NCAA to place Cal on indefinite probation with full sanctions. Arkansas' athletic director, George R. Cole, says he will enter no objection if Curtis plays.

What happened is that California made a botch of Curtis' passage through the college board entrance exams, in which an athlete must establish to the NCAA that he can do 1.6 work in college. Curtis never did take the exam, but he has since done better than passing work, which is good enough for California. The NCAA, though, adamantly permits no exceptions to its 1.6 rule.

The oversight came to the attention of the NCAA about a year ago. In a meeting in January the NCAA infractions committee deprived California of points scored by Curtis in the 1970 NCAA track meet. He is a world-class sprinter with a legitimate 9.3 to his credit for the 100-yard dash. The loss of his points cost California its NCAA track title.

But California did not bar Curtis from football last fall nor from track again last spring. So, a week ago, the NCAA put California on indefinite probation until such time as it is found to be in compliance with the 1.6 rule.

If California were a member of the Southwest Conference it would be barred forever from using Curtis. But it is a member of the Pacific Eight, which holds: "There shall be no central enforcement agent or agency in this conference." The bylaws specifically prohibit the Pacific Eight executive director from any investigative or enforcement activities. If questions do arise, they are to be settled between the two schools affected. Only if they cannot agree is the case brought to the executive director, who then may present it at a conference meeting, where voting procedures begin.

And if it all seems like a mess, you are quite right.


Harness-racing horses, like thoroughbreds, are tested for drugs, of course, but so are their drivers. The purpose is to find out if the driver has taken aboard enough alcohol to endanger others in the race. He is required to blow into a machine called a Breathalyzer and, if it registers .05% or more, he is reported to the paddock judge and denied permission to race that day. Sometimes he is fined, too, or set down from driving for a few days.

At The Meadows, a track in the hills of western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, Driver Al Jasperson came to the paddock, took his test and scored a reading of .095%, then insisted, against all the evidence, that he had not been drinking. Instead, he said, he had just sprayed his mouth with a breath sweetener—a "concentrated golden breath spray," no less. To prove it, he blew into the Breathalyzer a second time, whereupon the machine showed his breath had dropped to an acceptable .02%. The effect of the spray was wearing off, he assured the official. The latter, Sam Marcolini, tried the spray himself and hit a reading of .12%, but a mere .015% five minutes later.

Paddock Judge Joe Hutchison listened to the story, sprayed his mouth heavily and hit a remarkable .68%. In five minutes his reading had dropped to .04%.

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