JAKE VS. THE NFL
The mixup among the Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Colts, the NFL and Jake Gaither of Florida A&M (SCORE-CARD, Nov. 8 and 15) continues to bubble and boil. Briefly, the NFL scheduled a late-afternoon TV game between the Dolphins and the Colts in Miami on Saturday, Dec. II, overlooking Florida A&M's prior right to the Orange Bowl that evening for its annual Orange Blossom Classic. The NFL refused to meet Gaither's stiff price for shifting his game to an unattractive morning starting time—"We'd lose 15,000 fans at $5 apiece," Gaither said—and instead switched the Dolphins-Colts to Baltimore.
Now Miamians, rightfully excited about their division-leading Dolphins, are riled because the game in Baltimore apparently will not be shown on TV in Miami, since Federal Public Law 87-331 says a pro game cannot be televised within 75 miles of a site where a college game is being played on the same dale. Naturally Gaither has come under pressure to allow the pro game to be on TV anyway. The Miami Herald even had its Washington man check with the Justice Department, which indicated no effort would be made to prosecute if Gaither did not object to the telecast.
But Gaither, who is on the NCAA's television committee, questioned whether he had the right to waive the law, even if he was of a mind to, and the NCAA strongly supported his stand. Tom Hansen, its assistant executive director, said the conflict came about because the NFL chose to schedule the game on Saturday during the college football season. "The law protects high school and college football from encroachment by professional football," Hansen wired Gaither. " NFL knew law and date of your game and is to blame for scheduling Miami game in this manner, even though it now is trying to focus blame for television problem on others."
It all comes down to money, of course. It cost $83,562.82 to stage his game last year, Gaither said, and he needed every spectator he could get. "There's no way the telecast wouldn't hurt our game," he argued. "Who's going to sit and watch a pro game on TV that starts at 4 and ends around 7, eat supper and then come out and watch us?"
JUST PLAIN BILL
Not only are their card stunts bush (SCORECARD, Nov. 29), the Trojans of Southern California have fallen on hard times with names. USC's football history rings with the glorious sound of Orenthal James Simpson, Grenville A. Landsell Jr., Irvine (Cotton) Warburton, Ambrose Schindler, Aramis Dandoy, Landon Exley...the list seems endless. But now? The star fullback on USC's line freshman team this year is named Bill Fudge.
OVER TO YOU, RUSS
Bill Russell's debut as TV "color" man (a title whose irony tickles Russell's sense of humor) on the National Basketball Association's Game of the Week last Friday augurs well for tube gazing in the dreary winter afternoons ahead. Despite a tendency to mumble, which caused a few observations to be drowned in the crowd noise, the Russell wit was much in evidence, and his easy acceptance of the role of informed critic was refreshing. He took a number of players to task—though gently—for technical errors and mildly disparaged the eccentricities of Walt Bellamy, an old adversary. "Walter," Russell whispered delicately, "is inclined to be inconsistent." When Dorie Murrey threw up an off-balance, poor-percentage hook shot and it went in, Russell observed, "My, my, strange things do happen."
In a more abrasive tone, he probably raised a few West Coast hackles, notably Jack Kent Cooke's and Wilt Chamberlain's, when asked to account for the line start by the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Yes, he conceded, they were doing all right "now that they've got two old Celtics [ Coaches Bill Sharman and K.C. Jones] to straighten them out." Welcome back to basketball, William.
ANATOMY OF A WHISTLE-BLOWER