A MATTER OF RESPONSIBILITY
The swift suspension for the season of two Minnesota basketball players involved in the shameful brawl with Ohio State (page 18) is to be commended. But what about the coach, whose philosophy generated the tension that exploded into violence? What about the high university officials, whose bumbling in handling athletic matters (SCORECARD, Jan. 10) was earlier evident and who tolerated and even fostered the coach's ideas because of an unseemly hunger for victory at all costs? The greater guilt—and Minnesota's disgrace—lies with them.
THE NEW ATHLETE
Explanations of Big Eight supremacy in football (SCORECARD, Jan. 17) indicate that part of it was the result of an influx of athletes no longer able to get into Big Ten schools because of stricter admission standards there. This, in turn, could imply that the rise in Big Eight football fortunes has been achieved at the expense of academic excellence, but such apparently is not the case. About 20 members of Nebraska's national-championship squad had semester averages of 3.00 or better (4.00 is equivalent to straight A). All-America Slot-back Johnny Rodgers and Co-captain Jim Anderson both had perfect 4.00 averages. All-America Tackle Larry Jacob-son had 3.30. Offensive Guard Dick Rupert had 3.73. Safety Bill Kosch had 3.44. If brains contribute to athletic success, as all this may indicate, Nebraska's opponents will take small comfort in learning that 13 members of the Cornhusker freshman squad had averages of 3.00 or better.
Another Big Eight school, Kansas State, has five players on its basketball team with 3.00 averages or better. And Oklahoma's brilliant quarterback, Jack Mildren, selected as one of 11 scholar-leader-athletes to receive a Gold Medal Award, wowed a distinguished audience at the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame dinner in New York in December with a fine off-the-cuff speech.
The NCAA likes to use the phrase "student athlete." Perhaps it is no longer an empty phrase. Perhaps it is the athletic dunce who is going the way of the dinosaur.
Brian's Song, the film about the touching relationship between the Chicago Bears' Gale Sayers and his dying teammate, Brian Piccolo, was a rousing popular success when it was shown on TV a couple of months ago, and it has been charging ahead on all fronts ever since. Sayers' book, I Am Third, which provided the basis for the film, has been selling like mad since the TV success, and so has a second book, Brian Piccolo: A Short Season, by Jeannie Morris, wife of the Bears' Johnny Morris. The theme music from the film has been recorded by several artists, including Peter Duchin, Peter Nero and Hank Crawford. The movie itself ( President Nixon said, "Believe me, it was one of the great motion pictures that I have seen") has been playing in Chicago and eventually should be in theaters across the country. Its box-office success may put off until sometime next fall a planned rerun on television.
ALI HERE, ALI THERE
In Vancouver the touring Muhammad Ali said: "I've been everywhere, all them continents. Europe, Africa, Arabia, Mecca. That's the bestest place of all, Mecca. I went around and talked to the kings and princes and everything of those Arab countries, and they're all getting together and going to send me $20 million for our Black Muslim college. The money will go to educate and cleanse the black people and purge out their evils and give them pride in themselves, because America won't do that for them. No sir, America won't do it.
"Man, America is really messed up. Not like in England. Oh, I love it there. The police there don't have no guns when they walk the streets. Not like in America, where every cop needs a club, two machine guns and 12 police dogs."
In Hershey, Pa. the touring Muhammad Ali said: "We may have some racketeers and some things we have to change around, but America is like my wife. She has some faults, but the good overshadows the faults. I got nothing but good to say about this country. I'll never leave here talking against America. I don't care what country I go to, I'm very anxious to get back. We came from Africa, but I'm not talking about going back there. We been 400 years building up this place.