As for campus affairs, Bazil says he tells his runners that, "It doesn't behoove them, as men, to sit on the fringes and be parasitic." McPherson is chairman of the executive board of Adelphi's Black Student Union, and Walker is treasurer. McPherson was president of the Adelphi Athletic Association. Last spring, when a faculty committee was considering abolishing intercollegiate sports in view of Adelphi's economic straits, McPherson appeared before the committee in sweat pants, T shirt and track shoes to say, "If you have a family and you don't have enough food to feed the family, you don't throw out one of the kids and then say you have enough food."
McPherson also makes some of his own clothes. "People say that makes me a 'seamster,' " he says. "Whatever happened to the word 'tailor'?" He is a sociology major, with a 3.2 average. Walker has a 2.9 average as a history major. They both want to go to law school. Each member of the team is moving steadily toward a degree.
Three years ago Adelphi had trouble getting into big meets. Now it is sought after. The only problem the mile-relay runners are likely to have during the rest of the indoor season is living up to the expectations they raised by lowering the record from 3:14.1 to 3:13.7 on Jan. 14 and 3:12.2 on Jan. 21.
In last year's NCAA outdoor championships, the Adelphi mile-relay team finished second to UCLA—paced by John Smith, the world-record holder (44.5) in the 440, and Wayne Collett—and might conceivably have won had it not been inhibited by the incongruity of it all.
"I came up behind John Smith," says Walker, "and I thought, 'This is John Smith!' Then he gave me a look and he had me. But that was enough to show me they can be beat. I used to think of runners like that as being up there and I'm down here. Now I know we're all just runners."
Whether they work out in the L.A. sun or in the Adelphi business building.