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WAIT A LITTLE WHILE
Signing college basketball players to professional contracts has become something of a national pastime the last few years, so much so that collegiate officials concerned with the future of their game object fervently to the practice, usually on the grounds that it is unethical or "bad for the boy."
Bob James, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, is a bit more practical. "We're going to do something," he says. "We're not going to sit back and let the agents ruin the college game." James and the ACC say that while they will encourage student-athletes to finish college before turning to a professional athletic career, they recognize that "economic factors coupled with an unusual opportunity" are persuasive reasons for a collegian to sign a contract. James therefore has consulted lawyers, tax men, investment counselors and the like and has come up with a plan, which the ACC has approved and which James will personally explain to players at each school in the conference.
He will ask them to promise not to discuss a professional career with anyone but parents or coaches or athletic directors. In return, if a player is thinking of turning pro, the ACC will provide him with legal and financial guidance at no cost. It will not act as agent or representative, the ACC hastens to add. The service will be solely educational and will be designed to help the player understand contracts, tax problems and investments and thus enable him to make a reasonably intelligent appraisal of his future under a professional contract.
FORTUNE AND MEN'S EYES
Amid the continuing flap about where and when the Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali return bout will be held, a persistent anti-California note has been heard, despite the fact that Jack Kent Cooke, the Los Angeles sports entrepreneur, has both the contract for the rematch and an arena in which to hold it. Bob Turley, executive secretary of the California Athletic Commission, says, "I wouldn't be surprised if Frazier is backing away from a title fight in California because of the rigorous physical examination we require here." Turley thinks it significant that Yank Durham, Frazier's manager, saw to it that the champion's recent tune-up fights were held in Louisiana and Nebraska, where there is relatively little supervision of boxing, and suggests that Frazier might have a physical problem, possibly with his eyes.
Turley says, "He doesn't like the physical examination rules. He doesn't want Frazier to be checked by our ophthalmologist."
IS GOOLAGONG GOING?
Billie Jean King's defeat of Evonne Goolagong last Sunday in the finals of the French Open was sweet revenge for her loss to the Australian girl at Wimbledon a year ago. It also served to revive interest in the comments Mrs. King made a few weeks back after she won the $20,000 Indianapolis Tournament, last event on the women's winter-spring tour. Asked if she would be back in Indianapolis in August to defend her National Clay Court title, Billie Jean said no, she didn't think so, not if Evonne was in the field. Billie Jean is a bulwark of the professional women's tour. Evonne, a fledgling in the tennis-money game, has been reaping her monetary awards where she can, under the guidance of her coach, Vic Edwards.