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JEEPERS! PEEPERS IS IN CHARGE NOW
Gwilym S. Brown
October 23, 1972
Some think Jack Scott looks like the comedian, others say he acts like one. And Scott? Hired as Oberlin College's new athletic director, he agrees he is way out—but not dangerous
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October 23, 1972

Jeepers! Peepers Is In Charge Now

Some think Jack Scott looks like the comedian, others say he acts like one. And Scott? Hired as Oberlin College's new athletic director, he agrees he is way out—but not dangerous

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Then there was the controversial course Scott conducted at the University of California at Berkeley in 1970, where guest lecturers like Meggyesy and Harry Edwards, the black militant, scorched the temples of American sport for a semester. Scott's most recent book, The Athletic Revolution (1971), went further still with descriptions of drug abuse, payoffs and coaches who care only about winning. The discomfort of his antagonists is probably understandable—though not entirely so to Scott.

"Nothing I believe in is all that radical," he says ingenuously. "There are critics of sports who are much farther out. I'm not even all that original. People like Robert Hutchins espoused many of these things years ago. They just came too early. Now I'm a spokesman for these times."

Whether for these times or not, he is a spokesman, an almost constant one at conventions, symposiums and student gatherings. Usually he is introduced as a former star high school athlete who captained his football team and, as a college sprinter, did 9.6 in the 100 and 20.9 in the 220. Then he removes his jacket and displays a red, white and blue shirt.

"You'll notice I've got on my patriotic shirt," he begins with a smile. "I always wear it when I'm talking about sport to establish my basic loyalty."

Scott then damns the U.S. sporting Establishment with its own words, quoting Vince Lombardi ("Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing"), Leo Durocher ("Nice guys finish last") and finally Bill Musselman, the controversial and competitive Minnesota basketball coach who had the slogan posted over the players' shower: "Defeat is worse than death because you have to live with defeat." The last invariably gets a big laugh.

The rest of the talk is a kind of good news-bad news balancing act. " U.S. sport turns out teams with a very high degree of excellence," says Scott. "Our coaches are obviously dedicated men. They put in probably a good deal more time at their jobs than professors. Athletics also present an opportunity for cooperation and offer a good means to social mobility. Sport's most enduring strength is the fact that an authentic, heroic struggle does exist."

Now, in Scott's eyes, the bad news. He ticks off the items as truths revealed, much as a trial lawyer sums up the case he has been arguing for some time:

?The excessive commercialization and pressure to win that lead to a rigid authoritarian system, the encouragement of drug taking, recruiting violations and violence. Instead of eliminating these evils the NCAA serves almost to abet them.

? Athletics serve as a male masculinity rite, with losing associated with a loss of manhood.

?The social mobility of sport is overrated. It is largely an illusion to the blacks, and for women it is non-existent.

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