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IS WINNING THE ONLY THING?
The University of Miami's failure to forfeit that disputed game with Tulane a few weeks ago continues to arouse comment. Through an officiating mistake, Miami, behind 21-17, was allowed a fifth down in Tulane territory late in the fourth quarter. Miami scored on the extra down and won the game 24-21. Game films showed the error. Miami should not have been permitted the extra down. Tulane should have been given the ball and, since there were only 54 seconds to play, presumably would have won 21-17.
The incident revived memories of the Cornell-Dartmouth game of 1940. Ivy League notwithstanding, undefeated Cornell was about the best team in the country at the time (it had beaten Ohio State in a battle of giants earlier). Dartmouth, ahead 3-0 in the fourth quarter, was within minutes of pulling off the upset of the year when Cornell was inadvertently given an extra down by the officials. Cornell scored and won 7-3. When the films were reviewed the mistake was obvious, and on the Monday after the game Cornell forfeited its tainted victory, giving Dartmouth a 3-0 win. A recent Associated Press story claims that Cornell officials were taken aback when Dartmouth accepted the forfeit, but even so, the gesture has resounded to Cornell's credit over the years.
Miami, however, chose not to follow Cornell's lead and cited various reasons why it would not. Most of the arguments seemed to boil down to a rather childish "It doesn't matter how it happened—we won the game. Why should we give it back?"
Well, possibly for reasons of pride and self-respect. If it had given the game to Tulane, Miami would have been applauded for making a gracious, sports-manlike gesture. Instead, it has an empty, pointless victory and a cheap reputation it will take a while to get rid of.
SOUND OF MUSIC
Tom Schill and Jim Petrie Jr. of upstate New York were hunting near a beaver pond in mid-October when they saw a lone black duck come gliding in. They both fired, the duck fell and from the yard of a farmhouse a quarter of a mile away came the mournful sound of a trumpeter playing taps.
The wistful notes had barely faded when a large flock of ducks came in. Schill and Petrie fired away, reloading and shooting as fast as they could. When the sound of their last shots subsided, the mysterious trumpeter played The Baltic Hymn of the Republic.
Read any moral you want into this.
POP GOES THE BASKETBALL