Northwestern State College of Alva, Okla. had a poor basketball season last year, with a 7-20 overall record and a 4-16 mark in the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference. Coach Keith Covey sent a complaint to a conference meeting a couple of weeks ago about the playing conditions his Rangers had to put up with around the league. He mentioned "inadequate lighting at Northeastern and Panhandle and excessive crowd noise at Phillips, Central and Southeastern." He objected to signs that said "Kill the Rangers" and "Blood Makes the Victory Sweeter."
Phillips' faculty representative rejected the charge of excessive crowd noise at his school. "I don't know what Mr. Covey is talking about," he said. "We only have about 200 people come to our games. He must have heard a building swaying in the wind." As for the "kill" and "blood" signs Covey mentioned. Central's athletic director protested, "We will let the students put up signs that say 'Beat the Rangers,' but we won't let them put up one that says 'Beat the Hell Out of the Rangers.' "
However, there was support, if reluctant, for some of Covey's points. Panhandle tried to reject the poor lighting criticism by saying, "We have no problem. Mr. Covey is the one with a problem." But it was reported that before Central went off to play games at Panhandle its players took the precaution of working out in semidarkness, sometimes turning out most of the lights in the field house. And Northeastern's athletic director blamed the inadequacy in his school's lighting on the gym's popcorn popper. "Even with the new wiring in our gymnasium," he said, "we can't turn all our lights on. When we do, it blows a fuse in the concession stand."
COLOSSUS OF CORN
Some Nebraskans recently proposed that Interstate 80, the major east-west route across the state, be bridged by a massive steel beam, a 375-foot span soaring 235 feet above the road. In the middle would be a group of plastic figures representing Nebraska's pioneers. The plastic would be painted bronze.
A second suggestion soon followed. This one was made public by Michael Epps, who said he was "a spokesman for Monument Group, a Lincoln design firm." Epps said his concern had been commissioned to prepare plans for a 150-foot-high figure of a University of Nebraska football player, a center, who would be crouching over the highway. His helmet would house a revolving restaurant, his chest a display area of Nebraska memorabilia, his hips an observation platform and souvenir shop. The football would be a quick-stop restaurant. It was hoped that low-cost housing units could be built into the giant's calves.
Reaction to the steel beam had been mild, but when the Epps plan was publicized, both proposals were condemned as garish and tasteless. Instead of being upset, Epps was delighted. He is a student of architecture at Nebraska, he said, and he had been appalled by the apparent acceptance of the steel beam-and-plastic-bronze thing. He had presented his giant Cornhusker plan as a sardonic put-on. "It made people stop and think about putting a monument over the highway," he said, "and when they did, they realized it was no good. I'm pleased by the public reaction."