SHAM AND AM
The question of amateurism is a continuing one, with every Tom, Dick and Avery offering profound comments on what should or should not be done about it. Double standards abound, and cheating, if that is the operative word, is rife. It is interesting, then, to learn that Great Britain's Football Association, which rules soccer, has decided to excise the word "amateur" from its rules. Beginning in 1974 all FA athletes will be classified simply as "players." This was done, presumably, to allow the true amateur and the hitherto sham amateur to live together, which is what they have been doing for years, without sin. The so-called amateurs who receive bonuses for joining a team and for winning, who are paid weekly "salaries" and who are guaranteed employment off the field, can now be reimbursed openly.
Denis Follows, secretary of the FA, said, "My headache is gone. It's been passed on to the tax man. I have no objection to people receiving money for playing football. What I object to is people being paid and not paying taxes. I don't like cheats and I don't like deception."
Bill Wickson, secretary of one of the most tradition-minded FA clubs, said, "The concept of a true amateur can no longer exist, but it can be retained in the spirit and manner in which the game is played. It will be a much happier world now that this hypocrisy has been swept away."
Events at Southern Methodist University underscore the precarious nature of coaching football. SMU fired Hayden Fry as head coach and athletic director after receiving a recommendation from the school's board of governors that he be dismissed. Recommend, in this instance, meant do it, and it was done.
So Fry is gone after an 11-year term, and with two years remaining on his contract. His overall record was 49-66-1, but he won as many games in his first season as his predecessor had in his last two. Only four years later, in 1966, SMU won its first Southwest Conference title in 18 years. And since then only Texas and Arkansas have better league records. Fry's 1972 Mustang team won its last three games to finish 7-4 and tie for second in the conference. "He got a raw deal," said Quarterback Keith Bobo. "I don't like it."
Fry at first blamed a Dallas Cowboy evaluation of his coaching performance as a reason for his dismissal but later recanted. "I was just repeating what I heard," he said. "My relations with the Cowboys were excellent."
Nonetheless, SMU's inability to compete at the gate with the Cowboys was a prime factor. The people who support SMU's football program wanted a new image and a new coach, and Fry had to go.
TO RUN AND WIN
The famous old gambling man and thoroughbred horse owner, Colonel E. R. Bradley, is supposed to have said that he would lay 5-to-1 odds against any yearling thoroughbred ever winning a race and 2-to-1 odds against one even getting as far as the starting gate. If the colonel had lived to make that bet with Nathan L. Cohen, vice-president of Pimlico and a horse owner himself, he would have taken a very wet bath. Cohen had eight yearlings in his stable last year. This year, as 2-year-olds, all eight made it to the races and all eight finished first at least once. A track mathematician figured out that accepting a $2 parlay on the eight to race and to win would have cost the colonel slightly more than $22 billion.