THE REBELLION CONTINUES
The controversial Tunney sports bill, which provides for a degree of federal supervision of amateur sport (SCORECARD, Oct. 8), has been watered down a bit as it moves toward its moment of decision in the Senate. Part of the vitiating process is another bill proposed to the House of Representatives by Congressman Bob Mathias, the Olympic decathlon champion in 1948 and 1952, which avoids federal control and deals only with the Olympics.
The much criticized U.S. Olympic Committee is adamantly against the Tunney bill but supports the Mathias one. Athletes generally favor Tunney and reject Mathias, much to the distress of Philip O. Krumm, president of the USOC. When Krumm became president of the Olympic Committee after the 1972 Games at Munich, one of his first moves was to name seven athletes to the USOC board of directors, a gesture of conciliation toward the outspokenly discontented competitors. The seven in turn created an advisory council of representatives from 33 Olympic sports. This council met for the first time earlier this month in Chicago, where its prime topic was the Tunney sports bill. Krumm and USOC executive director Don Miller spoke to the group to explain their opposition to it.
"You're not getting anything from it," Krumm said. "I can't find any merit in any part of the bill. It's the worst thing that can happen to this country, to everyone in this room. I for one am going to do everything I can to keep rotten politics out of sport."
Willie Davenport, 1968 Olympic hurdle champion, asked, "Why is a federal board, appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and containing at least one athlete, rotten politics? Can't we trust anyone but you? Sure it's a bureaucracy. But we've got a bureaucracy now, and one that's not doing its job."
After Krumm and Miller left, the athletes voted on a resolution in support of the Tunney bill. When Krumm phoned later to find how the vote had gone, he was told the resolution had passed by a 25-4 vote. "Oh my God," he said.
As indicated a couple of months ago (SCORECARD, Sept. 24), Australia has turned to the past in its effort to regain the Davis Cup. For this weekend's semifinal matches against Czechoslovakia in Melbourne, the Aussies named Ken Rosewall, 39, Mal Anderson, 38, Rod Laver, 35, and John Newcombe, 29. Rosewall returns to Davis Cup competition after an absence of 17 years. Laver last played for the cup 11 years ago.
The senescent quality of the Aussie cuppers strengthens the feeling that tennis Down Under is going under. Only a few outstanding young prospects are on the horizon, and none of them was good enough to be picked ahead of the elderly stars. But if Australia's future is bleak, its immediate present is bright. American tennis expert Bud Collins said, "It might be the oldest Davis Cup team in history, but it is also probably the best."
A SLICE OF THE PIE