Next week ABC sports will preview the NCAA college football season. The hour-long telecast, a network release says, will "take an unusual and in-depth look" at the teams that experts predict will battle for No. 1—Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Penn State and Oklahoma.
Oklahoma? The last time the NCAA was heard from on this subject it was going to pretend that the Sooners did not even exist, they were in such bad odor for alleged recruiting violations. They will not be seen in action on NCAA television games this year, they cannot go to a bowl and the college coaches will not vote for them in the weekly UPI Coaches Poll. And yet they are in the NCAA preview.
The ambiguous nature of Oklahoma's banishment puts us in mind of what, when we first heard of them after last season, struck us as two of the more bizarre schemes yet proposed for dealing with the three troublesome Rs of college football—Recruiting, Revenue and Reputation. Now we wonder.
One plan, developed by Dr. Milton C. David, a Modesto, Calif. orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Jack Graves, professor of education at California State College in Stanislaus, proposes a college draft to replace the present recruiting of high school athletes. Like the pros, schools in a conference would draft in inverse order of their league standing at the end of the previous season. According to the plan's authors, this would save money, put a stop to dynasties and steer the less successful schools away from the unrespectable paths they have been forced to follow in order to become respectable. Best, it would take the pressure off the athletes by deciding for them where they will matriculate. They won't mind losing their freedom of choice, reasons Dr. David, who has recruited in California for 10 years, since star athletes "are being bought anyway, regardless of what people say."
William Wagner, a New Jersey buff, suggests that to help meet rising expenses the colleges should band together and negotiate agreements with the professional leagues, guaranteeing reimbursements to the colleges for any athletes signed to pro contracts. The colleges, Wagner argues, act as the pros' minor leagues, anyway, and should realize some gain from the arrangement. To get the professionals to go along, the colleges might have to drop big-time sports for three or so years, but in the end they would win. And they would do a good job training the athletes, since in preparing them for professional careers they would be more concerned with how they performed on the field or court than in the classroom.
There seems to be a maddening logic in all this to delight the sternest of casuists. But good sense?
The permit granted by the Idaho Land Board to Evel Knievel for his Sky-Cycle leap across Snake River Canyon is 1313.
Coach Rick Forzano gave a pep talk to the Detroit Lions before their exhibition game with the Oakland Raiders.