ESCAPADES ON CAMPUS ICE
What began as a seeming death knell for college ice hockey in the U.S. may end as nothing more than an old-fashioned power play. It was reported last week that the National Collegiate Athletic Association's council, meeting next Monday in Hollywood, Fla., would consider dropping the sport. Not entirely true. The subject will come up, but in the broader relationship of professional to college athletics. The expectation is the council will compromise if it can assure itself of a firmer voice in amateur hockey.
The NCAA's difficulties with hockey revolve around differences with the Canadians, who provide a majority of the top performers on U.S. college teams. Tier One players in the Junior A leagues, Canada's best for youths ranging from early to late teens, are paid $60 a week, making them professionals in NCAA eyes, but from the Canadian standpoint no more professional than U.S. college athletes who eat at training tables and sleep in special dormitories. Tier One players pay for their room and board and receive no laundry allowance.
Particularly galling to the NCAA is a grant of $57,775 made by the National Hockey League to the Midwest Junior Hockey League based in Minneapolis. Major league baseball similarly supports U.S. college circuits, but these, says the NCAA, are certified and supervised by it. The players receive only expense money. They may earn more during off-baseball hours by taking local jobs at the going rate.
Obviously the NCAA would be happy to supervise the Midwest League and work out a modus operandi with the Canadians. But even if a compromise cannot be struck, the free ride through U.S. colleges for Canadian hockey players is far from doomed. In the unlikely event that the NCAA dropped hockey, most if not all of the 87 member schools that play the game (105 others have club teams) would continue to do so. Many have heavy investments and long traditions and, apparently, all have nothing to fear from the NCAA, which will not subject them to penalties in other sports. Such action might serve only to give the colleges ideas of independence. So expect a horse trade.
What with the high cost of living and scarcity of feed grain, even Texas is thinking small these days. The Neiman-Marcus annual Christmas catalog is out, and this year's gift for the consumer who has everything is a 12-foot-square mouse ranch, for goodness sakes. It comes complete with mesa, cactus, corrals, feed bins and silver-plated "roundup tweezers," but even the seductive words of President Stanley Marcus—"Imagine the thrill of sitting around the campfire (or fireplace) singing songs of the prairie under the full moon (or lamp) with your own herd lowing softly (or squeaking gently)"—are not going to hide the fact that it costs $3,500.
Japan, where the people naturally start from a smaller base than in Texas, has fallen on equally hard times. With the cost of dog food at $1.70 a pound, Tokyo department stores are featuring insects as pets. The price varies from 50� to $3 a bug depending upon size, sex and supply. Females are cheaper, not necessarily because this is the East. One store reported sales of $10,000 in one month, not including revenues from insect cages, insect exercise wheels, breeding kits, bug nets and books on insect care. Another created a screened-in rooftop insect park. Trees and grass were planted, millions of grasshoppers and beetles and other crawly things were imported, and children were provided with nets and allowed to roam the meadows snaring critters to their hearts' delight—for which Mama-san paid dearly downstairs.
If the trend holds, it won't be long before we're all thinking up funny names for our friendly pet amoebas.
PEANUTS GOES TO COLLEGE—AAUGH!
Washington & Lee University, loser of 10 straight games, was leading Randolph-Macon 20-18 with one second to go when a W&L freshman defensive back intercepted a pass on his own five-yard line. Salted the game away, right? No. The young man skipped into his own end zone and touched the football down—for a safety and a 20-20 tie. His name, sorry to report, is Charley Brown.