- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
SCORE ONE FOR THE WOMEN
There is only one way to view the events that took place in Washington last week when a record number of delegates (954, including 44 college presidents, also a record) gathered for the 69th annual National Collegiate Athletic Association convention. The NCAA's directors had their heads handed to them by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, which was convened 1,410 miles away in Houston. The NCAA deserved at least as much.
The debacle had its beginnings last year when representatives of the two organizations met to discuss affiliation. But soon after, the NCAA Council went on its own tack and secretly drew up plans for a women's program to be administered by the men. Suspicions were aroused that all was not right in a pre-convention interview granted by the NCAA executive director of many years, Walter Byers. He favored starting women's athletics at the club level, ignoring the fact that the women were already well launched. Thereafter, women "should be accorded...financing to the level of their interest." He did not consider the women's 2% share of all funds spent on athletics inadequate.
Word next leaked from Washington that the NCAA would announce a pilot program offering national championship competition for women. Dr. Norman Miller, a UCLA vice-chancellor, said in Houston, "It is the biggest betrayal of my life." Chancellor Herbert Schooling of the University of Missouri assured the AIAW of his backing, and President Robert MacVicar of Oregon State said he favored tabling the NCAA proposal pending discussion with the women.
It was a steely audience that faced a Byers assistant, Tom Jernstedt, whose appearance before the AIAW had been promised by the NCAA. The slipshod nature of the NCAA's planning was soon evident in his evasive answers to a steady drumming of questions. Why the necessity of championships when the AIAW already was staging 11 title events? No answer. Why were women not to run the program or even be in on the planning of it? No idea. Jernstedt did not know, either, how the pilot program could be financed or what the NCAA would do about such non-member colleges as Wellesley, Smith and Immaculata, the three-time AIAW basketball champion.
This was to have been a historic NCAA convention. Other areas of major consideration were cost cutting and rules infractions and enforcement. Considerable headway was made in the latter category, but absolutely nothing was accomplished as far as curtailing operating costs was concerned, a plan to return to one-platoon football (see below) not even reaching a vote. One suspects that if important savings were to be made, they would be in the women's program, but the women were having none of it. That was historic.
TWO FOR ONE
Whether to return to one-platoon football or not is a problem with surprising twists. While it was assumed at the NCAA convention that only the financially pressed smaller schools favored limiting substitution, it was the University of Oregon that attempted to raise the issue and Penn State's Joe Paterno who earlier had presented the strongest arguments for a cutback. On the other hand, Coach Bill Ramseyer of little (660 students) Wilmington College in Ohio thinks that a return to one platoon would be the very thing to force the small schools under.
Ramseyer reasons this way: football at Wilmington attracts about 50 freshman candidates a year. Since there are no athletic scholarships, the players pay the same tuition and fees as other students. They enroll at Wilmington because they know they will have a chance to play. Take that away and they will have less reason to go to Wilmington and, says Ramseyer, "very few small colleges can stand to lose students now."