Debbie Mason of Queens, the alltime Eastern women's scoring leader, electrified the crowd of 11,969 with her adept dribbling and timely assists. Off to a slow start, the Macs stayed in the game with the aid of a balanced offense, provided primarily by sophomores and freshmen. They won 65-61, as announcer and ex-pro Cal Ramsey praised both teams for their defense and the bubbling audience dwindled to a hardcore of 4,000, who stayed to watch the men of Fairfield beat the men of the University of Massachusetts 78-67. Something old, something borrowed, and, as Iowans could tell anybody, nothing new.
THE RITES AND WRONGS OF SPRING
Back in the '50s when he was leading Georgia Tech to six straight bowl victories, Bobby Dodd was something of a maverick in the coaching profession. He became famous, for instance, for his soft practices before the bowl trips. Often his players were engaged in volleyball when their opponents were slugging it out in some brutish practice pit.
Not long ago he was talking about spring practice, which even now is gearing up on college campuses. Dodd is against it, mostly on behalf of the players themselves. "I hated it when I was at Tennessee," he says. "Spring practice is grueling, and to hold it just puts too much emphasis on football the year around.
"What I would do is simply bring the boys back a few days earlier in the summer to get ready for the first game. Today you have freshmen who report two weeks before the first game and are ready to play.
"I think the boys should be allowed to do what they want in spring. When I was coaching, once a boy played a lot of football for me in the fall, he was free in the spring. I wanted him to play baseball or run track or play golf or tennis.
"Spring practice doesn't help that much. Boys get better from one year to another because they mature, they get older, bigger, stronger and smarter. If they didn't see a football from December to September, I doubt that it would make any difference.
"A lot of coaches disagree with me. I didn't do away with spring practice for the same reason some won't now. They can't get everybody else to go along. I understand that. If I'd stopped, and lost a game or two I shouldn't have, people would have started looking around for a coach who would hold spring practice. Frankly, I think one reason some coaches don't want to do away with it is because they enjoy it. They actually are lost without it."
...AND RIGHTING THE WRONGS
No less an iconoclast is Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose calls for cuts in the high cost of college football have received wide circulation. Paterno aired his views again last week for an NCAA media seminar in North Carolina, running the gamut from 1) a return to one-platoon football, to 2) integrating a majority of the coaching staff into the university community as teachers, coaches of other sports and aides to development and alumni groups, to 3) a ban on visits to prospects' homes by head coaches. ("If I go into a kid's town, it becomes a big thing there. Woody Hayes has to come in, then Bo Schembechler....")