Unhappily, political fallout seems to have become an inevitable part of international athletic competition. The most recent example involved the touring Russian basketball team, which twice last week became the target of demonstrations. At the University of Maryland a container of oil (supposedly Arab oil, though the significance of its point of origin was lost in the shouting) was thrown from the stands onto the floor, and the Soviet-Maryland game had to be halted for 20 minutes while the court was cleaned off. The Washington, D.C. chapter of the Jewish Defense League immediately took credit for the disruption, citing as its grievances the use of Soviet professionals in amateur athletics and "the relentless persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union." The JDL was not very specific about which of the Russian players was guilty of either charge, but a spokesman said that his group plans similar outbursts at future sporting events.
Outside New York's Madison Square Garden on Thursday, a phalanx of students distributed leaflets detailing the plight of Soviet Jewry, foreshadowing the reception the Russians received inside before their game with Notre Dame. As they were introduced, they were greeted by perhaps as many boos as cheers. A few in the crowd hooted during the Russian national anthem, shouted " KGB go home," sang a lusty rendition of Yankee Doodle and waved miniature American flags. It was not an exhibition of the glories of d�tente.
Since Munich, and even before, it has been obvious that sport is not immune to the bullying of political activists. If the Soviet team's strong performance was a preview of what to expect in Montreal, so were the actions of the demonstrators. It's really too bad.
DOUBLE DARE YOU
The Big Eight clearly demonstrated its superiority in college football this season by winning 28 of 32 games played against nonconference schools. No other conference came close to matching that record. Now, with all the fuss about bowl bids—resentment against Bear Bryant for picking Penn State to meet Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, instead of taking the loser of the Oklahoma-Nebraska game (victorious Oklahoma goes to the Orange Bowl as Big Eight champion)—Colorado Coach Bill Mallory has a suggestion. It is perhaps a bit prideful, but the pride may be justified. Mallory says, "They ought to take six of the Big Eight teams—Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Colorado—and send us to bowl games all over the country and see how we compare. I think the results would be something. I like that kind of challenge, and I think the Big Eight would meet it."
THE END OF SOMETHING
Inflation has finally reached Chavez Ravine. After refusing to change their ticket prices for 18 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have finally given in. Box seats have gone up a dollar to $4.50, reserve seats up 50�
to $3, general-admission seats up 50� to $2, kids under 12 up a quarter to $1.
"We're not happy about raising our prices," says Dodger President Peter O'Malley, "but our computers show that at our old scale our break-even point would be an attendance of two million. That's a little dangerous. We must operate at a profit."
WHAT'S IN A NUMBER?
Every now and then a first-magnitude star of pro football comes from an unbelievably obscure college. Take Billy (White Shoes) Johnson, the rookie sprite of the Houston Oilers. Johnson is from Widener College of Chester, Pa., which you may not have heard of but which has a fairly remarkable tradition of first-rate football. For six straight seasons Pioneer running backs, including Johnson, led the Middle Atlantic South Conference in rushing. Four of them—Johnson, Richie Weaver, Don Watkins and Jackie Long, a senior this year—have had 2,000-yards-rushing careers. And all four of them wore uniform No. 46.