Van Rheen and Kennedy came to a one-story frame house, the Black Culture Center.
"A black kid got shot right here two years ago," said Kennedy. "A basketball player who'd become ineligible and quit the team. A Missourian writer tried to make it sound like Coach Stewart had been insensitive to the guy and that was why he was dead. Pure crap. Stewart can get pretty sarcastic, but he sure doesn't confine it to the blacks. He's always telling Kim and me we're the worst two defensive forwards in the Big Eight. He's always telling me I'm lazy. If anything, the black athletes get treated better than whites, and you can quote me."
"The thing is, when a white guy gets hassled and quits the team, it's discipline," Van Rheen said. "When a black guy gets kicked off, it's prejudice. The St. Louis papers write all that stuff, about blacks not wanting to come here. How tough it is for them. I think the black guys we have get along fine."
"I think a coach has a harder time disciplining a black guy because he doesn't think a black will take it," Kennedy said. "The white guys are used to discipline, so they can't get away with anything. They get disciplined and they stick around. The coaches aren't sure a black guy won't say, 'The hell with you, I'm leaving.' Little things get by—showing up late for meetings, facial hair. If I grew a mustache Stewart would cut it off the next day."
They crossed the street and ducked into Lewis and Clark Hall, where scholarship athletes at Missouri have a private cafeteria. The cafeteria dispenses high-quality food, well prepared, no limit to a customer. The athletes are allowed three meals a day there, two on Sunday. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are steak days. After a lunch of soup, veal sandwiches, green beans, Lyonnaise potatoes and ice cream from a custard machine at the end of the service line, Kennedy and Van Rheen split for their afternoon classes. Kennedy toyed with the idea of happening by the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority to see if his pompon girl might be out getting some sun, but thought better of it. "I'm in enough trouble already," he said.
At the modern Middlebush classroom building, Kennedy descended a half flight of stairs onto a crowded landing and made his way through a bank of doors into a lecture hall for his class in corporate financing. The auditorium, with seats for over 500, sloped to a stage. Twin rows of television sets hung from the ceiling. Kennedy took a place near the back of the class, on the right. Students piled in, shucking coats and rattling newspapers, half-filling the hall. A boy in a " Florida" sweat shirt passed Kennedy a copy of the Campus Digest and said something, but class began before Kennedy could open the paper.
The professor, a man in his 30s, wore a brown dress shirt, brown pants held smartly in check by a big-buckled belt and a tie that from a distance appeared to be Tiger gold and black. "Always wears the same outfit," Kennedy said. The instructor clipped a microphone to his neck and began to go over a test the students had taken. His voice came over the loudspeaker in a fiat metallic tenor, as if issuing from an old-fashioned wind-up Victrola.
"The grade cutoffs are 21, 18, 15 and 12," he said. "Below 12 and you're in serious trouble."
The instructor paced the stage, declaiming "biased estimates" and "unbiased estimates." His content was to the point, but his delivery numbing. A glaze fell over the audience. Some returned to the newspapers, a few dozed. Two walked out. Kennedy took notes steadily. "The only class I take notes in," he said. "The rest I can pretty much get by reading the text. But, geez, I wish he'd crack a joke now and then."
When the class was over, the boy in the " Florida" shirt asked Kennedy if he'd read the Digest. "If you haven't, read the personals column," he said.