THE RECRUITING GAME
The magazine Coach & Athlete recently surveyed major colleges to see which had done best in the annual football-recruiting sweepstakes. It found that No. 1 was UCLA, which signed no fewer than 10 high school All Americas, nine of them from beyond the borders of California.
Ordinarily, California high schools are loaded with prospects, but not this year. "We felt there was a lack of quality football players in southern California," says UCLA's head coach, Terry Donahue, "so we decided it was advisable for us to look out of state. We acquired information about kids who supposedly were good players. The list was huge—maybe 300 kids."
The Bruin coaches boiled the list down to an elite of about two dozen. "We cut the list a bit more when evaluation of transcripts differed from what we had been told," says Donahue. "Some kids weren't interested in UCLA, some had ties to other universities we felt could not be changed. We figured our first year of heavy out-of-state recruiting would be strictly an experiment. We wanted to get our name known around the country and hoped we'd get one or two. I can't believe we got nine!"
For UCLA it was the largest number of out-of-state recruits in many years. And to what does Donahue attribute his success? "We have a great academic program," he says. "We have an attractive campus. We had great exposure on television last season [four games] and we have kids who are great salesmen."
All of the above are important, no doubt. Yet when pressed, Donahue believes that a major role was played by the weather. "It was awful back east last winter," he says. "Whenever I went there I was greeted by 15� or 20� below zero. And every kid we brought out here found beach weather—75� or 80�. It was a beautiful winter in California. The kids were really impressed with the difference."
For the record, the other schools in Coach & Athlete's Top Ten recruiting institutions were: Oklahoma, Houston, Florida, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Washington, Colorado, Auburn and Michigan. As for the theory that California weather was all-important in UCLA's success, how come USC isn't in the Top Ten?
SHOTS IN THE DARK
U.S. District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell of Washington has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-examine its long-standing regulations that permit waterfowl hunters to begin shooting half an hour before sunrise. The order is a result of a suit filed by wildlife lovers who claim that pre-dawn shooting in marginal light results in the misidentification of species and, ultimately, in the killing of protected birds—or worse, of endangered species.
The judge ruled that the shooting hour regulations were arbitrary in that they did not show sufficient concern for the impact of hunting in relative darkness on protected species. He added that predawn shooting should not be prohibited simply because some protected species were being killed accidentally, "by inadvertent action of hunters or otherwise. But there must be evidence in the record that hunting hours under the new regulations are so fixed that such killing is kept to the minimum consistent with other obligations imposed on the Service by Congress."