A lot of the rumors about the basketball program at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas have turned out to be true. Citing numerous alleged violations, the NCAA last week placed Las Vegas on probation for two years and limited the number of basketball scholarships to six, three a year. (A school in good standing is allowed a total of 15 players on scholarship.) The NCAA has directed Las Vegas to "take appropriate disciplinary and corrective actions against individuals directly involved in the case, including a former head basketball coach, a former assistant basketball coach, the present head basketball coach and eight representatives of the university's athletic interests."
The NCAA names no names, but the present head coach is Jerry Tarkanian. who has had the job since 1973, while the past head coach is John Bayer, now director of physical education at Las Vegas. The report says that the unnamed Bayer arranged for prospective student athletes to get correct answers to questions on entrance exams and for an assistant to help them memorize the answers and, neat twist, told them what questions to answer incorrectly so their scores would not be suspiciously high.
The report notes Bayer and Tarkanian arranged for illegal payments of airplane fares so prospects could visit the school, and between 1971 and 1973 Bayer made illegal cash payments to players and provided free apartments. In 1973-74 Tarkanian set up a deal for a player to get a grade in a course without attending it or doing any work. Furthermore, Tarkanian "arranged for other individuals to contact at least two principals involved in the case in an effort to discourage them from reporting information related to violations." Tarkanian also sought "to cause them to give untruthful information to the university."
The NCAA wants to know exactly what Las Vegas is going to do to discipline its miscreants, and should this not be sufficient, the NCAA stands ready to impose additional penalties.
Highway 40, a twisting old road that used to be the main route between Reno and San Francisco, has been replaced by Interstate 80, a four-lane divided highway that roughly parallels the old road. But Highway 40 has not been entirely abandoned. Some local traffic still uses it, and one three-mile stretch, a treacherous, twisting hill high in the Sierra Nevada, has become a favorite playground of skateboarders. High school ski teams ride boards down the grade in summer to keep in competitive trim, and skateboard fanatics from all over the West gather, even at night, when the moon is shining, to try the hill.
The California Highway Patrol frets because the road is dangerous. The old highway has some tight hairpin turns, many of them dead-blind, and the road skirts the edges of one cliff after another. Most skateboarders control their speed, taking as long as an hour to make the three-mile run. Hotboarders, on the other hand, zing down the hill in 25 minutes. Recently a Highway Patrol car narrowly missed a skater, and a month or so ago a trucker swerved off the road to avoid a youngster on a board. The driver jumped to safety, the truck was totaled and the skateboarder rolled on.
There is no law under which the Highway Patrol can crack down on reckless skateboarding on the open highway. The only available penalty is a $5 fine for "pedestrian out of crosswalk."