In essence, S. 2727 would broaden the U.S. Olympic Committee's charter to enable it to serve as a central coordinating body for all the sports in the Olympic and Pan-American Games. This legislation would empower the American Arbitration Association to settle questions of athletes' rights and hassles between groups seeking recognition as national governing bodies in specific sports. The bill also contains a list of reforms that national governing bodies such as the AAU must make to retain membership in the USOC and includes a one-shot federal appropriation of $30 million. Of this, $18 million is to go to the sports governing bodies for development programs and $12 million to the USOC for Olympic training centers and a desperately needed sports-medicine program.
Passage is probable. The lobbying powers of the high school associations and the NCAA, which can be formidable—rest assured that your Congressmen return the calls of university presidents and athletic directors—will not be unleashed against S. 2727 so long as a number of promises are kept.
As the bill took shape in committee, the NCAA opposed it. One NCAA attorney repeatedly told Senator Ted Stevens (R., Alaska) that he would suggest improvements but even if they were incorporated, the NCAA would still fight the bill. "Our members will countenance no more federal intervention," said NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. The touchiest issue was athletes' rights. The NCAA feared disruption of its programs if athletes were free to wander off to China the week of the NCAA finals. For their part, athletes insisted that a guarantee in law was necessary to correct a continuing train of abuses and to make it clear to unreconstructed officials ( Byers being one) that athletes must not be pawns in jurisdictional squabbles.
After a series of strained meetings, the athletes' representatives agreed to deletion of that section of the bill defining athletes' rights, and the NCAA agreed to rejoin the USOC (it had left in a huff in 1972) and thus become subject to USOC constitutional provisions for athletes' rights (even these had to be watered down to suit the NCAA). That done, the NCAA announced it will not oppose the bill.
Now the sponsors—Senators Stevens, Richard Stone (D., Fla.), Jim Pearson (R., Kan.), John Culver (D., Iowa) and Howard Cannon (D., Nev.) and Representatives Norm Mineta (D., Calif.), Jack Kemp (R., N.Y.), Robert Michel (R., Ill.) and Ralph Metcalfe (D., Ill.)—must guide this delicately balanced plan through a Congress that is always ready to tack on leaden amendments. "I know the American people are behind a strong amateur sports program," said Senator Stone last week on his way to a White House meeting. "I hope now to convince the Administration, which has been neutral, that this is the best possible start." If Stone wins President Carter's support, passage will be virtually assured. Then, from all those who have gone before, such as John Kennedy, Douglas MacArthur, Kheel, Archibald Cox and Gerald Ford, we will surely hear a faint and weary but gratified cheer.
At the Brooklyn Park, Md. library you can take out a tennis racket or a game of Monopoly, shoot pool, play Ping-Pong in the basement or even fly one of the library's kites. You can also borrow books.
Edward B. Hall, administrator of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County public library system, is partly responsible for these innovations, which were instituted to cope with the hordes of kids swarming into the reading room on hot days in search of air conditioning, not books. Hall must be doing something right. His system is fourth in the nation in per-capita circulation. Books, not air.
China's national basketball team unveiled a secret weapon in a recent game in Tokyo against a Japanese all-star team, a 7'9�" player named Mu Tieh-Chu. Mu is no Dr. J when it comes to moves and, in fact, he doesn't run or jump well, but as the Japanese coach, Teiji Hatanaka, pointed out, he "was more effective than we thought he'd be." Mu played only half the game but scored 21 points in an 88-84 victory for China.