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According to Bill Brubaker of the Miami News, top pro prospects among the nation's college football players have learned a new game, and it isn't played on Saturday afternoons in the fall. Take the case of Kentucky All-America Defensive End Art Still. Still admitted to Brubaker that before the 1977 college season began he agreed to be represented by New York agent Matt Snell, the former Jet fullback. Reason? He wanted some spending money, and Snell was willing to lend it to him, even though Still was violating NCAA rules.
Since then Still has dumped Snell, indicated he would sign with Los Angeles agent Mike Trope, borrowed money from Trope, dumped him and signed with another agent, Harold Daniels, from whom he says he has also borrowed money, although Daniels denies it.
"This is a commonplace occurrence," says Trope. "It just never surfaces in print."
For his part, Still shrugs it off. "Everybody will make mistakes and do something illegal," he says. "I was one of those people who made mistakes. I just found a better deal. Daniels and Mike Merkow [Daniels' associate] charge only 3%. My mom told me to keep my eyes open because there's always something better." Still says he will repay the loan from Snell.
But that doesn't satisfy Snell. "I've got news for him," Snell told Brubaker. "The pro teams don't want problems, and right now Art Still represents a problem. Let's say Miami drafts him, and all of his agents show up. Who do they deal with? I have the first contract the kid ever signed, so my contract will be enforced. I know one thing. Art Still is not going to make a fool out of me."
NOT OVER THE...
Probably no one except Frank Merriwell can match the sports career of Jesse Hill, now 71 and about to retire as commissioner of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. A five-sport athlete in high school, Hill went on to Southern Cal, where he set an IC4A broad-jump record, played fullback for Howard Jones before the biggest crowd of all time (123,000 in Chicago's Soldier Field in a 13-12 loss to Notre Dame in 1929) and was the top hitter on the baseball team. Upon graduating cum laude, he signed with the Hollywood Stars and hit the first pitch thrown to him for a home run. Sold to the Yankees, he played center field next to Babe Ruth during spring training in 1932, hit .305 for the Senators in 1936 and .272 for the Senators and Connie Mack's Athletics in 1937.
After eye troubles cut short his major league career, he coached football and track at Long Beach City College, served in the Navy and then won two NCAA titles as the Southern Cal track coach. Drafted as the football coach, he shifted Frank Gifford from defense to tailback and became the first Pac-8 coach to beat the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl, with a 7-0 win over Wisconsin in 1953. From 1957 to 1972, Hill served as USC athletic director, and upon leaving that job at 65 became the first full-time commissioner of the PCAA.
"Now that I'll have plenty of time on my hands," says Hill, "I think I'll start playing golf again."