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Finding him a nickname was a lot easier than finding him a football uniform. Freshman Vernon Broadnax is believed to be the largest player in college football. Only 18, he stands 6'6" and weighs 410 pounds, drip dry.
To accommodate Mt. Vernon's 56" waist, the Murray State (Ky.) trainer had to cut up two pairs of shorts, then sew them back together as one so that Broadnax would have something to wear in practice. His shoulder pads, helmet, pants and size-16 shoes all had to be specially ordered—not once, but twice—because Mt. Vernon, who is Murray State's starting right offensive tackle, grew over the summer. When Murray State signed Broadnax to his football scholarship, he weighed 360 pounds and was immediately put on a diet. "I didn't stick to it," Mt. Vernon said, and over the summer he put on 50 more pounds.
His coach, Mike Gottfried, says, "The first day he came in here, I told our trainer, I want his weight down right away.' We assigned a student manager to go to his room every night to make sure he ate nothing. The only way we could weigh him was to send him over in a van to shipping and receiving. He weighed 410 on the truck scales before we started practice. Ten days later, after two-a-day practices in 90� heat, we sent him back to shipping and receiving and he still weighed exactly 410."
Broadnax came in third in the Ohio high school wrestling championships as a senior at Xenia High, and he can bench press 325 pounds. When his specially made pants finally arrived they were "much, much too big," according to Broadnax—something his teammates have mentioned about Mt. Vernon himself during pileups. "Our offensive linemen are always concerned where he's going to fall," says his coach.
Nonetheless, nothing but greatness is anticipated for Mt. Vernon's career at Murray State. Says Gottfried, "He'll surely be one of the first guys in Murray history to get his uniform retired because there's not going to be anybody to wear it after he's gone, I'll guarantee you."
When the Sun Valley Ski Company announced this summer that it intended to hike the price of lift tickets for the fourth time in the last six years, a group of local skiers decided to fight. They called themselves the Skiflation Committee and collected about 2,200 names on a petition, which they presented to the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service owns a portion of the land—Mount Baldy—where the ski runs are, and it must approve all price increases. To date it has operated on the principle that ski areas are competitive and has let the Sun Valley Ski Company regulate itself. Skiflation, however, maintains that this has amounted to the sanctioning of price-fixing among Aspen, Vail and Sun Valley—all of which will charge $15 for a daily pass this season. Further, Skiflation has pointed out that while out-of-towners can choose which ski area to fly to, local residents are locked into Sun Valley, which they feel, for all practical purposes, has made the mountain a monopoly.
The Forest Service has responded by allowing some of the price hikes and blocking others. The end result is that the price of a daily lift ticket has been raised from $13 to $15 for a non-resident; from $6.50 to $8.50 for a resident paying a $100 fee; and from $525 to $550 for a season pass. A half-day ticket remains at $9—the price of a full-day ticket in 1973. All these prices are consistent with what is charged at most of the other major ski areas in the country, with the exception of the Salt Lake City area, where competition has kept daily lift tickets between Snowbird's $12 and Alta's $7.50, which is probably the best buy in the country. In the East, Stowe, as usual, is leading the way by charging $16 a day for the coming season, but as yet no Skiflation committees have surfaced to protest.
Earl Holding, the owner of Sun Valley, bristles at the very mention of Skiflation. He refuses to disclose his company's finances but claims that during the most recent 16-month period, its net profit after taxes was less than 1%, and it was all used for the $3 million worth of improvements on Mount Baldy. "The $8.50 we charge our local skiers is way below our cost," Holding says, "but they're the ones causing all the trouble. They say we're turning skiing into a rich man's sport. That's ludicrous. The price of a lift ticket is a bargain any way you look at it. If skiing is a rich man's sport, what is Disney World?"