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One wonders, though, why the NCAA can't simply decide on a case-by-case basis whether something sinister is going on. As Leo Latz, the tournament director, points out, Notre Dame's just-for-fun event promoted the kind of fraternization between athletes and ordinary students that the NCAA has always professed to believe in. Latz also charges that by forcing varsity players out of a school activity open to other students, the NCAA is guilty of discriminating against them.
SEAGULLS IN THE DESERT
Las Vegas, which is smack in the middle of the desert 250 miles from the nearest ocean, has an American Soccer League franchise called—no joke—the Seagulls. Owner Victor Mevo explains the curious nickname in a little essay in the team program. It seems that Mevo, an airline marketing man, lives in Elmont, N.Y., a suburban town on Long Island. When he founded a semipro soccer team there in 1971 and was in need of a name, he thought of his many pleasant hours spent fishing on Long Island Sound. He writes, "I couldn't help but admire the majestic white-gray creatures as they soared overhead, then swooped down into the cool waters of the Sound searching out their prey." The birds Mevo fondly recalls were evidently herring gulls, which are primarily scavengers but occasionally dive for fish. At any rate, Mevo called his team the Long Island Seagulls and kept the name when he moved the club to Las Vegas this season.
Given all this, Mevo naturally was pleased when gulls alighted recently in Las Vegas' Silver Bowl Stadium, the team's home field. Ornithologists say they probably were California gulls, which often winter in Nevada. But Mevo prefers to think of the birds' advent as something more out of the ordinary. "There must have been a storm on the West Coast," he says. "Maybe they thought the field was a lake."
Or maybe they were attracted by the club's mascot—a costumed seagull with a six-foot wingspan named Siggy.
When the AAU International Track and Field Subcommittee met in New York Feb. 25 to select a site for the 1980 Olympic Trials, it had two eager bidders to choose from. One was Eugene, Ore., which had done an able job in staging the '72 and '76 Trials. The other was the track hotbed of Durham, N.C., whose representatives argued that if U.S. track was to be truly national in scope, the Trials ought to be held somewhere else for a change. By a vote of 15-14, the committee awarded the '80 Trials to Eugene.
Now it appears that the issue is still unresolved. Durham officials protested the vote, detailing such oversights as a failure to circulate copies of Durham's bid to all subcommittee members. The Durham contingent also blamed poor scheduling for the fact that nearly half of the 57 eligible voters had missed the meeting. The AAU Board of Athletics upheld the protest and the track subcommittee will reconvene at an undetermined location, probably in early June, to decide whether the irregularities justify another vote.
One of the Durham leaders is Duke Track Coach Al Buehler, who says, "We're not accusing anybody of dirty politics. It's just that we don't consider it a good example of the democratic process when only 29 of 57 vote on an issue." If the subcommittee decides to reopen the matter, its members will again have to wrestle with such questions as whether Durham's greater humidity (SCORECARD, Feb. 19) is more irksome to distance runners than Eugene's higher pollen count. Significantly, Durham's boosters have advanced no new substantive arguments in their favor and Dick Hollander, the Richmond, Va. lawyer who is chairman of the AAU subcommittee, says, "I've gone over the irregularities and I honestly can't see what difference they make."