IN YOUR FACE
For 7-year-old Ashley Whippet, last year's defeat in the world K-9 Frisbee Catch & Fetch championships contained an ample ration of humiliation. As the Rin Tin Tin of the art of catching a thrown Frisbee, Ashley Whippet had appeared on the Tonight Show, had taught Amy Carter's dog Grits a few tricks on the White House lawn and had reigned as world champion since 1974. But then, competing before 50,000 people at the world Frisbee championships in the Rose Bowl, Ashley Whippet was upset by a 2-year-old mixed breed named Dink.
The object of the competition is for a dog to catch and return a thrown Frisbee as many times as possible in two minutes. The Frisbee must be tossed at least 15 yards and the dog scores a point if any of its paws are off the ground, an extra point if all four are. Much depends on the accuracy of the toss, and Ashley Whippet's owner, Alex Stein of Sierra Madre, Calif., takes the blame for last year's defeat. "I wasn't throwing so well that day," he says.
But Ashley Whippet may have his paws full with Dink when the 1979 world championships get under way this week in Pasadena. Dink was found as a pup in a dog shelter by owners Jim and Cathy Strickler of Severna Park, Md., and he quickly became adept at Frisbee, thanks to a no-nonsense training technique. As Cathy Strickler describes it, "We threw the Frisbee at his face. He had to catch it or be knocked out."
SPREADING IT AROUND
The NCAA basketball tournament was expanded last week for the fourth time since 1974—to 48 teams. Wayne Duke, chairman of the NCAA basketball committee and commissioner of the Big Ten, said that one objective of the expansion, which takes effect next season, was "to spread income from the tournament over more institutions." That income is considerable. Schools playing in last season's tournament received $39,183.90 per game plus expenses, and the NCAA will have even more money to hand out next season, thanks to a new two-year TV contract with NBC that will bring in $18.5 million, nearly twice as much as the old one provided.
In addition to increasing the size of its postseason tournament—roughly one-fifth of the 257 schools in Division I basketball now will make it into the field—the NCAA also rescinded its rule limiting conferences to two representatives in the tournament. That rule, which was in effect only one year, proved especially unpopular in the perennially powerful ACC and the resurgent Big Ten, whose race ended last season in a tie among three schools, one of which, Purdue, was left out of the NCAAs.
The NCAA's action will hurt the rival NIT tournament, which is made up largely of NCAA leftovers. What makes Pete Carlesimo, president of the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association, the NIT's sponsor, even unhappier is an NCAA rule forbidding schools that receive NCAA tournament bids from playing in the NIT. "Because of the money [NIT participants received about $13,000 per game last season], not many teams would pick our tournament over theirs," Carlesimo says. "But at least give them the right." He added that the NIT might bring an antitrust suit challenging the NCAA rule.
IN CONTEMPLATION OF ALI
A course dealing entirely with Muhammad Ali will be offered this fall at Manhattan's New School for Social Research. The non-credit course, the title of which, "A Tribute to a Champion," seems more appropriate for a testimonial dinner, will consist of seven 90-minute sessions and feature appearances by Joe Frazier and Norman Mailer as well as a screening of the movie The Greatest. The fee is $60, and Gabriel Grayson, the instructor, is hoping that the spirit of academic inquiry will be such as to fill the New School's 500-seat auditorium.