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The embarrassments keep mounting for North Carolina State and its 6'11" freshman basketball star, Chris Washburn. On Feb. 4 Washburn pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges in the theft of an $800 stereo from another student's dorm room and received a six-year suspended sentence. Last week, court documents revealed that Washburn, who was dropped from the Wolfpack team after his arrest on Dec. 21, was admitted to N.C. State despite a combined score of 470 on his Scholastic Aptitude Test. That's only 70 points above the lowest possible SAT score and far below the 1,030 average—out of a 1,600 maximum—of this year's freshman class at State. Washburn got a 270 on the mathematics portion of the test and a rock-bottom 200 on the verbal portion.
Test scores—either SAT or the similar ACT—are used by most schools as one of several criteria for admissions decisions. According to the Comparative Guide to American Colleges, the average freshman SAT combined score—to take some random examples—is 1,192 at Virginia, 1,067 at Colorado and 983 at Pepper-dine. It's 910 at Idaho and 830 at Delaware's Goldey Beacom College. Towson State in Baltimore and La Roche College in Pittsburgh set minimum SAT scores of 800 for admission, while Mississippi puts its minimums at 680 for in-state students and 870 for out-of-staters.
North Carolina State does not have a minimum SAT requirement. Ironically, for many years the ACC, N.C. State's conference, maintained stricter admission standards than those dictated by NCAA rules, requiring first a 750 and then an 800 minimum SAT score for scholarship athletes. But the ACC was sued by athletes who maintained that the conference rule was unconstitutional, and in 1972 member schools rescinded the measure.
N.C. State officials hasten to point out that Washburn passed all four of his courses during the fall semester: composition and rhetoric, history of American sport, sociology of the family and public speaking. But one would have to be exceedingly naive to imagine that the school admitted him because it saw in him some hidden glimmer of academic promise rather than because of his basketball skills. Of course, N.C. State isn't alone in bending its standards to admit star athletes. Before Washburn decided to attend that school, Maryland and Virginia Tech appeared ready to admit him as well. In fact, Washburn was recruited, through visits, phone calls and a flood of impassioned letters (SI, Nov. 26, 1984), by no fewer than 150 of this nation's institutions of higher learning.
SING A SONG OF PAR
While playing in the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am (SI, Feb. 11), singer Vic Damone sliced a fairway wood on the 15th hole at Pebble Beach that sent the gallery scattering. Bob McLain, a sports-caster on WSB-TV in Atlanta, showed a tape of Damone's unfortunate shot and bestowed on the crooner in absentia the station's Smelly Sweat Sock Award. The next day, McLain received a phone call from Damone, who had heard about the not-so-coveted award from a friend in Atlanta. "You forgot to mention that I wound up parring the hole," Damone complained.
McLain broadcast a follow-up telephone interview with the caller—but only after satisfying himself that it really was Damone. First he asked the man to sing something; Damone obliged with a few melodic bars of Moon River. Then McLain was given the phone number of a hotel in Pebble Beach. He hung up, called the number, was put through to Damone's room—and found himself talking to the same man. More important, the caller sounded like the dedicated 14 handicapper that Damone is known to be. "I'm kind of sensitive about my golf," the man told McLain. "If you'd said something bad about my singing, I wouldn't have minded."
For his tireless efforts to put together a package of stadium improvements and economic concessions to keep the financially beleaguered Eagles from bolting to Phoenix, Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode has received many bouquets from grateful citizens. But he has also caught a few barbs for the costliness of the package, which includes, just for starters, 1) construction of 25 sky boxes in Veterans Stadium in each of the next two seasons at a cost of $5 million, 2) deferral for 10 years of the team's reported $850,000 a year rent and 3) construction of a new practice field. All of which prompted this dig at Goode by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Clark DeLeon: