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Alan (The Horse) Ameche, who broke school rushing records at Wisconsin and won the Heisman Trophy in 1954 before going on to a starry pro career with the Colts, may now own this record: shortest career as an agent representing pro football rookies. He lasted five months on the job. Of his short tenure as an agent, Ameche told SI's Bailey Breene, "It's a crummy business, and I was foolish to get involved in it. The guy giving the wholesome side hasn't got a chance. I was rather naive. Friends warned me there was no room for an honest person."
By rights, Ameche, a big football name and successful businessman—he was a cofounder of the Gino's fast-food restaurant chain—should have made it as an agent. But he says he failed because he tried to abide by NCAA rules prohibiting athletes from signing with agents before their college eligibility is completed: "The wheeler-dealers slip and slide. They give kids spending money and cars. They take chances, but they get the kids."
Speaking more in sorrow than anger, Ameche says that his old school is a perfect example. "They had seven pro prospects [last year] on the team. I never got to interview with any of them. Those guys were already signed up." Ameche says of his exit from the agent business. "I got out because I think it's terrible. I was bruised and battered." Not to mention frustrated, disappointed and disillusioned.
The selection of the University of Arizona, Sunday, to an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament came as sweet solace to coach Lute Olson. A fortnight ago, with the Wildcats battling for the Pac-10 title, and an automatic spot in the tourney, two of Olson's starters, all-conference center Pete Williams and forward Morgan Taylor, violated a curfew after a road game against Washington. Olson punished Williams by keeping him on the bench for more than 12 minutes of the first half of the next game, against UCLA, and didn't play Taylor until the second half. Their replacements scored a combined two points and UCLA won 58-54, dashing U of A's title hopes.
Olson defended his sparing use of Williams and Taylor as necessary disciplinary measures. "When there is a violation, there has to be a penalty, and often others wind up paying a price as well." he said. And Williams said of the critical loss to UCLA, "If I hadn't made a stupid mistake, none of this would have happened." College sport is supposed to be a learning experience, and in this case, anyway, it appears it was.
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THE FINAL WORD