A DECISION ON URINALYSIS
Angel Cordero Jr. and Bill Shoemaker are two of the winningest jockeys in history, but last week they came up losers. In the first federal court test of a rule requiring urinalysis for athletes, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Brotman issued a preliminary decision upholding the New Jersey Racing Commission's rule requiring jockeys to submit to random urine sampling and breathalyzer tests. When the spot checks began in April, Shoemaker, Cordero and other riders brought suit, arguing that the procedures are demeaning and an invasion of privacy. Brotman wasn't swayed. Unless he reconsiders after a full hearing in June, Garden State jockeys can anticipate being handed a jar after they dismount. Ballplayers and other athletes should take note that at least one federal judge believes random drug testing is constitutional.
SPRING HOPES ETERNAL
David Dixon, the New Orleans art dealer and sports entrepreneur—he's the mind behind the USFL and World Championship Tennis—lectured at the Harvard Business School the other day on populist football. Dixon proposed a January-to-June, fan-owned league that he would call America's Football Teams, Inc. He would form one big corporation with 12 subsidiary teams in major football markets.
"If you think Harvard students get worked up against Yale," Dixon said, "try out a stadium with 60,000 owners! We'll have to build moats around the fields." He envisions every ticket as a kind of stock certificate that would eventually give each owner a vote in the election of his team's board of directors, and maybe the selection of the coach, quarterback and the next play on third-and-seven. "Everyone will want a piece of the rock," Dixon went on. "Every little kid in town will have to own a share of stock. Every big kid." Players would be paid from a percentage of gate receipts.
"There you have it," concluded Dixon, "an incredibly simple, painless system of stock distribution; every club solidly in the black, always; fast-paced, action-packed 2�-hour games; local drawing-card players; top coaches...Why, that could be the best football league in history!" But when a franchise slips out of town in the middle of the night, half the city will go with it.
THE TRAVELS OF MARCO BALDI
Basketball recruiting is ruthless in the U.S., but in Italy it's downright feudal. Marco Baldi, a 6'11", 240-pound high school All-America at Long Island Lutheran, returned home two weeks ago to play for his club team, Simac of Milan, in the Italian junior championships. Baldi, a senior at Lutheran, saw Maryland assistant coach Ron Bradley on the same plane. He bumped into Lou Carnesecca, the St. John's coach, at JFK Airport. When he played in the tournament, USC assistant coach Dave Spencer watched from the stands with Carnesecca.
Maybe the three Americans were looking for good buys in Italian sportswear, but they surely wanted an audience with the 18-year-old Baldi—fair game here and abroad. "It's international intrigue—cloak-and-dagger stuff," says Bob McKillop, Baldi's coach at Lutheran, where the senior averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds this season. "I might quit and write a mystery about this."
The real mystery is where this son of an Aosta, Italy, banker will attend college. The list has been whittled down to USC, Maryland and St. John's. He says he prefers St. John's, but the decision is not entirely his. Simac owns the rights to Baldi, and has told him to visit USC before he makes his decision. "If they say, 'Go to Southern Cal,' " says McKillop, "he's gotta go." Spencer, it turns out, once played for the Simac coach.
Italian teams practically sew up ballplayers at birth. Though Baldi is not a pro, if he ever wants to play professionally in Italy, he must follow Simac's orders. There's no such thing as a free agent on the Italian market.