SI Vault
Edited by Franz Lidz
June 10, 1985
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June 10, 1985


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"The engineers apparently didn't know there were standards for competition pools," says Joseph Coplan, a local swimming activist. "And the city's parks department didn't inform them." Coplan has waded into the city's bureaucracy and hopes to have work halted on the two sites that have not yet suffered the same "improvements." One is the Astoria Pool in Queens, the site of the U.S. Olympic trials in 1936 and 1964.

To date, more than $20 million has been pumped into facilities at High-bridge, Sunset Park and Crotona. City Comptroller Harrison Goldin, who monitors such projects, has recommended that the remaining pools be restored to their original dimensions. This can be done, says Goldin, without plunging too deeply into the municipal treasury.

The San Antonio Gunslingers have a 3-12 record, tied for last in the USFL. They're ranked next to last in rushing and dead last in total offense. A travel agency, a hotel and two other parties have filed lawsuits against them seeking payment of nearly a quarter of a million dollars. The IRS hit the Gunslingers with a claim for $404,673, and the team may owe another $150,000 in back county and school-district taxes. Players grumble about overdue and bouncing paychecks. Coach Jim Bates has resigned. And now the team has banished a San Antonio Express-News sportswriter from the stadium press box and dressing rooms for, among other things, too much "negative reporting."


When Bernie Kosar comes to terms with the Cleveland Browns, it won't be the first time that someone put a price tag on the former University of Miami quarterback. Two months ago American Sports Underwriters insured him for about $2 million.

The 3-year-old Boston company specializes in disability coverage for athletes. It insures most major league baseball teams, half the NBA and, increasingly, college stars who want to stay in school without risking potential pro earnings. In January the NCAA made it legal for collegians to borrow money to pay the annual premiums of between $8,000 and $10,000.

This year about three-dozen college athletes took out one-year policies with the firm. Fifteen or 20 others paid as little as $250 for one-day policies insuring them against injury in all-star games or pro camps.

But the protection provided by the policies is generally quite limited. "These policies only insure against total disability," says one NCAA official. "If an All-America fullback blows out a knee and drops from a first-round pick to eighth, his value has dropped, but the policy wouldn't pay off."

He's right. Which may help explain why American Sports Underwriters has never had a collegian make a claim.


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