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The proposal would also, in effect, reserve a larger share of basketball TV revenues and NCAA tournament berths for the biggest conferences, which already receive an overwhelming proportion of each. As hard as it may be to believe, some members of leagues like the Big Ten and ACC actually find it unfair when their fourth-or fifth-place finisher doesn't get into the NCAAs because a spot must be reserved for the champion of a lesser conference.
Proposal 71 also overlooks the special role that basketball, a sport requiring few players and a relatively small budget, can fill at some colleges. For example, Marquette, which dropped football and put all its eggs in one basket, so to speak, won the 1977 NCAA championship. Indiana State was an obscure college until Larry Bird almost led it to the NCAA title in 1979. "One of the things the major schools don't understand," says Bucky Wagner, the athletic director at Georgia Southern, "is that we have a dream. If you look at the NCAA tournament, the small schools almost never play in the championship game. They never advance much past the first round. But you're giving us a dream. Maybe we can go to the Final Four. Maybe we can be a Cinderella. That's what all of our programs are built on."
NOW PITCHING: LEFTY ARACHNID
The great Dizzy Dean, who won 30 games in 1934, is in baseball's Hall of Fame, which should be proof enough that he was an extraordinary pitcher. Just in case it isn't, here's one more tidbit to show that Ol' Diz was something special: He's the only pitcher in all the long history of the major leagues to have a spider named after him.
The little creature is called Mastophora dizzydeani, and it was awarded that label because of its ability to hurl things with remarkable effectiveness. What it throws are globules of liquid—Dean himself never had to resort to the wet one—but, unlike Diz, it doesn't try to fog its deliveries past opposing batters, otherwise known as moths. Instead, Mastophora beans its opponent, another practice Dean rarely resorted to, with the sticky glob at the end of a silk line, reels in the moth for dinner and chalks up one more in the win column.
You don't get stuff like this in The Baseball Encyclopedia.
Although it's widely known that most college conferences have an arrangement whereby all members get a cut from revenue earned at a football bowl game in which any conference member plays, the extent to which league schools benefit—especially in this age of proliferating bowls—is rarely publicized.
To that end, Jerry Izenberg of Newark's Star-Ledger recently did an accounting of the bowl income that will accrue this season to Kentucky, which had a record of 0-10-1. Of the 10 teams in the SEC, of which Kentucky is a member, seven went to bowls: Georgia (Sugar), LSU (Orange), Florida (Bluebonnet), Tennessee (Peach), Vanderbilt (Hall of Fame), Alabama (Liberty) and Auburn (Tangerine). Each of these teams gets to keep a good chunk of the money it earns from its bowl appearance (usually 30%, although the figure varies for the less lucrative bowls), the conference gets a somewhat smaller cut and the remainder is split evenly among the other nine schools—including those that played in other bowls and those that didn't play in any, like Kentucky.
Under this arrangement the Wildcats will earn an estimated $230,000, despite their winless record. That's nice work if you can't get it.