Specter defends the NFL's hands-off-underclassmen rule that his bill would protect by saying, "The absence of any successful legal challenge to the existing rule is significant evidence of its value." But that statement is as inaccurate as it is illogical. Even if the NFL rule were perfectly legal, that wouldn't necessarily mean it was desirable. And, in fact, there are serious questions about its legality. College players have threatened to go to court to overturn it on antitrust grounds, as Haywood did with the NBA's similar rule, but most of them have been scared off by the prospect of having to sit out one or more seasons while legal proceedings dragged on. One who wasn't scared off was Notre Dame Running Back Al Hunter, who was suspended from school for disciplinary reasons in 1977 and threatened to sue if he wasn't allowed to play in the NFL in what would have been his senior year. The NFL backed down, and Hunter played that year for the Seattle Sea-hawks. So much for the NFL's cries of foul when the USFL made a similar exception in Walker's case.
And so much for Specter's argument about the supposed unassailibility of the NFL rule. The NFL itself has conceded that the rule may be vulnerable to a challenge under antitrust law, and Specter obviously is haunted by the same possibility. Otherwise, why did he feel the need to introduce his bill? One possible explanation for so ill-conceived a piece of legislation, of course, is that he hopes to be dragged into the limelight hanging on to No. 34's jersey.
A FONDNESS FOR THE FINAL FOUR
There's one big-time basketball school that has made the Final Four of postseason college hoops tournaments in each of the past four years, and it isn't North Carolina, UCLA, Virginia or any of the other institutions that immediately leap to mind. The school is Purdue, which at. times during that four-year span might have been considered no better than fourth in Indiana, behind Indiana, Notre Dame and, at least when Larry Bird was there, Indiana State.
In postseason play, though, the Boilermakers are tough. They were 27-8 and runner-up in the NIT tournament in 1978-79, 23-10 and third in the NCAA tourney in '79-80, 21-11 and third in the NIT in '80-81 and 18-14 and runner-up in the NIT last season. As of last weekend, the Boilermakers had an 18-8 record, were in a four-way tie for third in the Big Ten and figured to be invited to either the NCAA or NIT tournament, where, given their past postseason successes, it would be best not to write them off too soon.