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SCORECARD
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
October 03, 1983
THE PROPER WAY TO MIX SPORTS AND POLITICS IN '84
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October 03, 1983

Scorecard

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After winning three Division II national hockey titles in five years and going 5-1 last season against Division I competition, the University of Lowell (Mass.) could no longer be ignored by the big guys. Or so it seemed in January when the Chiefs got the go-ahead to move into Division I starting with the 1983-84 season. The idea was that after one year as an independent, Lowell would become the 18th Division I hockey team in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Imagine Lowell's surprise when the ECAC promptly arranged to break into two separate conferences, neither of which wants any part of the Chiefs.

Nine of the ECAC's Division I schools—six Ivy League schools plus Vermont, RPI and Colgate—decided to split off and form a conference that will debut in the 1984-85 season. The ECAC's eight other Division I hockey-playing teams—Boston University, Boston College, Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Providence, Northeastern, New Hampshire and Maine—joined forces to establish what was immediately called the Super Eight, which also will begin play in 1984-85. With 17 of the 18 ECAC Division I schools thus aligned in new conference groupings, BU Athletic Director John Simpson says blithely, "It would appear right now that Lowell doesn't have a place."

The ostracism of Lowell means that the Chiefs will have to scratch for games with Division I teams—probably mostly road games at that—and will have to play more Division II opponents than it would like. "It stinks," Lowell Coach Billy Riley says of the situation. "They [the Super Eight] are afraid that if Lowell is accepted in the league and wins, it will attract a lot of the prize recruits. They're afraid Lowell could become the Minnesota of the East."

Nonsense, says Simpson. He claims he and his Super Eight confreres simply decided that eight teams were more manageable than nine. "Maybe Lowell ought to apply to the other league," he says. But there really is no other league for the Chiefs. Lowell's high-powered hockey program reflects a philosophy the Ivies reject. Lowell recruits heavily, the Ivies don't; the Ivies hold their schedules to 26 games, Lowell plays more than 30 games. The Chiefs' program is more in line with that of the Super Eight members. "They know what's going on," says Riley. "They know where we belong." Last season, in fact, Lowell beat New Hampshire (twice, in exhibitions), BC (10-0 in an exhibition) and Providence (then ranked No. 2 in the country).

With no league to play in, Lowell will find it difficult to experience such glory again. The circumstances would seem to justify a Super Nine, but Simpson remains unmoved. "Compassion has nothing to do with this," he says.

SCRIPTURAL FOOTNOTE

As an ordained Baptist minister, Seattle Seahawk Tight End Charle Young is well acquainted with the Biblical passage about the necessity of turning the other cheek. So onlookers found it slightly surprising when, in the Seahawks' 34-31 victory over San Diego on Sept. 18, Young kicked Charger Linebacker Linden King during a fracas that resulted in both players being penalized for personal fouls.

Young's explanation: "In Ecclesiastes III, it says there is a time for everything. There's a time for war, there's a time for peace. There's a time not to fight and there's a time to fight, and that was definitely a time to fight. First of all, he slugged me. And I said, 'That's O.K., I'll let that go.' Then he kicked me, and I was going to let him get away with that. Then he gouged me in the eye. Then he kicked me again, and enough was enough."

Amen.

COACH ON THE RUN

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