DOING ZIP AT OKLAHOMA
It turns out that before taking a powder altogether last week, Oklahoma Running Back Marcus Dupree had done "Zip, nothing" in the classroom this year, as the Sooners' academic adviser put it (page 50). Dupree had, in fact, skipped virtually all of his classes. However, it was only after he failed to show up for football practice that Coach Barry Switzer saw fit to suspend him from the team. Switzer, of course, is more responsible for what happens on the gridiron than in the classroom, but it seems to us that if the University of Oklahoma had its priorities straight, Switzer would have already suspended this student-athlete for having done zip in his classes.
STYLE, SUBSTANCE AND CHANGE
President Reagan's selection of National Security Adviser William P. Clark to be Secretary of the Interior is as worrisome as it is surprising. Clark has no obvious qualifications for the position, and his record during the eight years he served on the California Supreme Court, to which he was appointed by Reagan in 1973 when the latter was that state's governor, had a strong anti-environmental tinge. A number of cases involving environmental issues came before the court during that period, and in virtually every one of them Clark took a position in favor of development and against environmental controls; in most of those cases, he dissented from the majority.
Considering Clark's lack of credentials to head Interior, will he be any improvement over James Watt, who was forced out of the job? In his Oct. 9 resignation letter to the President, Watt said he was leaving behind the "people and programs" that would carry on his policies. He may well be right. When William Ruckelshaus succeeded Anne Burford as head of the Environmental Protection Agency last May, he inherited an agency whose hierarchy had been all but wiped out by firings and resignations. Ruckelshaus also faced—and still faces—a lot of tough decisions in such areas as acid rain and toxic substances. Assuming that Clark's nomination as Interior Secretary is confirmed, he will have few new issues to deal with right away. The Interior Department's budget has passed Congress, and Watt's coal-leasing program, a subject of recent controversy, is now on hold until next spring. Because of his own lack of expertise, Clark will be tempted to rely heavily on the loyal Watt aides who remain on the job. Clark could thus differ from Watt less in substance than in style; generally considered to be a more conciliatory figure than Watt, he's likely to try to avoid the controversies and confrontations that marred his predecessor's stay in office.
None of this is to downplay the importance of style, though. If Clark were to do no more than sit down with environmentalists now and then, it would be a welcome departure from Watt's approach, which was to bait them at every turn. And since hope springs eternal, it's possible to wish for changes that go beyond the merely symbolic. Despite his lack of specific qualifications for the Interior job, Clark is a confidant of the President and one of Washington's most powerful figures, and he ought to be able to read the political realities of the office. One of those realities is that a majority of Americans found Watt's anti-environmental policies wholly objectionable. As Interior Secretary, Clark would be doing himself, the President and the country a favor by reversing those policies.
Exactly nine months after both Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of the Korean War, the national birthrate increased dramatically. Nine months after the New York City blackout of 1965, there was a great upsurge of births in that metropolis. Could there have been a similar increase in births associated with last year's NFL strike, also a stressful time in American life? Officials at Tucson Medical Center, that city's biggest maternity hospital, think so. The NFL strike lasted from Sept. 20 to Nov. 16, and the number of births at the Tucson facility nine months later—covering the period from June 20 to Aug. 16—was at least 200 greater than the total over the same span in 1982, itself a record year for births at the hospital. Tucson obstetricians are referring to the infants born during those eight weeks as "football babies."
But Tucson appears to be an anomaly. A random check of obstetrical records for the June 20 to Aug. 16 period in 1983 shows no significant increase in births over the same dates a year earlier at hospitals in Seattle, Portland and New Orleans, and a decline in both Atlanta and Butte, Mont. Although the birthrate was up at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, it was down across the river at St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center. It was also lower at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Flatly rejecting the suggestion of the Tucson doctors that the absence of NFL football may have heightened mating instincts, a spokesman at Miami Valley suggested that, on the contrary, people may have been too "frustrated" by the strike to be much interested in fertility rites.
A SPREADING CLASS SYSTEM
The trend in high school basketball over the years has been toward the alignment of state tournaments into classes according to student-body size. The latest state to organize its tournament into classes is Alaska, which this season will crown champions for the first time in Classes 4A (401 students and more), 3A (101-400) and 2A and 1A (smaller schools, to be divided on the basis of both size and geography). Now that the least populous state has adopted classes, the only states that still hold class-free tournaments are those two neighboring basketball hotbeds, Indiana and Kentucky.