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Last year, University of Iowa basketball coach Lute Olson bolted to the University of Arizona despite having six years to go on his contract. Iowa administrators meekly let Olson walk out (SCORECARD, April 11, 1983). Recently, Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry, who has eight years to go on his contract, did Olson one better. Fry, who blames his team's 14-6 loss to Florida in last December's Gator Bowl partly on snowy weather that severely limited practice, threatened to resign unless the school built the team an indoor practice facility. He said that if his demand wasn't met, he'd quit, and "they won't even have to buy out my contract."
Did you catch that? Fry wasn't just asserting the right to be released from his contract, a la Olson. He was implying that unless he magnanimously said otherwise, the university would actually have to buy him out. And here we thought that if somebody breaches a contract, he should be the one doing the buying out. But once again, Iowa is being a pussycat. Instead of setting Fry straight on his contractual obligations, university president James O. Freedman is asking the State Board of Regents to make the football coach happy at its regular monthly meeting next week by approving architectural plans for a $3 million-plus practice facility.
ROZELLE ON GRADUATION
NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle recently wrote a piece for The New York Times in which he defended his league's refusal to draft players who have college eligibility remaining. At one point Rozelle wrote: "Critics of the NFL's policy sometimes assert that eligibility rules should not be followed, because so few players earn college degrees. However, a recent published report of a study by the American College Testing [Program] indicated that, while 52 percent of student-athletes graduate within five years, only 41.5 percent of non-athletes do so."
Rozelle's clear implication was that prospective NFLers have higher graduation rates than non-athletes. But the study he referred to covered swimmers, golfers and lacrosse players as well as football players, and walk-on football players as well as those with pro potential. The graduation rate of NFL-bound collegians? According to the Football Register, an annual publication of The Sporting News that provides educational and other background information on NFL players, 34.7% of the players on last season's NFL rosters had college degrees, well under the percentage for both non-athletes and student-athletes as a whole. By bringing swimmers and the like into a discussion of NFL graduation rates, Rozelle was confusing the issue and misleading his readers.
OH, NO, NOT AGAIN