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?In a change sure to face legal challenges, the delegates voted to subject Division I-A and I-AA football players, who until now have been tested for steroids only if they were about to play in a bowl or playoff game, to year-round random testing for steroids. In addition, first-time offenders will lose a year's eligibility instead of the cult rent 90 days, and two-time offenders will lose all their remaining eligibility.
?The convention passed with gusto a measure requiring colleges to make public all of their teams' graduation rates. These disclosures will embarrass programs that don't stress academics and will help high school recruits choose among schools. Congress, fed up with college scandals, has been considering similar legislation (SI, Sept. 18). Bill Bradley (D., N.J.), co-sponsor of the Senate's graduation-rate bill, said he will still go forward with his legislation because many colleges and junior colleges aren't governed by the NCAA.
Delegates in Dallas were already discussing an issue yet to be resolved: how to divvy up money from the NCAA's new seven-year, $1 billion contract with CBS, which is based largely on the NCAA basketball tournament. "We should view these new dollars as a real opportunity to create major reform," said Schultz, who raised the idea of spreading the money among all NCAA schools, based not on their tournament performance but on how many intercollegiate teams they field. Such a plan would promote athletic opportunity and reduce pressures to win. The still-fractious NCAA may not yet be ready to take so brave a step.
NO JOKING MATTER
To his credit, NBA commissioner David Stern wasted no time last week in fining Charles Barkley of the 76ers and Mark Jackson of the Knicks $5,000 apiece for maintaining a running $500 wager with each other linked to their play in 76er-Knick games. The bet came to light after a 113-111 Philly victory over New York on Jan. 10. The two players told reporters that Barkley had won $500 from Jackson by hitting the winning shot with 2.7 seconds left. They said that their wager dated back to the 76er-Knick playoff series last season; it specified that any time one of them made the winning play in a 76er-Knick game, the other would have to pay him $500. During the playoff series, Jackson had won $500 from Barkley—who, according to Jackson, never paid up—by making a winning shot.
Barkley thought he had locked up $500 in last week's game by sinking two free throws with 22 seconds left. The shots put Philly ahead 111-108, but Jackson responded with a three-pointer to tie the score at 111-111 before Barkley canned the winning 12-foot jumper. Afterward Barkley said he wanted his $500, but Jackson, recalling their playoff bet, said he and Barkley were now even and refused to pay.
Stern read about the incident in the next morning's papers and handed out fines that afternoon. "While I am persuaded that there was nothing more going on here than some verbal jockeying between two friendly rivals," he said, "it is my responsibility to make it plain to Messrs. Barkley and Jackson and everyone else in the NBA that on the subject of gambling, even the slightest appearance of impropriety is a serious matter."
Stern may also have had on his mind the NBA's lawsuit to bar Oregon from including pro basketball games in its sports lottery. In any case, his ruling was correct. The Barkley-Jackson bet may have been meant as harmless fun, but it also may have affected the outcome of last week's game. On the final play, perhaps trying too hard to win the bet, Jackson took and missed a shot from three-point range instead of passing the ball to wide-open teammate Gerald Wilkins, who was standing under the basket waving his arms.
ONE DOG, HOLD THE ADS
Fans may soon have new reason to smother their ballpark franks with the works. Thanks to a special hot dog casing made of cellulose, weenies can now have messages—including advertisements—printed on them.