INSIDE A TROJAN COURSE
Unlike USC track star Billy Mullins, who received transfer credit for courses offered at far-flung community colleges at practically the same hour (SCORECARD, March 24), 28 other Trojan athletes, including 19 football players, are in dutch because of their involvement in a course offered on their own campus. According to USC officials, the trouble began with the discovery last Dec. 4 that the athletes were enrolled in Speech Communication 380 but weren't attending classes. The instructor resigned and the athletic department's academic coordinator was suspended, but USC officials said that eligibility for the Rose Bowl, in which the Trojans beat Ohio State 17-16, was unaffected because the athletes had been given a five-day "crash course."
But June Shoup, chairman of USC's Speech Communication department, now says that the university is reviewing the athletes' work in the crash course, which consisted of written evaluations of debates. The campus newspaper, the Daily Trojan, quoted a USC administrator as saying that some of the evaluations "demonstrated that [the football players] were being exploited. We are just carrying these people and in the process they're not getting any education." The Trojan ran part of what it said was an evaluation by an athlete who evidently was impressed with the persuasive powers of a debater named John:
"I when went John because He had a point on girl that I couldn't not again, so that made me think girl don't have body for lady) unless they wont that why I went with John."
Until the decision was made to review all course work, the evaluation's author apparently was slated to receive credit for the course. And for all anyone knows, he still may.
CROWING & CRYING
Baseball is thriving as never before, as the game's higher-ups are the first to admit. They proudly point out that major league attendance last season reached an alltime high of 43,550,398, the fourth straight year in which the record had been broken. Last week Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's office reported that season-ticket sales for 1980 are, once again, onward and upward. With Opening Day still three weeks away, eight of the 26 teams—Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore, California, Boston, Milwaukee and Texas—had already set season-ticket records. Thirteen other clubs have been selling season tickets at a pace ahead of last year's, and several of them seem sure to break records, too. Only Philadelphia, San Diego, the Mets, Toronto and Oakland are experiencing declines, and the Phillies still hope to equal last year's team record of 19,000 season tickets. And once the season is under way, the Mets could be aided at the ticket windows by the tonic effect of new ownership and the A's by the addition of Billy Martin as manager.
None of which prevents baseball's owners from crying poor to justify the hard line they are taking in their current contract dispute with the players. Marvin Miller, whose union is threatening to strike, might regard that as something of a contradiction.
WING AND A PRAYER
On Feb. 17, 1979 Providence College's Rudy Williams sank a length-of-the-court desperation shot at the first-half buzzer in an 84-77 basketball win over Rhode Island. The distance subsequently was measured as 89 feet, and the shot went into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest field goal ever. Two months ago Virginia Tech's Les Henson hit a basket in the final seconds against Florida State that was both more dramatic—it won the game 79-77—and longer than Williams' shot. At least it was longer if you accept as valid the post-game measurement of 89'3". But wait. Should the distance on such baskets be measured from the shooter's heel or toe? Or from his fingertips? And does the measurement properly end at the front of the basket rim or the back?