NEW COURSES OF ACTION
The NCAA last week took action intended to prevent the sort of extension-course abuses that have been plaguing college sport in recent months. The Committee on Academic Testing and Requirements ruled that credits for extension and correspondence courses may be applied toward athletic eligibility only if the courses are offered by the athlete's school. Because the measure is regarded as an interpretation of existing rules, it takes effect immediately. The committee also recommended reforms that, because they involve rule changes, would have to be considered at the NCAA convention next January. It proposed that 1) academic transcripts clearly identify credits claimed for correspondence and extension courses; 2) transcripts be processed by an admissions officer or registrar rather than by the athletic department; and 3) the school president designate one official to assume all responsibility for certifying athletic eligibility, a step that presumably would remove such a determination from the athletic department.
Limiting credits for extension and correspondence courses to those offered by the athlete's school was one of the reforms proposed by John Underwood in his examination of the academic scandals (SI, May 19). But the problems outlined in that article are of such magnitude that this measure must be seen only as a beginning. For one thing, the new rule doesn't cover extension-or correspondence-course credits an athlete may have earned in junior college before enrolling in an NCAA school. Bill Hunt, head of the NCAA enforcement department, says legislation to close this loophole probably will be submitted at the January convention.
Meanwhile, the bogus-credit scandal at one school, the University of Oregon, received renewed attention last week when its president, William B. Boyd, announced his resignation. Reminded that when he assumed his job in 1975 he had expressed the view that a program of athletic excellence would be of great benefit to the university, Boyd said, "I did not know the price we were going to pay.... And I would never have been willing to pay that price for any degree of success." Boyd, who on July 1 will become president of the Wisconsin-based Johnson Foundation, Inc., which conducts educational conferences, denied that his departure was motivated by Oregon's athletic scandal. But he said wanly, "It is perhaps one of the charms of the new job that they do not have a football team."
ACCENTUATING THE APPROPRIATE
It's the occasional practice here to take note of people who have highly appropriate names. Among those who merit mention are a couple of umpires on Florida's college baseball circuit, Albine Batts and John Ball. Also deserving are Coatesville (Pa.) High's star pole vaulter, Robert Jump, and a sprinter for the same school, Sonia Runner. And let us not forget a medic who can minister to any aches and pains that Batts, Ball, Jump or Runner might suffer in the line of duty, Manhattan orthopedist Dr. Walther Bohne. Pronounced Bone, of course.
POW! KRUNCH! VAROOM!
In 1939 a young cartoonist named Bob Kane created a comic-strip superhero who has since become part of American folklore, whooshing here and there in a vehicle known as the Batmobile. Now the creator of Batman has gone back to the drawing board to illustrate a jumbo-size, full-color, action-packed comic book chronicling the adventures of a real-life superhero, Richard Petty, who zooms about in stock cars. Entitled The Racing Pettys, it recounts the inspirational story of how King Richard drove old No. 43 to become the winningest NASCAR driver ever with the help of—so who needs Robin?—his father, Lee, the family patriarch; brother Maurice and cousin Dale, both members of his crew; and his 19-year-old son Kyle, himself a fledgling driver on the NASCAR circuit.
The Racing Pettys revels in its hero's early derring-do as a football and baseball star at Randleman ( N.C.) High ("Look at the block the Petty kid threw") and melodramatically details the crashes ("KRUNCH! FLIP! POW!"), disqualifications and illnesses he has endured during his racing career, not to mention his longstanding feud with the accursed Bobby Allison and his clan. "You hit me on purpose, Richard," snarls Allison following a bumping incident on the track. "Only after you hit me, Bobby," replies Petty, who, naturally, would never dream of starting any trouble.
Petty perseveres to win six Daytona 500s and seven NASCAR championships, meanwhile doting on his children ("Kitchy, kitchy, coo," he says while playing with newborn Rebecca Petty), attending church socials and being elected a Republican commissioner of North Carolina's Randolph County. The comic book, which was produced by STP, Petty's sponsor, and sells for $2.50 at raceway concession stands, neglects to mention persistent rumors that King Richard has it in mind to run for governor of North Carolina some day. Of course, such an eventuality could always be covered in a jumbo-size, full-color, action-packed sequel.
Holy Pit Stop, Richard.