Still to be resolved is a similar suit brought in U.S. District Court in Omaha by the manufacturer of the spaghetti racket, Gunter Harz Sports Inc. The spaghetti racket, which is double-strung in such a way as to increase spin, came upon the scene in a big way in 1977 when Ilie Nastase and several other tour players began using it, often with dramatic effect. The spaghetti racket, too, threatened the character of its game, or so said the International Tennis Federation in outlawing it, a decision subsequently honored by the USTA. The manufacturer sued the USTA for $2 million in damages and asked for an injunction lifting the ban, arguing that the USTA had "uncritically" followed the ITF ban, which in turn had been issued partly in response to pressure from some pros. A decision in the case is expected soon.
LEOPARD, RHINO & A LOT OF TIGERS
Football bragging rights in the Palmetto State will be settled when Clemson (currently 4-2) meets South Carolina (6-1) in the season finale next month. Also to be cleared up is this question: Who's the state's best placekicker? Clemson's Obed Ariri has hit on all 10 of his PAT attempts this season and 11 of 17 field-goal tries, including a 52-yarder. A striker on Clemson's 1979 NCAA runner-up soccer team, Ariri, a Nigerian, is playing football this season by virtue of a three-year-old NCAA rule granting eligibility to graduate students who have played fewer than four years as undergrads (he's working toward a master's in business) and another relatively recent rule allowing pros from one sport to compete as collegians in others (he was a bench warmer last summer with the NASL's Chicago Sting). Something else of note about Ariri is his middle name, Chukwuma. Asked what it means, he replies, "God only knows." So it's a mystery? "You don't understand," he says. "In Nigerian it means 'God only knows.' "
Now for South Carolina's placekicker. Hailing as he does from Cayce, S.C.—and not playing any pro sport—the 21-year-old senior who performs placekicking chores (31 for 31 on PATs, six of six on field goals) for the Gamecocks might appear at first to be a less exotic sort than Ariri. But the fact that his name is Eddie Leopard and that his holder is named Tim Rhino should make the Nov. 22 showdown against Ariri and the other Tigers all the more memorable.
SAY HEY, JOSEPH HENRY GARAGIOLA
He said after the opening game of the World Series he wished to be known, henceforth, as Willie Aikens, a request one might think would be easy enough to honor. So why in the name of Cassius Clay, Bobby Moore, Keith Wilkes, Cornelius McGillicuddy and Lew Alcindor did the NBC telecasters take four days to stop referring to the Royals' slugging first baseman as Willie Mays Aikens?
JOINING THE RANK AND FILE
A couple of weeks before the start of this year's U.S. Open, the Association of Tennis Professionals, the men's players' union, withdrew a threat to boycott Flushing Meadows and said its grievances had been settled to its satisfaction. Be that as it may, the ATP's bargaining position had scarcely been helped by the fact that five of the game's premier players—Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Vitas Gerulaitis and Guillermo Vilas—weren't members. In fact, the ATP, which had virtually every other pro in the world on its rolls, has suffered for years because of its failure to sign up the game's biggest stars.
Now, without any fanfare, Borg and McEnroe have joined the ATP. With the game's No. 1 and No. 2 stars signed on, it becomes insignificant that Nos. 3, 4 and 8 are still holding out. The ATP is suddenly a more powerful force in the game, and any noises it makes about boycotting a future tournament will have to be taken that much more seriously.