SOME FOR THE BOOKS
The academic abuses that rocked college sports in 1980 took a particularly heavy toll in the Pac-10, which declared five member schools ineligible for this year's conference football championship because of various infractions. But academics, we're glad to report, haven't gone out the window in the Pac-10 altogether, witness the classroom achievements of the following 23 players:
Offense: Gordon Adams, USC, quarterback; Mike Martin, Washington State, and Eugene Young, Oregon, running backs; Cormac Carney, UCLA, and Ken Margerum, Stanford, wide receivers; Tim Tyler, Oregon, tight end; John Macaulay, Stanford, center; Steve Johnson, Washington State, Don Mosebar and Keith Van Home, USC, and Harvey Salem, California, linemen; and Chuck Nelson, Washington, placekicker. Defense: Duker Dapper, Stanford; Mark Jerue, Washington, and Kirk Karacozoff, California, linemen; Ed Hagerty, Oregon, Jack Housley, Arizona, Milt McColl, Stanford, and Derek Warren, Oregon State, linebackers; Jeff Files and Paul Sorensen, Washington State, Jeff Fischer, USC, and Mark Hattum, Oregon State, backs.
They all boast a B average or better, topped by Adams' 3.7 (of a possible 4.0) grade-point average, and collectively they comprise good news in what has otherwise been a very bleak year indeed for the conference. So let's hear it for them, the Pac-10's 1980 All-Academic team.
ON DONNER, BLITZEN AND VIDEO
Until now, television sports have been largely confined (although that scarcely seems the right word) to live and taped coverage of real events. But suddenly the home screen is fairly bursting with simulated sports. Reason: an explosion during this Christmas shopping season of sales of home video games systems. These attach to ordinary TV sets and, thanks to programmed cartridges inserted into a master component, produce full-color, amazingly lifelike computer-game action that can turn the screen into a playing field for practically any sport you can think of. With the flip of a lever or the twirl of a dial, armchair jocks can fire off a jump shot from the baseline, lay down a perfect bunt or gain big yardage on an off-tackle slant. Besides sports, they can also play video versions of blackjack, checkers and dozens of less familiar games.
Toy industry officials say that home video units have stolen the thunder of hand-held electronic games, last year's hot Christmas item, with sales of video systems growing from less than $100 million in 1979 to as much as $300 million this year. By contrast, sales of hand-helds are leveling off and are likely to be only slightly above last year's $385 million.
The undisputed leader in home video games is Atari, a division of Warner Communications Inc. that also manufactures coin-operated arcade games. Atari's first big success was Pong, a tennis-style video game that seems primitive by today's standards; players endlessly hit a ball-like blip back and forth across the screen. Atari introduced coin-operated Pong games to cocktail lounges and amusement arcades in 1972, bringing out a home video offshoot in 1975. Three years ago it introduced the Atari Computer System, which now features more than 40 cartridges including, notably, a home video version of Space Invaders, which originated as a coin-operated game in Japan and has been the hottest thing in amusement arcades in the U.S. Though hardly cheap (master component $180, cartridges $22 to $30 each), Atari will sell nearly 1 million master components this year and account for at least 65% of home video dollar sales.
Atari's competitors include Magnavox' Odyssey, APF Electronics' Imagination Machine and a host of home computer systems that offer games more or less on the side. But the most ambitious challenger is Mattel's Intellivision, which has broken new ground both in price (master component $300, cartridges $30 each) and in the realism and intricacy of its computer-game programming. Intellivision, which will be expanded next year to include a keyboard component, features crowds that roar, refs that blow whistles, basketball players who shake hands before the opening jump, umpires who cry "Yer out!" and base runners who get caught in (and squirm out of) rundowns. Harry E. Wells III, a toys analyst at the Boston brokerage house of Adams, Harkness & Hill, enthuses, "Intellivision's graphics and programming capability are incredible." Of home video games generally, he says, "It's almost unprecedented for toys to cost this much—if, that is, you consider these things toys. If you do, well, there are going to be an awful lot of adult kids this Christmas."
THE CASE OF THE CREEPING KICKOFF
Ever hear of a team kicking off from its opponent's 15-yard line? Millersville (Pa.) State College did it last month during a 28-7 win over Cheyney (Pa.) State, and it came about this way: as Millersville attempted to convert a point-after touchdown in the second quarter, two 15-yard penalties were called against Cheyney, one for roughing the holder, the other for unsportsmanlike conduct. Because the conversion was good, the 30 yards were assessed on the subsequent kickoff, the result being that the ball was teed up at the Cheyney 30, not the Millersville 40. Then, just as Millersville's Mark Zeswitz was preparing to kick off, an official thought he heard a Cheyney player utter a profanity and assessed another penalty, also for 15 yards. Thus, Zeswitz wound up kicking off from the Cheyney 15. And what happened? Understandably reluctant to put his full leg into the ball, Zeswitz tried an onside kick. For the record, a Cheyney player fielded the ball on his 10 and returned it for a couple of yards.