SI Vault
Edited by John Papanek
July 26, 1982
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July 26, 1982


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The race was held on a site adjacent to Scottsboro's Peachtree Street, whose Atlanta namesake is the site of a more famous July 4 10,000, the Peachtree Road Race. For the 2nd Annual No-Run Run, will Scottsboro go big time and mark off the course on Peachtree itself? Relax, says Mary Ann Cromeans, the race coordinator. "Peachtree is uphill all the way. It would be totally too much exertion."


The starting lineups selected by the fans for last week's All-Star Game did nothing to refute the charge that the balloting has become simply a popularity contest since the vote was returned to the public in 1970. But is there a better system? From 1958 until '70, the teams were picked by players, managers and coaches, which left none of the fun for the fans. Perhaps the best method was the one used from 1947 until 1956, when the fan balloting seemed to result in just the right lineups year after year.

However, now comes the revelation from former Chicago Tribune sportswriter Richard Dozer, now of The Phoenix Gazette, that for those nine golden years the fans' preferences had little or nothing to do with the composition of All-Star teams. In those days, the Tribune and cooperating papers in other cities printed ballots which were clipped, marked and mailed by the nation's baseball fans to the Tribune, whose sports editor, Arch Ward, conceived the game back in 1933 as an adjunct to the Chicago World's Fair. There they would sit—for the most part, unopened—in stacked cartons and bales, while a staffer would compose exciting reports on the voting races.

"The daily accounts of Stan Musial slipping a few hundred votes ahead of Gil Hodges, Ted Williams outpolling Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline getting votes at a record pace for a rookie were...well...largely fiction," says Dozer in an expose written for the Gazette. Sometimes, it was whispered around the Trib city room, one of Ward's lieutenants would sample the ballots.

The Trib's creative tallies, writes Dozier, "were an accurate barometer of who really belonged on the All-Star team, regardless of the vote that forever will go untotaled." As for today's computerized voting system, Dozer adds, "In truth, the punch cards simply don't compare with the old finger-on-the-pulse accuracy of the...samplings out of those stacked cartons that gathered dust in Arch Ward's office."


Few people seemed to notice either the event or the irony, but on June 31, the last day of life for the Equal Rights Amendment, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women ceased to function. The AIAW, which was founded in 1971 with 280 member institutions, oversaw and helped nurture the great boom in women's collegiate sport in the '70s, which was helped by the enactment of Title IX which prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of sex. By 1980, women's athletic budgets nationwide had risen from 1% of men's to nearly 16%. Furthermore, AIAW membership had grown to 971 colleges; the number of schools offering athletic scholarships for women had soared from fewer than 60 to more than 635; and the AIAW had created 41 national championships in 19 sports and had signed a four-year television contract with NBC.

As officers of the now-dormant AIAW see it, their organization's success was the very cause of its demise. The NCAA, which in 1976 filed a still unresolved lawsuit against the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, challenging the application of Title IX to intercollegiate athletics, now apparently feels that the revenue-producing potential of women's sports makes them desirable. "When we were making our own uniforms and raking our own fields," says Charlotte West, women's athletic director at Southern Illinois, "the NCAA didn't want us."

In 1981, however, the NCAA began to lure schools away from the AIAW by, among other enticements, providing transportation expenses to its national championship events, which the AIAW couldn't afford to do. Also, in the 1981-82 school year, the NCAA chose to schedule 16 of its 29 women's championships in direct conflict with those of the AIAW. The AIAW says that the NCAA laid out $3 million to subsidize women's championships during the past school year, just about what the AIAW spent in its first 10 years of existence. As a result, 119 member schools left the AIAW for the NCAA.

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