All's well that's
Rancor in the
ranks of the colleges' football coaches and athletic directors, centering
chiefly around the question of who gets the most out of television, soured last
week's convention of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in New York
and for a time seemed almost to threaten its existence.
There was talk
that the Big Ten, which favors a "regional" system of televising
football games as against the "Game of the Week" system (SI, Jan. 10),
might pull out of the association and take the similarly minded Pacific Coast
Conference and Notre Dame with it. The Big Ten didn't get its way and didn't
pull out. No one did—just yet.
statesmanlike compromise worthy of U.N., the delegates agreed to refer the
whole problem to a 12-man committee which has until spring to produce a plan
for submission to the NCAA's members. Translation: college football's
dead-serious struggle for the big slices of the television pie was not ended,
George Linn is a
tall (6 ft. 4 in.), hefty (185 lbs.), good-looking fellow who plays varsity
basketball for the University of Alabama. He's a junior, is engaged in studying
commercial subjects, and is known on the campus as a quiet and undemonstrative
fellow. He comes from Columbus, O. and this fact has afforded him a modicum of
reflected glory—for he lives next door to Notre Dame Quarterback Ralph
Guglielmi and across the street from Ohio State's Halfback Hopalong Cassady.
These few facts would have just about summed him up if they had been recited up
until one second before half time in last week's Alabama- North Carolina
basketball game. By half time, however, George Linn was a famous man.
George still does
not know just why he did what he did. He went into the air under his own basket
as a North Carolina player missed a last-minute shot, got the ball off the
backboard and twisted as he came down. Out of the tail of his eye he saw a red
light glare on the scoreboard as a signal that the half was ending.
Simultaneously, someone in the big crowd watching the game bawled,
"Shoot!" This was completely implausible advice, for George was
standing exactly 84 ft. 11 in. from the North Carolina basket—almost the entire
length of the court—but George did not reason. He just hauled off and threw as
hard as he could and then stood wearing an expression which seemed to begin
with startled embarrassment, to shade into genuine disbelief as the ball zoomed
through the air in perfect trajectory, hit the distant backboard and whooshed
cleanly through the distant net.
The crowd in the
Alabama gym rose to its feet with an unholy yell. George's teammates leaped
upon him as though intent on beating him to death. North Carolina's Coach Frank
McGuire labored to his feet, walked dazedly to the spot George had just
vacated, and stood staring down the court and shaking his head. He had reason;
George had not only made the longest shot in Southeastern Conference history
(old record: 64 ft. 7� in.) but the longest recorded shot in the entire history
of the game.
The rest of the
contest (won by Alabama 77-55) was an anticlimax; it seemed like a good bet
that the rest of George's basketball career would be too. Alabama immediately
set out to sink a brass plaque into the floor at the spot from which the
astounding throw was launched, and the ball was carefully bundled up for
shipment to basketball's Hall of Fame at Springfield, Mass. George was besieged
by people who asked, "How did you feel when you did it?" George had to
admit that he didn't feel anything at all. That was probably as good an answer
as any, for it was short and George will probably have to go on repeating it to
the end of his days.