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The same lofty attitude may be found in other fan clubs, according to Miss Van Housen. The Dodger Debs, say, or Minnie Minoso's Cuban Comets or the Chico Carrasquelites.
Miss Van Housen, alas, has no control over the activities of independent worshipers like Miss Alaine Brown, age 12, of Rye, N.Y. The other day Miss Brown announced to her classmates at the Milton School that she would pay 25� cash for a piece of paper reading, "I love you, Alaine," if it bore the authentic signature of Pitcher Robin Roberts of the Phillies. The commission was accepted by Miss Sally O'Neil, also 12, who planned to work through her father, who is acquainted with Billy Martin of the Yankees. The fact that Martin and Roberts do not play in the same league would, at first, appear to present a difficulty. Furthermore, the devious approach to Mr. Roberts might be expected to dilute his declaration of regard for Miss Brown.
Neither Miss Brown nor Miss O'Neil cares about that. All's fair, they feel, in love and the autograph game.
Fair it may be, but in Chicago it would not be considered very foxly.
RUNNYMEDE AT TUSCA LOOSA
No matter how you slice it, the 1955-56 school year has hardly been a happy one for the University of Alabama. The football team lost all 10 of its games; the five first stringers on its high-ranking basketball squad were ineligible for the national championships; and there was Miss Autherine Lucy. As any owner of a rabbit's foot knows, bad luck comes in streaks, and Alabama is no exception. Last week, as if to prove it, 92 of the 115 athletes who live for free in the dormitory provided for men on athletic scholarships packed their bags and walked out.
It all began with an auto accident at 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning—well past the 12:30 weekend curfew hour for athletes who live in Friedman Hall. Roy Vickery, a tackle, was driving five fellow athletes home from a fraternity party, and while they were still five miles from Tuscaloosa he overturned the car. All of the men were injured, two seriously. Later that day Vickery was turned out of the dormitory, and an assistant football coach marched into Friedman Hall bearing a new and stricter set of rules and regulations.
By Monday evening the athletes were seething to the point where they called an indignation meeting and wrote down a series of demands: no more 11 p.m. bed check for seniors, managers and those who have completed their eligibility; only two hours of compulsory study a night for deficient students; unlimited weekend privileges for off-season athletes. When the meeting broke up, one of the young men complained: "It's a bad situation and has been. It involves more than rules. At the university the athletes are more or less segregated, looked down on by a lot of students. Sorority girls, for example, just don't generally date athletes here. You rarely hear of a university football player becoming a big man on the campus." Someone else pinned a sign over the entrance to Friedman Hall reading: DON'T TALK TO THE PRISONERS.
On Tuesday, the day after the meeting, a delegation of athletes appeared at the office of Athletic Director Hank Crisp to present their ultimatum. Coach Hank, as they call him, was away looking for a new basketball coach, but when he returned he took his time about meeting the insurgents. Toward evening the athletes sent him a message: "You'd better come over here right now or we're leaving." Crisp showed up a few minutes later, brusque and unyielding, so all the athletes (except two who had other ideas and the baseball team which was away for a game) went to their rooms, packed their bags and abandoned Friedman Hall. Most moved in with friends at nearby fraternity houses.
By Wednesday, Coach Hank had reconsidered. The way things were going the Crimson Tide would have trouble fielding a team of horses for spring plowing, so Crisp sat down with the Friedman Hall spokesmen in what may well turn out to be a Runnymede of sorts. The Magna Carta emerging from this session awarded the athletes all their demands, and Coach Hank thereupon retired to his office fortress to brood over the growing power of the barons of college sports. When someone asked him how he felt about it, Crisp just sighed: "I am statemented out."