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A week later quiet-spoken Orlando J. Hollis, dean of Oregon's law school and architect of many of the PCC rules on athletic morals, tossed a couple of pieces of printed paper on the desk in his office and started to talk about them. The documents were as familiar to coaches and conference athletes as free soap coupons to the average housewife. One of them was a form letter which PCC Commissioner Vic Schmidt sends to each prospective athlete, explaining all permissible forms of assistance to athletes under the conference code. The other was a questionnaire which all PCC athletes must answer when they turn out for a sport, detailing all instances of past, present or future financial assistance either received or promised. "Coaches with an illegal aid program couldn't afford to take chances on a kid answering a questionnaire like this honestly," said Hollis. "All of those kids, somewhere along the line, had to be given instruction to lie. Hell," said the dean quietly, "we're not a professional football league. We're a group of universities and colleges. Parents send their kids to us for tutelage, no less. Any time the maintenance of an athletic program requires us to teach them to be crooks and liars, why, good Gawd, it's time you get rid of it. As long as the rule is there [requiring the answering of the questionnaire] and your program calls for illegal aid to a boy, he's being taught to be a liar and a crook, and that teaching has to be pretty detailed to keep that size (meaning UCLA's] operation under cover."
Hollis may have been pegging his pebbles from an ivory tower, but in this case it seems to have certain advantages over a glass statehouse.
Things are changing at Notre Dame. Since Terry Brennan succeeded Frank Leahy there have been signs that the most celebrated football seminary in the land would like to spread the impression that there are other boons besides pigskins in life at South Bend, Indiana.
They are tearing down the high green fence that for 50 years has shielded the practice sessions of the Notre Dame squad at Cartier Field from the eyes of hostile scouts and spies.
The official explanation is that the old green fence has become too expensive to maintain. Replacing it will be a woven-wire fence and any passer-by will be free to peek through except on the most secret occasions. Then Brennan will drape the fence with canvas.
The very thought of people looking at any Notre Dame practice session will probably make Frank Leahy turn over in his fine, plush public-relations office. Leahy could not erase the grim thought of lurking spies, and he never completely trusted the fence. He had student managers guarding all entrances and knotholes and issued a whole series of varicolored passes, each denoting the extent of penetration permitted the lucky holder. Eddy Gil-more, onetime Associated Press correspondent in Moscow, said after a practice session: "It was easier to get into the Kremlin."
There was many a story of the old green fence. Once Ziggy Czarobski challenged big John (The Tree) Adams to see if he could dive through the fence. Adams thought he could, and did. Others to dive through the fence, head and shoulders first: Ray Eichenlaub, a fullback of the Rockne-Dorais era, and Jumping Joe Savoldi of Knute Rockne's fabulous 1929 team.
If, as seems likely, there is a new order at Notre Dame calling for slightly less emphasis on football, heads may be more learned there in the days to come. But they will never be harder than in the days of the old green fence.
THE ELECTRONIC QUARTERBACK