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EDGE OF DISASTER
The scandal in Illinois involving Otto Kerner, now a federal judge, who reportedly made eye-opening profits from racetrack stock when he was governor of that state, serves as a reminder that racing, for all its vaunted self-regulation, is always on the edge of disaster. It is not only the rare fixed race (Illinois is looking into something along that line, too, and New York is concerned about hints that some of its jockeys have on occasion been riding in concert); it is the chicanery that so often occurs behind the scenes. There was the recent mess in New York, where a prominent owner and two leading trainers were caught in flagrant violation of rules against undercover ownership of horses and against associating with undesirables. There are repeated rumors about certain veterinary practices. There is criticism of racing's antiquated rules structure—administrators are afraid to move vigorously against offenders because of the threat of legal reprisal. There is concern because the capital vital to racing's continued health is coming less and less from the old established names and more and more from operators whose normal habitat, at the very least, is on the edge of the underworld.
Racing tends to counterpunch, waiting for things to happen before reacting. This may be because the sport is so often subject to the vagaries of politicians, but that's not a sufficient excuse. Racing would be wise to cleanse and invigorate itself right now.
BIG RED CHAUVINISTS
There are those who feel that Ed Marinaro of Cornell was jobbed when Pat Sullivan of Auburn won the Heisman Trophy. Of this persuasion are three men in San Francisco—Robert Freeman, Peter Lee and Dick Bradley—who run a restaurant called Victoria Station. When Marinaro appears in San Francisco at the end of the month for the East-West game, the trio will give him a trophy of his own as outstanding college player of the year. They call it the Wiseman Trophy (there were these three wise—yes, you've got it), and they plan to make an annual thing of it. They say they are going to second-guess the Heisman every year.
Maybe they will. But it is only fair to point out that this year there seems to be a small point of special interest involved. When Freeman, Lee and Bradley announced that Marinaro of Cornell had won the Wiseman by a unanimous 3-0 vote, they let slip that by odd coincidence all three voters happened to be graduates of—well—Cornell.
One of the few sports in which Eastern colleges have regularly earned national recognition and respect is ice hockey. That superiority is now threatened by a schism over the use of freshmen on varsity teams. Earlier this year, hockey-playing colleges in the Eastern College Athletic Conference came out against freshmen, but in September a general meeting of the ECAC voted in favor of their use. After that, despite their earlier vote, some of the hockey schools decided to go ahead and use freshmen anyway. The hockey-happy Ivy League remained strongly opposed to the idea.
As a result, Dartmouth has already canceled games with Northeastern, Army, Colgate and New Hampshire, all of which are going to use freshmen, and Harvard says it will follow Dartmouth's lead next year. Ivy powers like Cornell and Harvard will no longer be able to play schools like Boston University, currently the NCAA hockey champion, since B.U. probably will use freshmen, too, next season.
This means an inevitable decline in the quality of the sport in the East. For example, about the nearest college hockey comes to a bowl game is the annual Beanpot Tournament at Boston Garden, which regularly sells out for the round robin battle among Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern and Harvard. Without Harvard, the Beanpot is just a pot—no more glamour. Without such high level competition, Eastern hockey is bound to suffer. What does it profit hockey to gain a freshman if it loses its bowl?