•$3,000, for a hairpiece and wardrobe for Princeton coach Pete Carril. Don't change on us, Pete. We love your '40s news-reel offense and postgame stogies. But if you're going to be on national TV so much this season (at Rutgers, Dec. 15; at UNLV, Dec. 19; and hosting Loyola Marymount, March 10), we're going to have to hook you with a rug and some natty haberdashery.
•$879, for memberships in the Coaches' Book of the Month Club. Just because Bob Knight books are, mercifully, no longer all the rage, don't think we'll be spared tomes on the rest of clipboarddom. No fewer than three John Thompson books are in the works, Jerry Tarkanian is shopping around his second book in three years, former Florida coach Norm Sloan was rumored to be holed up for a while in the hills of North Carolina penning an embittered screed and Jim Valvano is completing a manuscript. Meanwhile, the public awaits the definitive exegesis of Digger Phelps and Notre Dame, entitled Coaches Who Coach Too Much...and the Players Who Play for Them.
•$10,000, for the winner of the Jeff (Monkey Jesus) Shepherd Award, to be conferred annually on the basis of a player's name, nickname or combination thereof. Rodell (House) Guest of Colorado takes the prize this season, but only because Hassan (Hoss) Duncombe of Penn has quit the Quakers to improve his grades, and because New Orleans's Louweegi Dyer hasn't come up with a nickname—yet.
•$950,000, as price subsidies for tickets to the ACC-Big East Challenge. Last year these two leagues, probably the game's wealthiest, asked for an extortionate $30 a seat for this four-doubleheader event. Fans stayed away en masse. Costs have come down a little this year, with organizers leaving pricing up to the four host arenas—Syracuse's Carrier Dome ($20), Richmond's Coliseum ($24), North Carolina's Dean Dome ($22) and the Capital Centre ($25) in Landover, Md. But those tariffs are still unconscionably steep. Our program would pick up half the cost of each ticket. Next year, we do what the government does—we pay them not to play it.
•$35,000, plus a $75,000 travel budget, to send John Wooden to every Division I campus. Remember that old Abe Lemons crack about how coaches these days can't eat in a restaurant that doesn't revolve? Now they can't eat in one that doesn't offer an annuity appetizer and a sneaker deal entrée. The most Wooden ever earned in a season was $32,500. His overcompensated descendants sorely need to hear from him now concerning how to teach the game. A Wizard-Over-America Tour would profoundly elevate the dignity of a once proud profession that can use more than a little gussying up.
•50 cents, for a Hershey's bar, in honor of the Notre Dame-Temple game to be played in Hershey, Pa., on Feb. 16. Hershey is where Wilt Chamberlain had his 100-point game, in 1962. Chamberlain needn't sweat this one out; the only person capable of scoring 100 on the 23rd is Owl guard Mark Macon. But as a career .417 percentage shooter, Macon would need 120 shots to do it.
•$125, for a weekly dose of Thorazine for Dick Vitale. We can take Vitale on ESPN, where he's safely quarantined and women and children are spared his adenoidal excesses—unless they get lost hunting for Lifetime or Nickelodeon. But an unsedated Dickie V on ABC places an otherwise pleasant Sunday afternoon at grave risk.
•$100,000, as bounty money for the capture of those well-fed bureaucrats who are shamelessly trying to reserve college basketball's fruits for themselves. Mainly, they're the members of the NCAA Committee on the Billion who dismissed Heathcote's proposal. "I don't think you should have a socialistic, communistic sharing of the wealth," says Georgetown athletic director Frank Rienzo, a member of the NCAA cost-reduction committee. "They tried that in Eastern Europe, and it didn't work." Sorry, Frank. That's blatant self-interest masquerading as free-marketeering.
Meanwhile, the NCAA tournament committee wanted to banish the champions of the three weakest leagues from the forthcoming tournament, thereby reserving the revenue derived from three additional at-large bids for the traditional powers. The committee didn't dare, fearing a backlash if the MEAC and SWAC, which are composed of historically black institutions, were excluded by the ruling. So the committee adopted the unsatisfactory play-in system rather than preserve a few automatic bids to the 64-team field.
A question: Who decides who sits on some NCAA committees? Why, the NCAA committee on committees, of course.