SI Vault
Edited by Craig Neff
August 20, 1990
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August 20, 1990


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When asked before last week's PGA Championship (page 20) for his views on the controversy over discriminatory membership practices at private golf clubs (SI, July 23 et seq.), Payne Stewart pleaded ignorance—and sounded like a man well endowed with that quality. "It's none of my business," Stewart said, "I play golf for a living. I think the players probably are making more jokes about it than anything else."

He didn't stop there. "I think the whole thing's been blown out of proportion," Stewart told reporters. "That's something you guys are pretty good at—blowing things out of proportion."

Pro golfers haven't exactly led the charge to end discriminatory membership practices. Many of them haven't said a word on the subject, even as it has become the biggest issue in their sport. That's sad. One sure way to perpetuate discrimination is to pretend that it's none of your business.

Pete Rose checked into a minimum-security prison in Marion, Ill., last week to begin serving his five-month sentence for having filed false income tax returns. He shouldn't expect much sympathy from local residents, who have disliked him ever since he mowed down catcher Ray Fosse, then of the Cleveland Indians, in that famous home plate collision in the 1970 All-Star Game. Fosse sustained a broken and separated shoulder on that play and was never the same. He remains, however, Marion's most beloved native son. Indeed, if Rose ever gets a glimpse of the local ballfield, he'll see a sign that reads RAY FOSSE PARK.


With Arkansas now commited to joining the Southeastern Conference, Florida State is expected to be the next school brought into the SEC fold, perhaps very soon. By adding the Seminoles, the SEC would have 12 members, the minimum needed under NCAA rules to split into two divisions for football and have the winners meet in an extra—and no doubt lucrative—regular-season game for the conference title.

Arkansas's move to the SEC confirmed weeks of speculation that the Razorbacks would drop their 76-year affiliation with the Southwest Conference (SI, July 9). "I found it improbable that anything could be done to stop the [SWC's] slide," said Arkansas chancellor Dan Ferritor, referring to that conference's declining football attendance and widespread rule-breaking. The Razorbacks, who figure to rake in $500,000 a year more in shared conference TV, radio and bowl revenues from the move, will begin playing in the SEC in the fall of 1991 in all sports except football. The football team will be an independent in '91 and join the SEC in '92.

Losing Arkansas, a top all-around sports school, is a blow to the SWC, which now has no members outside Texas. The Cotton Bowl has said it is considering ending its affiliation with the conference, and two SWC cornerstones, Texas and Texas A&M, are contemplating a switch to either the SEC or to the Pac-10, which would love to broaden its television appeal to the Southwest.

The SEC has been cool of late to another potential member, Miami. The Hurricanes would strengthen the conference in football and baseball but not in much else. Miami is also more than 1,000 miles from some SEC schools, such as Kentucky. Some insiders say that given a choice, Miami and its academic-minded president, Tad Foote, might spurn the SEC for the ACC, which includes academically rigorous schools such as Duke and North Carolina.

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