Why wasn't the tutor interviewed earlier? "Whether J.R. did his own work wasn't an issue then," Chambers told SI's Shelley Smith. "We were only dealing with whether J.R. Rider was correctly ruled eligible for competition." However, in the March 11 story Bertolino had raised doubts about whether Rider's work was his own. The story was accompanied by a photo of a note Bertolino made on another of Rider's assignments: "I question who wrote this." The obvious conclusion is that UNLV was hoping to sweep under the rug Bertolino's suggestion that Rider had cheated.
Rider said last week that while the tutor wrote half of one paper, its content had been "verbalized" by himself. But why, then, didn't Rider confront Bertolino when she raised doubts about his honesty last summer? Rider was nevertheless right when he asserted after his suspension that the school had made him a scapegoat. An indifferent student, he stayed at UNLV after his junior year, he has said, only because coach Rollie Massimino had assured Rider that he could "get eligible." School officials allowed Rider to cram a daunting 15 units into a summer session and, knowing the difficulty of the challenge, assigned the tutor to help him. Didn't the school set him up for a fall? Shouldn't it have anticipated that the tutor would become overly involved? Didn't it hide from the truth even after Bertolino blew the whistle?
The answer to these questions is yes. Yet while Rider was suspended from the team, Maxson, Weaver, Massimino and Chambers have so far gone unpunished.
According to Newsday, after Boston College basketball coach Jim O'Brien earned a second technical for berating officials and was ejected from a game against Se-ton Hall, his 17-year-old daughter, Amy, watching on ESPN, phoned her 18-year-old sister, Erin, who was away at college. "Quick, turn on the television," Amy said. "He got thrown out. He's a lunatic."
Besides definitions, most dictionaries include biographical entries. Alas, the terse listings ("Churchill. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer, 1874—1965, Brit, statesman; prime minister") tend to give sports figures the brush. Political and literary personages are well represented, but a check of the most recent editions of leading "college." or desktop, dictionaries shows that sports bios are often few and arbitrarily chosen.
?The American Heritage. Phil Esposito, in; Gordie Howe, out. Dizzy Dean (150 wins) and Whitey Ford (236) make it, but not Walter Johnson (416) and Grover Alexander (373). And only four basketball players are included, the same number as figure skaters. Walt Frazier is one of them; Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson are excluded.
? Oxford American. Other than U.S. presidents, there are few bio entries. Sports? The disdain for physical prowess is so complete that the Biblical figure Samuel is included, but Samson isn't.
?Random House Webster's College. Where in the names of Muhammad Ali. Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis (all in) is Rocky Marciano? And imagine including Lillian Russell, the actress, but not Bill Russell, the basketball player.
?Webster's New World. Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, yes; Ty Cobb, no. You'll find author John Updike but not another John U—Unitas.