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The ever-smoldering feud between the AAU and the NCAA is sending up ugly puffs of smoke once again, and as usual the signals spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E—at least for the innocent bystander, who, in this case, happens to be the athletes involved. The U.S. Track and Field Federation, an affiliate of the NCAA, is sponsoring a meet in Madison Square Garden on Feb. 9, and since a few non-college runners are on the entry list, the AAU insists that the meet must have its sanction. The AAU would give the sanction if asked, but the NCAA won't ask. So the AAU has warned that all athletes who take part in the meet will be barred from future international competition, including the Olympic Games. Jim Ryun, favored to become the first American in 60 years to win the Olympics' prize plum, the 1,500 meters, is scheduled to run in the Garden.
It is inconceivable that Ryun could thus be barred from the Olympics. But innocents have been trampled before in a bureaucratic tug-of-war, so perhaps it is not all that inconceivable that the best young runner in the world may never get to Mexico City. If this happens, the AAU, regardless of the merits or demerits of its stand, is going to look downright paranoid. So is the NCAA. So, for that matter, is Uncle Sam.
A number of major leaguers—among them John Roseboro of the Minnesota Twins and Lou Johnson of the Chicago Cubs—are endorsing and expect to use a new bat called the Watts Walloper, which is being produced by the Green Power Foundation in the Watts area of Los Angeles. The foundation, which started the project to provide jobs for unemployed Negroes, set up a workshop last month in an abandoned telephone-company building. It began with one wood-turning lathe and eight employees, but by May the company is expected to be employing 350 men and manufacturing 1,000 Wallopers a day.
Since existing bat manufacturers have a corner on the white-ash farms in the Appalachians, the foundation is using tan oak from northern California for its new product. The wood is hardened by chemicals, and the bats are finished in an aerospace material that makes them difficult to break.
It may now be said that the Turn-on, Tune-in and Drop-out Movement has reached frightening proportions. Students at Duquesne University—a segment of them, at any rate—have dropped out of the Pepsi Generation.
Pepsi-Cola sponsored Duquesne basketball broadcasts over Pittsburgh's KDKA-Radio the past four seasons, but then decided to spend its advertising dollars elsewhere. For one thing, the Dukes won only seven of their 15 games last season; for another, the university wanted to increase the price of broadcast rights. No sponsor moved into the breach left by Pepsi.