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February 11, 1970 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-11

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, February 11, 1970

'v_ _

V 1
A'u "STI N
DIsAM7ND
209 S. University 663-7151

Frosh eligibility-contrasting views

By JERRY CLARKE
Daily Sports Analysis
Last spring, the Big Ten decided
to follow an earlier NCAA decision
and permit its member schools to
use freshmen in varsity competi-
tion. The rule change, which many
of the conference schools had op-
posed at the NCAA conference,
was passed more out of necessity
than as the result of a change of
heart by the member universities.
"The NCAA often determines
what the Big Ten must do by
placing the conference in a posi-
tion by which it must adapt or
lose its competitive position," re-
ports Michigan Athletic Director
Don Canham. "If we hadn't gone
with the freshman eligibility rule,
recruiting would have fallen off.
Athletes would have gone some-
where where they were able to
play that extra year."
Canham opposed the rule, which
does not embrace football or bas-
ketball, on the grounds that the
academic aspects of a student's
life would suffer if he was placed
in a high pressure, competitive
situation from the beginning of
their time at the University.
"Freshmen shouldn't be dragged
off campus, it hurts their social

life as well as academic. Their
circle of friends becomes too re-
stricted."
Realizing that most coaches af-
fected by the change are in favor
of the new ruling, Canham ex-
plains that "It makes the coach's
job easier. He is here to produce
the best team possible, which he
cannot do if many of his best
athletes are freshman who have
to sit out a year." .
He also sees certain advantages
to the change. "Teams are better,
of course, with the best people
competing, regardless of their
class. It is also more economical,
as no scholarship competitors are
forced to sit out, causing the
school to get less for the money."
But despite these advantages
and the fact that so far there
have been no severe academic
problems caused by the freshman's
new found eligibility, Canham still
is not satisfied with the change
and feels that he is not alone.
"There may well be another effort
by a coalition of schools to over-
turn the ruling." He also replied
that, if such an effort were made,
he would support it fully.
Canham is correct in believing
that the majority of the coaches
take a position opposite from his
own. Wolverines gymnastics coach
Newt Loken, who has a number of
freshmen forming an integral part
of his team is basically in favor
of the rule, but with misgivings.
Loken has always felt that stu-
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dents that go to Michigan, at{
.least, are capable of handling both
study and athletics from the out-
set of his freshman year, and has
never felt a "necessity for period
of acclimation before being able
to compete."
Another consideration, accord-
ing to Loken, is that a year ofa
sitting out can be "a hardship in,
the development of new skills.
With the freshman eligible to
compete on a varsity level, he is
much more likely to develop new
skills which will be important to
him in his career."
Loken does see a drawback to
the new ruling. Freshmen gym-
nasts who feel that they cannot
make the team as freshmen have
"a tendency to eliminate them-,
selves from the program. They
stop working out and lose interest
in the team."
The rule finds its two most en-
thusiastic supporters in the per-
sons of swimming coach 'Gus
Stager and baseball mentor Moby
Benedict. Stager feels that, in
swimming, a freshman has no less
desire and devotes no less time

to swimming if he is separated
from the varsity than when he is
a part of it. This effort should
Te channeled into competition,
where both the athlete and the
team benefit the most.
Stager also feels that, in swim-
ming, competitors are sufficiently
much more interested in an edu-
cation to keep their grades up.
This theory is supported by the
fact that many of the fine swim-
ming schools, like S t a n f o r d,
Princeton, and Michigan, are also
top educational institutions.
Benedict states that he is "thril-
led" with the new rule. This posi-
tion is quite understandable, as,
in Benedict's words "Five or six
freshmen have a real good chance
of making my team this year."
He sees no academic drawback to
the ruling, as "A baseball player,
by the time he is ready to com-
pete, has almost completed his
schooling for the year."
He has no worries about study
even in the part of the season be-
fore exams. "We don't practice
long hours, and any time a player
asks to be released from practice

for extra study, we give him the
day off." Benedict also points with
pride of the fact that "The base-
ball team has the finest grade
point average of any athletic team
on campus."
Michigan finds another sup-
porter of the rule in track coach
Dave Martin. "From our stand-
point it has certainly worked out,
freshmen and sophomores com-
pose the bulk of our team." Mar-
tin feels that the prospect of com-
petition motivates freshman to
make good grades rather that
prevent him from doing so, and
gives them more direction in their
training.
The athletes themselves are
pleased with the rule. Most admit
that if the Big Ten had not gone
to the four year eligibility, they
might well have gone to a school
where they could have played the
extra year.
Peter Helt, a baseball pitcher
from New Jersey, indicates that
"the new ruling definitely adds to
the attractiveness of the Big Ten,
but I can't, say I would have
gone somewhere else if they didn't
have it."

4:

-Daily-Richard Lee_
RAY GURA, FRESHMAN GYMNAST, lands after a vault in
one of the Wolverines' dual meets earlier this season. Gura is
one of the competitors making a large contribution to Michigan
athletics in the first year of freshman eligibility.

DR. DAVID BINGHAM is currently testify-
ing in Lansing in favor of liberalizing abor-
tion laws. He will discuss
xTHE,.D ILEMA OF
ABRTI N

IN PRAISE OF FOLLY

NBA vs. ABA- the high cost of survival

1

By LEE KIRK
Daily Sports Analysis
Pro basketball teams can ex-
pect to harvest a bumper crop
of outstanding collegiate court
stars in this year's pro draft,
but the real harvesting may well
be done by the players them-
selves. The bidding war between
the National Basketball Asso-
ciation and its upstart rival, the
American Basketball Associa-
tion, should escalate to heights
hitherto unreached in bidding
for the abundance of big name
players. Lew Alcindor got well

WITH

-

RABBI JAMES GORDAN, Oak Woods
Sons of Abraham (Oak Park)

REV. ERWI N A. GAEDE, Minister, First
Unitarian Church
FR. GERALD J. HUGHES, S.J., Ph.D.
candidate in Philsophy
DR. DAVID BINGHAM, Obst./Gyn.,
University Hospital
TH HOUSE FORUM
WED., FEB. 11, 8 P.M.
1429 Hill Street

over one million dollars for
scrawling his name on the dot-
ted line with Milwaukee, and
such stars as Pete Maravich and
Bob Lanier could easily demand
and get at least as much, while
at least a dozen other players
can expect to get contracts well
up into six figures.
Rumors circulated in Los An-
geles and Detroit last week that
the Los Angeles Stars of the
ABA had secretly drafted Rudy
Tomjanovich and were willing
to pay $300,000 to get him to
sign. Many rookies that do little
more than warm the benches
got $50,000 to sign last year,
and the price is bound to go up
this .year. The mind boggles at
the total sum that the teams
in the two leagues are going to
have to pay to sign their players
this year, and this reality has
not escaped the owners of var-
ious teams, the men who are go-
in to have to pay the price for
talent.
Norman Blass~ a New York
lawyer who heads an organiza-
tion that assists athletes in
signing their contracts, feels
that the escalating price wars
will soon force the leagues to
merge. "#The ABA is strongly in
favor of a merger now," says
Blass, "but I don't feel that it
will come this year."

Got a bitch? a question? an answer?
about the policies of the United States?
Talk it over with
Sen. Phil1 Hart

now, the NBA h o p e s to cut
down on the ABA's possbilities
of# adding teams. Perhaps the
NBA owners hope that t h i s
would eventually shackle the
ABA and force its collapse, but
this s e e m s a rather unlikely
possibility.
What is more likely is that
the NBA's already thinly spread
talent will be spread even thin-
ner. The Detroit Pistons, the
Charley Browns of pro basket-
ball are a prime example of how
expansion can keep a t e a m
down. Expansion will reduce the
Pistons' great depth in medio-
crity while strong clubs like the
New York Knicks will be left
with a core of seven good play-
ers. The league's expansion will
keep the Pistons d o w n, the
Knicks on top, and with the lea-
gue having 18 teams next year,
it will take even longer for the
expansion clubs to gain respec-
tability.
THE NBA is still hopeful that
it can eventually force the ABA
to fold, but this appears to be
an ever-lessening prospect. Al-
though all its teams, are not fi-
nancially solvent, the ABA own-
ers appear to have decided to
fight it out until the bitter end,
and if they are willing as well
as able to pay the price, as they
did for Spencer Haywood, their
survival seems insured. Basket-
ball is by far t h e country's
number one spectator sport,
and the pro game is just now
beginning to cash in on its pop-
ularity.

and with more and more talent-
ed players coming up, it would
seem inevitable that the ABA
get enough of the really good
players to keep its quality of
play relatively high.
The ABA, however, sorely
needs weekly television expos-
ure to enhance its pocketbooks
and reputation. The league got
its first national broadcast last
month when its All-Star game
was shown on CBS. The prob-
lems of the league ended up re-
ceiving as much attention as
EMU Relays
Tonight in Ypsilanti, t h e
Third Annual Eastern Michi-
gan Relays will be run. Teams
expected to participate include
Michigan, Michigan State, and
Eastern Michigan, along'with
approximately 15 other smaller
teams.
The feature event of t h e
night will be the Invitational
500 yard dash. The two m i1e
relay should also prove to be a
s t r o n g event. Preliminary
events begin at 5:30 p.m. and
final running events start at
7:00 p.m.
did i t s quality of basketball.
two hours before game time, the
players threatened to boycott
the game unless the league
agreed to talk to players about
the formation of a player's un-
ion. Fortunately, the owners
agreed to talk and the game
went off.
Fans who watched the ABA
All-Star. game saw three things
that distinguish ABA ball from
its counterpart in the NBA.
The ABA employs a thirty-
second clock which gives a
team more seconds to get off a
shot than does the NBA. This
gives ABA teams a chance to
use more patterned offenses
which gives a greater potential
for variety.

Thursday Feb. 12

9-11 P.M.

LAWYER'S CLUB LOUNGE
PRESENTED BY THE LAWYER'S CLUB

I

i

11

THE NBA has announced
that it intends to expand next
year with the addition of four
teams. The old adage that,
"growth is good" appears to be
the ruling motivation in t h e
minds of the NBA owners, but
there seems to be a madness to

$

THE ABA hasE
broad-based support
areas to remain in

their method. By;

established
in enough
operation,

ball is shown by its ratings.
The NBA game of the week
draws far higher Nielsons than
the hockey game shown in the
same time slot Sundays on
CBS. NBC may well be think-
ing that eventually the ABA
could give it the edge on hock-
ey, too, and boost their sagging
Sunday ratings.
An effective and publicized
method that the ABA has adopt-
ed to upgrade its overall quality
is the signing of players who
have played out their options
with NBA teams.;Such players as
Rick Barry, Dave Bing, Billy
Cunningham, and Zelmo Beatty
have either jumped tothe ABA
or have indicated their inten-
tions to do so next year. The
NBA's only effective retaliation
to date has been the signing of
Connie Hawkins. His jump from
Pittsburgh to Phoenix was not
really a jump at all. Rather it
was part of a deal to get Hawk-
ins to drop a two million dol-
lar suit against the NBA for
banning him after he was link-
ed (by implication and not by
actual proof) with gamblers
while playing his college ball at
Iowa.
THE BATTLE for talent rag-
ing now in pro basketball is
reminiscent of the struggle be-
tween the National and Amer-
ican football leagues in the early
and mid-sixties. Players jumped
between leagues like jumping
beans and bonuses for such
players as Joe Namath a n d
Donny Anderson ranged over
the $500,000 mark. Financial sur-
vival compelled the two leagues
to merge.
Another problem that plagued
the pro leagues during the bid-
ding wars was the discontent
among more established veter-
ans who resented the fact that
unproven rookies were signing
for more money than they had
made in ten years of playing.
This problem has not really sur-
faced in pro basketball, although
some ofthe players who were
considering jumping from the
NBA to the ABA used the threat
of jumping to force the owners
to give them higher salaries to
stay in the NBA. Luke Jackson
of Philadelphia, who had an-
nounced plans to join his team-
mate Billy Cunningham in jump-
ing to the Carolina Cougars,
eventually decided to stay in
Philadelphia, but it was a de-
cision prompted by considera-
tions other than a strong oy-
alty to the city of brotherly love.
If the leagues do not merge,
a possibility that seems l e s s
and less likely, the bidding war
will drive them both to the
edge of bankruptcy. This is a
reality of which the ABA own-
ers are well aware, and a reality
that NBA owners, in spite of
their chauvinistic attitude, can
clearly see in private meetings,
even though they will never own
up to it in public. Laissez-faire
capitalism not withstanding, sur-
vival is a stronger motivator of
men than profit, and this in-
stinct will almost certainly pre-
vail.

i

adding teams

1

ROUND TRIP BOEING 707

JET

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NED's

THE ABA also employs the
three-point basket. The idea was
to try to minimize the impact
of the big man by giving a team
three points for shots made from
more than 25 feet out. The rule
has not really served that pur-
pose, as there are rarely more
than 10 three point shots made
in the course of agame, but the
rule does add a chance for a
team to make up deficits in a
hurry and also, gives extra su-
spence to games that go right
down to the wire. The ABA al-
so employs a red, white and blue
basketball, which is nothing but
pure gimickry, an attempt to
give the ABA a sense of unique-
ness. If the leagues, do merge,
these differences would have
to be eliminated, and one can
only wonder if the ABA's inno-
vations will go by the route of
the now defunct two-point con-
version allowed by the AFL prior
to its merger with the NFL.
If indeed the ABA does get
a television contract, it will rise
to almost an equal status with
the NBA. The older league has
a fine contract with ABC and
the popularity of pro basket-

Students International provides you the opportunity
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B EOSTOR k

YPSILANTI

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 1970 PROGRAM

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