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December 10, 1981 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-12-10

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Page 10--Thursday, December 10, 1981-The Michigan Daily
Ex-grid star Taylor helps ex-cons


On January 26, 1975, former Michigan All-
American running back Billy Taylor stopped
running. He had to. He had been caught by the
Taylor's All-American dreams turned into
All-American nightmares when he was
arrested for being the driver in a bank robbery
in his hometown of Barberton, Ohio, for which
he was convicted and served two years in
NOW, TAYLOR is running again. He is the
head of the Billy Taylor Institute for ex-
offenders, and is planning to start his own
business in the near future. In addition, a book
and a made-for-TV movie about his life are
scheduled to be released this spring.

THE 5-11, 195-pound tailback was a fifth-
round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons.
Although his running skills remained intact, his
attitude had changed.
"I never really had fun playing professional
football," Taylor said. "I went into pro- ball
right after many tragedies in my family. I had
been secure, but then my mother died four days
after the Rose Bowl, my aunt and uncle died;
and a girlfriend was stabbed.
"After all of that, the priorities of playing pro
football weren't number one," he continued. "I
just played for the money, because it was the
only way I knew at the time to make that kind
of money."
BUT THE ALLURE of pro football wasn't
enough, and Taylor found himself waiting in a
get-away car outside the Central Bank in Bar-
berton while it was being robbed. In a highly-
publicized trial, he was sentenced to eight
years in federal prison.
"I was being made an example of," Taylor
said. "I was told that if I had been a white All-
American I wouldn't have done a day. I didn't
like hearing that, especially from the
authorities. I really did fall, but I caught
myself, and I don't think it was too late."
"B.T. was never a bad guy, and it shocked
me to hear about his troubles," said Buffalo
Bills guard Reggie McKenzie, who roomed
with Taylor at Michigan. "I don't know what
happens to a person when he gets in a situation
like his. He had some personal problems, but I
think he was able to work them out."
TAYLOR SERVED two-and-a-half years of
his sentence at the Milan (Mich.) Federal
Prison, and while he was in prison, he became
the first inmate ever serving time for a Federal
offense to gain a master's degree.
"I was able to complete a master's degree at
Michigan in less than a calendar year," Taylor

said. "I began and completed my program with
a 3.5 grade-point average, and I was the first
ever to begin and complete a master's degree
while serving a federal term."
Taylor currently works as a sales represen-
tative for a Detroit-area auto dealership, and
spends the rest of his time working for the Billy
Taylor Institute.
"THE BILLY Taylor Institute was founded
with two ideas in mind," he said. "First, we
want to help ex-offenders. We're assisting
these people with job applications. We're there
to help reintroduce them to society. I know
from teaching on the inside that offenders
aren't adequately prepared when they get out.
"Secondly, we deal with all the youth within
the city (Detroit) that we can assist," Taylor
added. "If they need tutorial things, or a place
to go, or whatever, we're there to help them."
Taylor's book has been completed, and a
number of publishing companies, including
Doubleday and MacMillan, are interested in
purchasing publishing rights. He is hoping for a
spring or summer release for the book.
"I'M LOOKING into various types of
business that I can invest in," Taylor said.
"The contracts for the book and the movie
(which is being produced by Quinn Martin
Productions for CBS) will allow me to do that
and find financial security."
But no matter what happens, Taylor said that
he will never forget his days at Michigan.
"Every day I introduce myself and someone
says 'Are you the Billy Taylor who played for
Michigan?' "Taylor said. "I'm still thought of
in a positive light, and I'm honored and respec-
ted. I couldn't put a price on that."
Now Billy Taylor has started running. But
this time he is running in the right direction

Taylor spent his career at Michigan in the
headlines, but in a positive way. He left in 1972
as Michigan's all-time leading rusher, with
3,072 yards, and was considered a top-quality
pro prospect.
"There's just nothing like college football,"
Taylor said. "The Athletic Department, the
alumni, and the crowds are incomparable to
anything I've ever known."

FORMER MICHIGAN running back Billy Taylor shown here shaking off an
Iowa defender in the third quarter of the Wolverines' 1971 game against the
Hawkeyes. Taylor went on to gain 28 yards on this play.

NCAA plans to shrink Division!

The National Collegiate Athletic
Association's planned reorganization of
its Division I schools will not really help
Michigan, according to athletic direc-
tor Don Canham.
The NCAA reassessed and adopted
changes in the criteria for the
qualifications for membership and
eligibility to compete in the
organization's Division I at its special
convention held December 4.
THE PLANNED changes will entail a
reduction in the number of schools that
can participate in college sports as
;Division I schools. The NCAA
traditionally has divided its member-
ships into various categories in order to

insure an equality of competition
among its members. The larger univer-
sities, including Michigan, are
classified as Division I schools.
The number of schools that are
classified in the top division, however,
has become important in the current
NCAA dispute with the College Football
Association, over that organization's
television contract with NBC. One of
the complaints that the CFA levels
against the NCAA is that smaller
schools, which do not share the same in-
terests as the organization's larger
members, vote on NCAA legislation
and often turn down proposals that the
larger universities feel are beneficial.
In order to remedy this problem, the
NCAA will now require that a school
must have a football stadium with a
minimum capacity of 30,000 or have an
average attendance of over 17,000 at its

home and away football games. Also, a
Division I member must compete in at
least eight sports at the intercollegiate
NCAA PUBLIC Relations Director
David Cawood believes that the
association's planned restructuring is
partially due to CFA pressure. "It could
be claimed that the leverage that the
CFA gained from its television contract
with NBC (for the broadcast of football
games) ,did force the NCAA to adopt
this reorganization," said Cawood.
"However, we were considering
restructuring Division I a few years
ago," added Cawood. "We adopted a
twelve-sport criteria in 1978, requiring_
that schools compete in twelve sports to
be a Division I school."
.Canham, however, feels that the
mere restructuring of Division I will not
solve the problems that the larger in-

stitutions find in the NCAA. "I don't
think that it will help Michigan at all,"
said Canham. "It could be beneficial in
small areas, however. Let me give you
an example: A while ago there was a
proposal to have football players outfits
ted with travelling jackets. The smaller
schools voted it down because they felt
it waseiot good for financial reasons."
Canham believes that the change was
an attempt by the NCAA to appease the
CFA schools. "I think it was caused by
CFA pressure, but I don't think it was
what they wanted," he said. "It is the
weight in numbers that the smaller
schools have on the NCAA's commit-'
tees and on the NCAA council, and
especially on the NCAA's television
committee that bothers the CFA
"What the CFA wants, and I agree
with them, is unlimited television
coverage," Canham continued. "The
weight of small schools on the commit-

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... restructuring won't help 'M'
tees is just too strong to allow changes
in the NCAA limits on football
coverage. This is unfair to the larger
schools that give so much publicity to
the NCAA."
Nonetheless, the restructuring, which
will take effect in September of 1982,
will reduce the number .of Division I
schools from the current number of 137
down to 90-95, according to Cawood.

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