The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - November 12, 1990 - Page 3
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'We've got highlights' as anchorperson
talks of referees, locker rooms and more
It is a well-known fact that sports
writers and broadcasters often do
not agree. Find any "hot" topic,
tand you are likely to find it repre-
Ysented one way in the newspaper
and another on T.V. Three weeks
ago, Daily Sports Writer Adam
Miller interviewed Free Press
columnist Mitch Albom to get his
views on officials, reporters in
locker rooms and ethics in the me-
dia. Looking for a contrasting per-
spective, he recently caught up with
WDIV Sports Anchorperson Bernie
.Smilovitz. Not only have we got his
thoughts here, but to quote Bernie,
"weve got highlights."
Daily: What do you think of the
controversy in college officiating?
Smilovitz: I think that a lot of
these things normally go in cycles
and in groups and suddenly you're
seeing bad calls and everybody is
getting all excited. I don't remember
the last time we had a situation
where there were three games
(Illinois/OSU, Colorado/Ole Miss
and MSU/M) where officials were
the deciding factor because of bad
'alls. I will say this. I think what
you really have to do is to make sure
that the guys that are out there on
Saturday making the calls are
trained, are knowledgeable, and know
what they're doing.
D: Would you support profes-
sional officials for college games?
S: Absolutely, with as much
money at stake and as much money
at stake on the games for the
D: How about instant replay?
S: It seems to have worked well
with the NFL. I would have no ob-
jection to it. The only problem with
it is that not every college football
Ogame is televised, so what do you do
with the games that are not tele-
vised? I mean, there are several
Michigan games which are not tele-
vised. So, how do you use instant
replay if you don't have television?
Well, you can install your own, but
the cost would be so high and so
prohibitive that I don't think they'd
do it. I don't know about the sugges-
tion for one instant replay a game. I
think you either have to have it all
the time or not have it.
D: What about a so-called post-
game review board, where there will
be someone else who could look at
the calls and determine how correct
Continued from page 1
took a second to realize what to do. I
pulled over, but I felt helpless be-
cause there was nothing I could do."
Immediately, the front car pulled
over with teammates sprinting into
action. While three crew members
stripped the countless number of
bolts from the solar cells, two others
were getting a new tire, jacks and
tools to change the flat. It took four
* people to lift the solar array while
securing the new tire. Meanwhile,
Finnegan, still in the driver's seat,
recovered to disconnect the solar ar-
ray from the battery to keep the
wires from ripping off the car.
In under seven minutes, the team
,.affixed the new tire and the cells,
but, more importantly, restored
some of Finnegan's hope.
"It felt so good that we had per-
Oformed so well," Finnegan recalled.
" I thought it was a fantastic time."
After two days, even with the
disaster, Michigan placed third
among the competitors, bringing
Finnegan to the realization that
Tholstrup may have been wrong.
Over the next two days, Michi-
gan planned to make its move. The
'mountainous terrain would become
*difficult to manage for most cars, an
,area Finnegan felt Michigan could
While on her shifts during the
third and fourth legs of the race,
,Finnegan's excitement mounted
awhile passing quite a few stopped
ears. Each car she skipped needed a
tow through the hills of Alabama.
"It was a good feeling to know
:that we were moving up in the pack.
But in my mind was the fact that
there were still gsven mnre davs."
S: I think that's so time consum-
ing. I think you just have to have
confidence in the guys you send out
there. I think right now there's prob-
ably not a whole lot of confidence,
especially in this area on officials.
D: About reporters in locker
rooms. Do they belong there?
S: Yes. Reporters do belong in
the locker room. All reporters, male
and female, belong in the locker
room and I'll guarantee you that 90
percent of the athletes will tell you
the same thing. There are some ath-
letes who don't want them in there,
but the majority of the athletes do
want reporters in there, because the
reporter is covering the game for the
people and athletes want the people
to know their side of the story. Ab-
solutely. I think reporters should be
D: What do the reporters do in
the locker room that could not be
done, say, in a press conference?
S: You don't get the emotion of
the moment. You give players time
to cool down. You really don't get
the feel of the game after you've al-
lowed a player to shower or to
change clothes or to come to a press
conference setting. Plus, you also
don't allow good reporters to be
D: How do you see the current
"to do" here resolving?
S: Well, we had a lot of years
when nobody gave a damn whether
women were in the locker room.
Now, suddenly because of a couple
of incidents, people are worried
about it. I think it will all blow
over. I think it will be quiet and I
think it will go back to the way it
was and the way it should be, that
everybody, male and female, is al-
lowed in the locker room. A female
reporter has just as much right to do
her job as a male reporter. There is
no question that the New England
Patriots situation was wrong, but
that was an isolated incident. That
was a terrible, terrible incident that
happened to Lisa Olson and I believe
you'll find that the guy who did it
and the players who did it if you
went back to them would regret it
D: So that type of situation is
not the norm?
S: Absolutely not. I've been in
locker rooms for 15 years, and most
of the women that are in there are
more professional than any man I've
ever seen in there. They ask better
questions. They're knowledgeable.
Many women that are in there are
under the microscope because peopleE
want to see if they can do the job
and 99 percent of them that I have
seen can do the job, and do it damn
D: Do you feel there is a prob-
lem today with bias in reporting?4
For instance, -we have all these
columnists writing books with ma-
jor sports figures who they also
cover. Do you feel that affects their
ability to cover them objectively in
S: Sure, no question. It's a con-
flict of interest, but if you are a good
enough columnist and honest
enough, it won't be that much of a
problem. In reference to Mitch Al-
bom's comments, I think that, it's a
conflict of interest whether you do it
during the season or not during the
season. It doesn't make any differ-
ence. It's still a conflict. If you're
writing Bo's memoirs, the next time
you see Bo obviously he's going to
look at you differently and you're
going to look at him differently.
Same if you did Chuck Daly's book,
or Isiah's book, or any book.
'I think what you really
have to do is to make
sure that the guys that
are out there on
Saturday making the
calls are trained, are
know what they're
D: What about TV and money in
college sports, for instance, the new
super conference realignment? Is this
a good thing? Is money taking over
S: Well, I think whether it's a
good thing or not remains to be
seen. But, I think that college sports
are supported greatly by television
money, as all sports are, and without
television you're not going to have
sports as they are today. So, any-
body who poo-poos television says
it's bad and it's a curse will not have
the sports you see today without it.
D: But, is this going to force
smaller schools to get even less of
S: Absolutely not. I think people
who say that are just worrying about
something that will not and does not
exist. Notre Dame forming their
own network deal was an isolated
case. Notre Dame is more or less an
isolated case, period. They're not a
member of a conference. They're an
independent and they cut the best
deal they could for Notre Dame.
'All reporters, male
and female, belong in
the locker room and I'll
guarantee you that 90
percent of the athletes
will tell you the same
D: So why are many other inde-
pendents flocking to cut conference
S: The conferences feel that if
they take in a Miami into their con-
ference, that makes their conference
stronger and they'll be able to attract
more television money. The inde-
pendents gain plenty, too. If Miami
plays, for example, in the ACC and
there are 4 ACC teams in Bowl
games, they get to split that money
with the conference. It will also
make them competitive in basket-
ball. Miami's basketball program is
nothing now. They'll get better ath-
letes to go to Miami to play basket-
ball because they'll be able to play
in the ACC.
D: Finally, your on-air trademark
is the phrase "We've got high-
lights." Where did that come from?
S: It started when I first started in
television in Washington, and it is a
cue to the director to roll the tape. It
grew into being my trademark. It's
part of a two-prong thing. One is a
phrase that you're identified by, but
the other part of it is for the director
to know when the tape is to roll.
D: You're also known for
"Bernie's Bloopers." How did that
S: Same thing. It's for enjoy-
ment, it's for fun. You can't take
this very seriously, you know.
We're not splitting the atom here or
looking for cures.
D: Have you ever been called by
someone who has been offended by
any of these bloopers?
S: No, never. If anything, people
say more, more. We want to see
Lewis bucks tradition,
phases out high step
Everyone seems to be questioning the existence of the high step and
its future with the Michigan Marching Band.
Will it remain?
But surely don't thank Gary Lewis, the new band director. This is a
man who drove into Ann Arbor young, brash, and confident. He also
thought he knew better than anyone else what the Michigan Marching
Band should look like.
Immediately, he went about attempting to dismantle the systems that
were in place.
One reason, he told band members, that the band would do less high
stepping in the coming years under his dictatorship was sound quality.
This seems like an admirable decision - at first. With one's legs pound-
ing the ground so hard from the high step, it is hard to accomplish a good
tone. Therefore, a more simple, corps style would be instituted - as it
had been used on occasion before at Michigan. The corps looks more like
Better sound, better band, right?
Hogwash, says George Cavender, former conductor of the band.
He laughs at that argument, then adds, "You go listen to tapes of when
Dr. Revelli and I had the band. Then, you find me a performance as good
as those tapes and you tell me about it."
Cavender began charting and choreographing the band in 1952, while
William Revelli directed it. Many traditions are Cavender's babies - the
fast entry into the stadium, the exploding block 'M', the Hawaiian War
Chant, and The St. Louis Blues. After Revelli retired in 1971, Cavender
became the band's conductor until stepping down in 1978.
The high step at Michigan has a past longer than Cavender. In 1949,
Revelli wanted to do something a little different for their bowl game ap-
pearance. Thus, the high step was born. Its shocking features wowed the
crowd. Its most striking aspect is the illusion it creates of speed.
Since 1949, the high step has been refined and evolved.
Since 1990, the high step has been brushed aside.
Many band members are upset at Lewis' blase attitude toward the high
step. During the first week of practice, Lewis told them not to perform
the "lock" during the high step - the moment where one intentionally
freezes each time they raise their foot. The lock, many say, is a Michigan
trademark and enhances the performance. Lewis did not care about this.
Forget it, he told them, as band members became enraged.
Many claim the man is not amendable to change, and only wants to
follow through on his own agenda. Members have trouble relating with
him, and are afraid to speak out since band members receive two academic
credits for their participation.
"I've heard a lot of complaints from around the country," Cavender
admits of the new band director's forsaking of traditions.
And band members say Cavender ripped into the band and into Lewis
in person earlier in the year, complaining about Lewis' attempted jailing
of the high step.
"I said I hope our band doesn't become corps style because personally,
I don't believe in corps style," Cavender now says.
He continues: "Any time you get on that podium you have one objec-
tive - that is to make the band sound better than before. That is your
duty and it is a responsibility to the students sitting in front of you. You
have to make the band sound better - if you don't, then you better not
get on the podium. That's a duty and responsibility."
Hmm. Can anyone infer anything from that?
So should one infer anything from an almost complete void of high
stepping during halftime shows?
"I think one has to look at the whole season for an answer," says Eric
Becker, University of Arizona Marching Band conductor. Becker conducted
the Wolverines from 1980 to 1988. "One or two shows, they might not
use the high step. But if you look at the whole season, you will probably
see a lot of high step."
Well, the season is almost over, and except for an occasional dusting,
the high step is rarely seen at halftime.
"Corps shows are designed for one main reason and it's not entertain-
ment," Cavender continues. "I think that should be your main reason for
being on the field - to entertain. But drum corps shows are designed for
one thing - to win contests. You rarely see a straight line. They put all
these curls and swirls in the show because most judges are not competent
enough to notice mistakes.
"You should be out there attempting to please the fans."
This has not been the case this year. The loudest cheer the band re-
ceived Saturday was when it high stepped onto the field to take their
places to begin the halftime performance. After that, it was all downhill.
"It's a lack of creativity," Cavender says of today's bands. "You just
punch up a computer disc and it picks out all the curves arid moves.
That's not your creativity, that's a computer's. I don't find it creative and
the crowd does not find it creative."
It's quite apparent that Lewis is dropping the creativity level. But can
the high step continue functioning in its broadest form - and used for the
majority of marching time on the gridiron?
It's hard to practice. It takes a lot of conditioning. In other words, it is
a lot of work. Lewis does not want that type of commitment.
Sure, he's probably felt the pressure about the high step, and will at-
tempt to placate everyone by salt and peppering it here and there.
But this man has no regard for the Michigan traditions. He's probably
writing a new fight song at this moment.
This man, who came from Abilene Christian University in Texas thig
year, should do one of two things.
Quit the bullheadedness - and become a team player, using the tradi-
tions an institution believes in, instead of one's own whims.
Or simply quit.
SPOIR TINFOMMAT ION
Paula Finnegan, a co-driver of the University of Michig an's solar car, Sunrunner, experienced many tense moments
at the helm of the car during the first GM Sunrayce USA. Even with the cramped space behind the wheel, it was
Finnegan's job to turn and separate the wires of the solar array in any instances where its removal was required.
cloudy day looked like it would
make it difficult to recharge after the
race. According to the rules, the only
allotted recharging time, other than
during the race, was from 6:30 to
Just short of the day's finish line,
Michigan came to stop, prompting
one official to check on the car to de-
termine just what, in fact, they were
"We hadn't gotten a lot of charg-
ing done all day," Finnegan said,
"and we wanted to get some charging
tering the sixth day. With 30 sec-
onds separating the start of cars at
the beginning of each race, Finnegan
and Noles chased the M.I.T. car
steadily to the finish at Churchill
Michigan decided to go for the
pass, a rare opportunity in the race
under normal driving conditions.
However, the drive came up short, as
they finished 15 seconds behind
The opening 30-second margin,
though. gave Michigan the victory.
climbing. A first-place finish was in
sight with continued conservative
driving for the final five days. And
suddenly, there was a new face in the
Michigan corner. Tholstrup had
changed his mind, showing confi-
dence in Finnegan and her team.
"He approached us a couple of
times and said that we had to keep it
up and be the only school that fin-
ishes every day," she said.
Michigan was, in fact, the only
team to finish each day of the race,
coasting the rest of the way to an
we were done and we came in first,"
Finnegan said. "It was such a relief
to reach the end, and it was ex-
tremely gratifying. At that point it
didn't seem real, and I couldn't even
fathom going to Australia."
Finnegan's original thoughts of a
World Solar Challenge entrance
seemed unimaginable. But the reality
of a race in Australia left her excited
Finnegan plans to use her experi-
ence in GM's race to her advantage
as most of the other cars in this
makers entering superior models.
"We're up against entries from
Japan, like Honda and Toyota, and a
lot of teams from Australia and
Switzerland who had been entered in
the 1987 solar challenge are back,".
Finnegan said. "We know that a lot
of the competition from Japan has a
lot of the technology, resources, and
But insteadrof worrying this
time, Finnegan refuses to let Mich-
igan sit back with its current design,