- The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - January 21, 1991 - Page 3
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Former Detroit Piston Dave Bing discusses
the present status of the student-athlete.
Last week former Detroit Piston
star David Bing was honored at the
1991 NCAA Convention in
Nashville, Tenn., as he received the
Silver Anniversary award. The
award is presented to former stu-
dent-athletes who have gone on to
distinguished careers 25 years ago.
Bing was a 1966 consensus all-
America basketball player at Syra-
#use and played for 12 seasons in
the NBA, nine of them with the
Pistons. A seven-time all-star,
Bing's number was retired by the
Pistons in 1983. After the NBA, he
founded Bing Steel, a wholesale
steel and steel-strip-processing
business. Bing is involved with
several metro-Detroit charity
organizations and he makes his
home in Southfield. Daily sports
vriter Theodore Cox joined Bing
for breakfast the morning after he
received his award.
Daily: First of all, congratula-
tions. How does it feel to be hon-
ored by the NCAA?
Bing: At this point in life, I
think you accept the honor with a
lot of humility. When you're
younger, when you're active, there
are a lot of awards that come your
Way, if in fact you have been an
outstanding performer. But I don't
think you can really appreciate it
1Until you get a little older. So this
coming at this point in my life
means a heck of a lot to me.
D: You're here at a time when
unive. pity presidents are trying to
emphasize the student in the stu-
dent-athlete. I know that's impor-
tant to you. How do you feel about
9he direction of this convention
and what the presidents can do in
B: Well, I think they are at
least talking about the right things.
Whether or not they are really go-
ing to do something that's really
substantive, I really don't know. I
won't know that until the final out-
come from the convention. But at
east they're talking about the right
Academics are seeming to be-
come a more and more important
part of the overall program. And
hopefully some of the proposed
bills are going to put some pres-
sure on the schools to make sure
kids don't just go through the pro-
gram and get used or abused, but
are going to get something out of it
that will make them function once
they're done with school.
D: Do you think some of the
rules might be hard to enforce?
B: I think that the NCAA is go-
ing to have to change their ways of
enforcement. They obviously need
a lot of rule changes. They've got
to bring their way of thinking into
the 21st century. I think Dick
Schultz (NCAA Executive Direc-
*or) is attempting to do that, but
obviously he can't do it by himself.
There needs to be a lot of input
and a lot of support fror all the
participating institutions. But I'm
encouraged, if nothing else, once
again by some of the things that
are coming up on the agenda.
D: I might as well get this out
of the way. Syracuse has had an
investigation brought against them
n which your name surfaced.
What is your side of the story and
what are some of the problems
with the NCAA's investigating
B:. I think it's unfair from a me-
dia standpoint that they would
print a story without getting all of
,the facts, quite frankly. I got a
phone call from the newspaper,
The Post-Standard, from somebody
that I didn't know who basically
said that he was doing a historical
overview of the Syracuse basket-
And because my class was the
class that started the renaissance
of Syracuse basketball and they've
been very successful over the last
several years, I guess I was a nor-
mal person to contact. And be-
cause of the success I've had there
and in pro ball, I guess I was once
again a person that they needed to
I think it's unfor-
tunate that athletics
have become such a
part of the business
As he got into his questions it
became kind of obvious to me that
he was searching for something
and basically asked me whether I
had ever received money from
Syracuse, had I ever received gifts
from Syracuse, had Syracuse ever
done anything illegally to help me
and I answered the question no.
Then he asked had I ever done
anything, had I ever given money
to players, had I ever given any-
thing that was outside of. the
NCAA rules and I said no.
He says, 'Well, you have been
implicated by an ex-player who
had said that you had given him
money.' And I asked him to name
that person, because I knew that
wasn't true. He would not name
the person, but went on to say that
the person did not name me, but
said the most prestigious basket-
ball player from Syracuse. So the
assumption was that it was me.
It bothered me to the extent
that you go most of your life trying
to build a good name and build a
good reputation, and then some-
body on heresy says something or
prints something that's unfounded
and then you're implicated into the
whole thing. So there's not a hell
of a lot I can do about it right now.
I look forward to an investigation
both by the school and by the
D: Is there a way the NCAA
can rule on things faster so there's
not as many of these punishments
or investigations on something that
happened a long time ago?
B: It goes back to governance. I
see that as a problem in as much
as I don't think that they have the
kind of staff, the kind of resources
to be able to go out and police ev-
ery school. A lot of the things they
seem to be coming up with to me
are very small and they seem to be
on a witch-hunt in a lot of cases.
There are some schools, there
are some programs, there are some
people that are doing some things
that are obviously are very, very il-
legal. I'm not going to sit here and
try justify things one way or the
other. If somebody is caught doing
something illegal, then I think they
ought to be reprimanded and I
would say the same thing is true
If in fact something is found out
at Syracuse where they're doing
something to break the rules, then
they ought to be reprimanded. But
to start implicating people without
all of the facts being on the table,
I think is the wrong way to do it.
D: Let's change gears a little
bit. I've heard you talk about the
importance of role models. It ap-
pears more and more the university
presidents and the athletic direc-
tors and a lot of the coaches are
getting more involved in the stu-
dent-athletes' lives. How important
B: Well, I think that is ex-
tremely important because as
young people you are very impres-
sionable and if you can get some
of the top folks in the university
showing a genuine interest in your
total development and growth,
then I think that's very important.
For too long, I think athletes have
been made to feel that you're not
important and the only thing that
you can do for the university is to
play on their team and to wi,
games and to help them make
money. What happens to you as an
individual happens to you; so
D: Did you have any one who
you looked up to and followed?
B: Not so much in college, but
in high school. There were certain
people, starting with my coach and
principal in my school, who were
strong role models. When I got into
college, it was a different ball-
game all together. There were
teammates of mine, even some
football players, say like John
Mackey or Ernie Davis, who be-
fore me, basically gave me a lot of
insight into what I should expect at
Syracuse. But I can't say I had any
role models from an academic
standpoint at the university.
D: You are one of the few ath-
letes who has gone on to greater
success in the business world. How
were you able to do it and how can
the NCAA get more athletes to
keep in mind a career after their
playing days end?
B: Actually, it starts way before
you enter college. I knew as a high
school student, that even if I were
able to play pro ball, that it was
going to be a short-lived career. I
mean, physically, you just can't
play that long and you've got to be
prepared to do something different.
So, I was going to make sure of
that as I entered college.
(the Pistons) are out in
the suburbs... The
atmosphere just isn't
I took the right kind of courses
that would prepare me for a post-
career if I was fortunate enough to
play professional basketball. But it
did happen, and I made myself in
the off-season to really try and
gain some skills that would en-
hance my position once I retired
The other thing. The players to-
day are making much more money.
I needed an off-season job really to
enhance my earnings capacity,
because at that time, we weren't
making a hell of a lot of money. A
lot of guys today are making so
much money, they don't need to
go out and work.
It's important that coaches, that
administrators, and other folks im-
press upon our young people that
even if you've got all the money in
the world, you still want to be a
productive individual and you're
not going to want to sit back and
do nothing. Most of us are success-
ful because of hard work. And to
sit back and do nothing just
doesn't fit into our psyche. So
you've got to try and prepare your-
D: Did you know when you
were younger, how good you were?
Did you know that someday you
could become a great basketball
B: No, I never knew. You
dream. You hope. You work, and
as I got into college, for the first
time, I found out I was a pretty
damn good basketball player be-
cause the only thing I. had to com-
pare my play to was guys in my
neighborhood, guys in the city,
guys in the high school league I
Not until I went to college had I
had a chance to see the caliber of
players around the country that I
knew that I was one of the top
players. At that point in time, I
wasn't satisfied with it. I wanted to
keep working. I wanted to keep
improving because pro basketball
became a real goal for me. Just to
be the best player on my team, or
the best player in my conference
was not good enough, so I con-
tinued to work and push myself..
D: Do you think that it's a prob-
lem that kids are recruited at such
a young age?
B: I think it's unfortunate that
athletics have become such a part
of the business right now. They're
taking young kids and forcing them
to make some decisions before
they are really ready to make
D: The Pistons right now are
playing so well. How important to
you is that because for a long time
the team had little respectability
as an organization. How much
have you enjoyed their success?
B: I've enjoyed it eminently
from afar, because I feel part of
the organization, from a historical
stand-point. But also, I know the
coaches, the administration, the
players. To see them have this
kind of success that they're having
makes me feel very good. As a
fan, I am very supportive of them,
and I think they are very important
to our overall community.
D: People are upset with the
Tigers, and their decision to possi-
bly move out of Detroit. First as a
player and then as a fan, which to
you prefer: Cobo Arena in the city
or the Palace?
B: I'm very biased. My whole
career was played at Cobo. I do
think that basketball is a city
game. I do think that Cobo was
one of the best arenas to play in
when I was an active player. Obvi-
ously, the game has changed a lot.
It's become much more of a busi-
ness. Cobo wasn't drawing the
people and that wasn't because of
where we were located, it was be-
cause we didn't have a very good
I think if the Pistons today were
downtown at Cobo or Joe Louis
Arena, and they were as good as
they are, they would get the same
kind of fan support. Unfortunately,
they are out in the suburbs. The
game isn't the same. The atmo-
sphere just isn't the same. But I do
understand the business decision
that was made by (Pistons' owner
Bill) Davidson and his partners,
and they've been extremely suc-
cessful, so it's tough to knock suc-
Vaughn's decision not
spur of the moment
It was the Wednesday after Michigan suffered a controversial one-
point loss to Michigan State. The fury over Desmond Howard's no
catch, no interference call still lingered. Running back Jon Vaughn sat
in the MUG of the Union with a reporter and talked candidly.
Sure, it was interference, he said. And soon the discussion sounded
like two old men in a bar.
"Look at it this way," one said.
"Yep, yep," said the other, shaking his head. "But how about..."
Then Vaughn talked about Michigan State players as compared to
the Michigan athletes. Reminded that it is the Spartan players who
always make the news off the field, Vaughn said there was a logical
"From the top down, Michigan State just does not try to perpetuate
the image we strive for. The players are so cocky and it all starts with
Vaughn was at ease. He wore a baseball cap backwards, and with
the bill pushed upwards. He wore grubby sweats, and looked unassum-
ing. Not too many would guess this was the man running the ball for
big yardage out of the Michigan backfield.
Soon, Vaughn remembered the days back in Missouri and started
to let a story flow. He remembered a baseball team sleepover he
attended when he was younger. The team decided to toilet paper a
neighbor's trees, he recalled laughing. And while in the process of
decorating the yard, the man appeared with a gun.
Yes, those were good times back home, he seemed to say.
The conversation marched forward.
At the time, Vaughn was coming off of a 162 yard effort in the de-
feat to the Spartans. He also had run for 201, 288, 89, and 94 yards in
Michigan's four previous matches. Suddenly Vaughn, who entered the
season as a complete nobody, became somebody under consideration
for the Heisman Trophy.
Vaughn gave the expected answers.
No, he doesn't think of the Heisman Trophy.
No, someone probably deserves it more than he does.
Yes, what is important is the team, not the individual.
Then he was asked about turning pro at the conclusion of the sea-
son, or maybe after next year. His answer was not the expected one. It
was not, "No, my degree and education come first. I want to graduate
with a degree and then God-willing, I'll make a stab at a pro career."
Instead, Vaughn said he would examine the opportunities.
"Hey, you never know what life is going to bring," he said. "When
the end of the season comes, I'm going to sit back and look at my
possibilities. I might want to pursue other avenues.
"What would make me decide to turn pro? Well, for instance, if
my family needed the money. If they needed help and assistance, then
maybe I could help them out. My family's important to me."
So important, that before each game, Vaughn would write "MOM"
on the tape around his wrists. Three years ago, Jon almost lost his
mother, Irene, to breast cancer, which sent a scare reverberating
through Vaughn's body. Now, the thought remains of how close he
came to losing his mother. The cancer is currently in remission.
He calls home regularly to Florissant, Missouri. He hears mom's
voice, and gets her reassurances.
To say Jon Vaughn turned pro because another star emerged in the
backfield would be unfair. The thought was entrenched in his mind
well before Powers made a name for himself on the college scene.
Over and over, on that Wednesday night, Vaughn explained rea-
sons why a pro career might be necessitated, or a better opportunity
And maybe, Jon Vaughn made the right decision. This is not Sean
Higgins, who turned pro for one thing for one person. For Higgins, it
was an M&M decision: Money and Me. Vaughn thought otherwise.
First, he was homesick. School was fine, although it did not appear
he enjoyed it. This is an individual who keeps to himself, who didn't
try to cause many problems.
Second, next year, the NFL may attempt to end the current philos-
ophy of rewarding rookies with the largest contracts, even though they
have yet to give anything of themselves. Many feel that by next year,
the NFL will set some type of pay scale based on where you are taken
in the draft. Vaughn may feel that he can do better being a lower
choice this year in an open market than waiting a year and going
higher in the draft.
Third, is the conclusion of this season. While the thoughts of turn-
ing pro were definitely imbedded before Powers began grabbing the
spotlight, it may be disconcerting to know that with one mistake, your
job may be gone. Vaughn started the entire regular season and rushed
for over 1200 yards. He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the
Year by the coaches.
And he does not start the Gator Bowl. Does that tell you some-
An ankle injury, suffered after the Michigan State game, hampered
Vauwyhn's nroduction numhers for the remainder of the season. And it
Michigan wrestlers split weekend pair
by Josh Dubow This weekend, without Mihalic, The characteristically strong Bill Mercer, but was reinsert
:Daily Sports Writer Michigan (7-3 overall. 2-1 Big upper weights for Michigan did not the weekend's meets.
After being forced to forfeit one
,match over its last five meets be-
.cause an entire weight class was
1sidelined, the Michigan wrestling
:team looks forward to having a
With 126-pound sophomore Ja-
-en tln arnalmiral1. inalia-
Ten) split its two road matches by
defeating Illinois, Saturday, 28-15,
and losing to Purdue, Sunday, 19-
Four Wolverines, Yaffai (118
pounds), Joey Gilbert (134), James
Rawls (142), and captain Fritz
T.Phrkr (190H Gent their two
come through as expected in the
late matches because Lanny Green
and Phil Tomek lost. But at this
point in the meet, the Wolverines
had already clinched the match.
"We look for big points from
our upper weight classes," Bahr
said "We feel if we can keen it
Against Purdue Sunday, the
Wolverines not only kept the meet
close in the early matches, but
were actually ahead, 12-8, after
the first five matches.
Then Michigan hit a slide as
frosh Sean Bormet (158) lost his
first dual-meet match. 8-2. After