Page 10-The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, March 20,1991
'M' DANCE SQUAD AIMING HIGH AS POPULARITY GROWS
taRK Wolverettes find track to stardom
CBS off the mark
in NCAA coverage
by Tim Spolar
Daily Sports Writer
With over 75 percent of this year's NCAA men's basketball
tournament games already finished, those making comparisons between the'
coverage of CBS and ESPN have a solid base from which to work.
While some may argue that it is too early to pass judgement on the CBS
crew's performance, a close look at the situation reveals that this is the
perfect time to evaluate the new format which cuts ESPN from any form
of live coverage. In years past, ESPN has never had the rights to cover the
final games. Furthermore, any sort of special effort which CBS may add to
its coverage of these bigger events will only distort the comparison to be
The most obvious difference between the two methods of coverage is
CBS' four-corners philosophy. CBS uses a four-way divided screen in an at-
tempt to give an overview of all of the action at once. ESPN always catered
to the pure basketball junkie by showing nearly round the clock coverage of
most of the games with the use of tape delay.
CBS, on the other hand, reasons that what basketball fans really want to
see are only score updates, brief flashes of each game in order to sample the
general flavor of the matchup, and the last minute and a half of the game
which conveys the ultimate outcome: the final score.
What the network fails to recognize is that fans often resent coverage
of the game that they are watching being abruptly cut away for a few capri-
ciously chosen minutes. The thirty-second segments of other action often
whet the viewer's appetite, but they do not satisfy the desire to see more of
that particular game.
The predominant opinion of local students is that CBS falls short of
"CBS doesn't know when to change games," LSA first-year student Ed
Gusky noted. "They're just interested in showing the big-name teams. If a
team like Duke is blowing away their first-round opponent, they'll leave
that on instead of changing to a more exciting game with less famous teams
involved. Their four-corners idea isn't great either. They expect it to take
the place of live coverage, but it just doesn't cut it."
ESPN's ability to cover the event around the clock made them the ideal
network for the early rounds' mass of action. It was able to avoid all of the
irritation CBS' method causes its viewers because of its unique capacity to
invest the time necessary to cover each situation thoroughly. ESPN's expe-
rience in handling multiple events at once also endowed them with the
ability to distinguish when it was appropriate to cut away to a more com-
Another element that seems a bit odd in this year's coverage is the ab-
sence of Dick Vitale. Although he's still chattering unceasingly on ESPN
about being the best friend of each individual player in the tournament, his
expert insight and enlivening passion for the game is sorely missed in big-
While his hype may annoy some, it is undeniable that his style has be-
come synonymous with college basketball over the past few seasons and
has made him one of the most recognized analysts in sports broadcasting
CBS has tried to compensate for this absence with other big name ana-
lysts such as Bill Raftery and Billy Cunningham along with ex-hoopsters
Quinn Buckner and Bill Walton.
Buckner in particular has excelled, providing unbiased insight from an
intelligent, experienced perspective. Walton, however, has tripped himself
up too often with his spontaneous reactions, coming across as overly ag-
gressive. Saturday, for instance, he remarked that a player hung on the rim
"like an ape" after a dunk.
To take Vitale's spot as studio analyst, CBS chose the knowledgeable
Billy Packer and Mike Francesa. Both have sharp insight into the action on
the court and behind the scenes. However, CBS will never be able to replace
Vitale's incomparable fervor and appeal.
by Mitch Rubenstein
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan has added another
jewel to its crown of athletic excel-
lence. Throughout the year, fans of
the Maize and Blue cheered for a
Wolverine team that never lost.
This group of untouchables is the
Michigan Dance Team, more com-
monly known as the Michigan
The Wolverettes have become
Michigan's version of the Laker
Girls, the popular dance team that
entertains fans of the NBA's Los
Angeles franchise. This past season
they danced their way into the lime-
light during halftime of men's and
women's basketball games at
The dance team has come along
way since it began in 1987. The team
started as a kickline, cheering at
women's basketball games. As its
popularity grew, the Wolverettes
expanded their performances to in-
clude alumni activities and other
promotional events. The team
reached great heights in 1989 when
it performed at a Detroit Pistons'
playoff game. Since then, th,
Wolverettes have set their sightsW
even loftier goals.
"In the future, I would like to
see us down on the football field
performing during games," team
coach Angie Stewart said. "All Big
Ten dance teams are out on the field
except for ours.
The key ingredient to the
Wolverettes' success is their abili
to create spirit at all Universit
events. Though the Wolverettes en-
joy preforming for thousands, they
are content to dance in front of
The Wolverettes are holding
tryouts for next year's team in early
April. The coaches and captains plan
to build off of this year's success
and perform at even more Univer-
sity-sponsored events next year.
As the group continues to gain
exposure, the goal of appearing at
football games becomes more real-
istic. If this trend continues, the
Wolverettes may soon be perform-
ing in front of their largest audience
The Wolverettes performed this season during halftime of some
Michigan men's and women's basketball games this season.
Women tankers enter dangerous waters
by Tim Snolar
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's water
polo team faces its biggest chal-
lenge of its regular season this
weekend. The club will travel to
Slippery Rock University in Penn-
sylvania where it will face the host
school, Brown, and Bucknell. -
Slippery Rock is currently
ranked second in the nation, while
Brown holds down the fifth spot.
Bucknell, like Michigan, is hovering
just outside of the top-ten list.
"Slippery Rock is just about un-
beatable at home," Wolverines
coach Scott Russell said. "I can't
even remember the last time they
lost (in their home pool). We'll
just have to go in there and play our
defensive style of water polo and
While the Wolverines undoubt-
edly face an uphill struggle against
Slippery Rock, the scales won't be
tipped against them quite so decid-
edly in their other matches.
"Brown isn't quite as solid (as
Slippery Rock), and it will be a road
match for them too," Russell noted.
"Bucknell is presently playing at
about the same level as we are. This
weekend should give us a good per-
spective of what we will be up
against in the NCAA final tourna-
After repeatedly trouncing Big
10 rival Ohio State, the Wolverines
are looking forward to experiencing
a weekend of strong competition.
'Slippery Rock is
just about unbeatable
at home. I can't even
remember the last
time they lost (in their
"We've recently played some
teams that haven't been able to play
on the same skill level as us," senior
Kathleen Gerzevitz said. "The
teams we'll be facing this weekend
play at or slightly above our level,
so we'll have some good hard com-
petition. It's a great opportunity to
compete against these nationally-
ranked teams and show how well
we can really play.
"It's also a great learning exp
rience because Slippery Rock's coac
is very knowledgeable about the
sport and is often willing to
scrimmage against our team after
the competition. He often talks
with our coach about what he sees as
strengths and weaknesses in our
team and gives his advice about
Former Detroit Lions GM
Russ Thomas, a former Detroit Lions gen-
eral manager known for fiercely guarding the
team's treasury on behalf of owner William
Clay Ford, died at his home in Naples., Fla.
He was 66.
Thomas died in his sleep Monday night,
the team said.
His connection with the NFL club
spanned 42 years as a player, assistant coach,
controller, personnel director and general
manager from 1967-89.
As the team's chief negotiator, he devel-
oped a reputation as a tough bargainer deter-
mined to hold down salaries.
One of those who faced him across the
table was star running back Mel Farr, whom
Thomas signed in 1967. Farr played under
him from 1967-73.
"Russ Thomas was a tough but fair nego-
tiator," said Farr, now a Detroit-area auto
dealer. "I really thought he was too stingy
with the money. I thought he was cheap."
Farr said his opinion of Thomas changed
after he retired and went into business him-
self. As a company owner with a general
manager of his own, Farr said he came to see
the importance of controlling salaries and
"I came to really appreciate Russ Thomas
and the job he did for Bill Ford," said Farr.
He said they developed a friendship that
deepen over the years.
"Russ had compassion for people. He was
a genuine good guy. I'm going to miss him,"
Chuck Schmidt, who succeeded Thomas in
1989 after 14 years on the team's financial
side, said his mentor's toughness was just
part of the story.
"Russ was big in stature and he had a
toughness and determination about him,"
Schmidt said. At the same time, "he had a
very tender side to him."
"He was a very dear friend," said
Schmidt, pausing to cry. "I said it publicly
and privately that I was in debt to him."
Coach Wayne Fontes, a former Lions' de-
fensive coordinator tapped for the head
coaching job in 1988, said he was grateful to
Thomas for placing confidence in him.
"Russ always believed in me," said
Fontes. "Even after his leaving, we remained
very close. I liked Russ Thomas and I will
miss him. My family will miss him."
The Lions drafted Thomas out of Ohio
State University in 1946. He played tackle on
offense and defense from 1946-50 until a
knee injury ended his playing career.
In 1952, he was hired as a Lions assistant
Funeral arrangements were incomplete
Tuesday afternoon, the team said. He is sur-
vived by his wife, Dorothy, and two sons,
John and Jim.
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