IN stepping down as executive director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association last week, Dick Schultz became a sacrifical lamb on the altar of big-time college sports.
After it surfaced that he was athletic director of the University of Virginia when improper interest-free loans were made to some athletes, Schultz's ability to spearhead national reform was undermined.
Though a popular leader, Schultz resigned despite what some viewed as tenuous connections to minor infractions. "I was really concerned that if I stayed on, there was a risk this could damage the credibility of the NCAA," he said, even while denying any guilt.
The infractions occurred on Schultz's watch, though, so regardless of whether he knew of them or not, he had to assume some responsibility
Schultz has agreed to stay on until a successor is found. One person mentioned as a candidate is Judy Sweet, who just completed an elected term as president of the NCAA. She is the athletic director at the University of California, San Diego, a Division III (small) school. Baseball TV plan rankles some
"Baseball giveth, so it had better not take away," perhaps best summarizes criticism of a new plan for major-league TV coverage. Significantly, some flak came from Congress, which expects baseball to act in the public's interest in exchange for the game's antitrust exemption.
Certainly, providing limited national coverage of the league championship series would not be in the interest of serious fans accustomed to seeing every pitch of every game.
The idea that some playoff games would be played simultaneously and televised regionally in a joint venture with ABC and NBC flies in the face of current viewer expectations. Some observers suspect the format could lead to pay-per-view options for those cut off from network coverage. An NBC official, however, says the plan saves playoff games from being switched to cable because of falling ratings.
Complicating baseball's decision was an 11th-hour bid by CBS this weekend to get back into the negotiations with a two-year deal. Stay tuned. Cash incentives for Olympians
Winning Olympic medals may soon come with a direct financial sweetener for American athletes. In descending order, gold, silver, and bronze medalists would receive $15,000, $10,000, and $7,500 under a plan announced by the United States Olympic Committee last week. The plan, which is similar to those of other countries, is expected to receive formal approval at a board of directors meeting in June.
The payments are designed to encourage outstanding performances and make it easier for athletes of fewer means to stay in training. Those who already make large sums professionally, such as basketball and tennis players, probably will be asked to donate their bonuses to sports development programs. Current eligibility rules prevent college athletes from accepting money.