SI Vault
Edited by Richard O'Brien
December 07, 1992
Plucked Turkey
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December 07, 1992


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Plucked Turkey

A year ago, when SI published a story on sports betting services (1-900-Ripoffs, Nov. 18, 1991), one of the touts we contacted was Mike Warren. We reported that Warren had correctly picked 12 of 16 football games during our investigation. We also pointed out that his customers had complained of hundreds of unauthorized phone charges to their credit cards. Still, Warren chose to use our story as an endorsement, trumpeting in one ad: "I KNOW IT... YOU KNOW IT. NOW SPORTS ILLUSTRATED KNOWS IT. MIKE WARREN IS #1!"

We don't know it.

In fact, Warren proved to be less than No. 1 when SI asked a source last week to subscribe to Warren's service. Warren sent our man a flier pushing his "Thanksgiving Bash 2-Day Turkey Shoot," his "finest holiday offering," which, the flier claimed, has produced winners 77% of the time over the last decade. "I love Thanksgiving," crowed Warren in his ad, "because Las Vegas gets flooded with 'dumb money' from novices and casual players.... A professional handicapper can just fleece this flock with easy victories."

For $150 Warren gave our man four picks. Three games played last Thursday yielded one winner—Dallas—and two losses—Detroit and Texas. When our source called back on Friday, a sheepish Warren representative gave him the final pick—Oklahoma (+9) over Nebraska. The representative then offered a bonus pick—LSU (+4) over Arkansas—to help our source recover some of Thursday's dumb money. Both of Friday's picks were losers, too. After Warren's 1-for-5 performance, his subscribers must have felt like the turkeys.

When another SI source called Warren's service to ask about the results of the Turkey Shoot, a Warren representative hemmed and hawed and said, "We kinda split." Then he pressured our source to sign up for Warren's service.

Warren's ads implore his prospective customers to "CALL 1-800-MIKE-WINS NOW!" Well, after his Turkey Shoot, it's more like 1-800-MIKE-WINS NOT!

Bruce's Fall

Once again the dismissal of a coach has revealed a troubling side of college football. When Colorado State announced on Nov. 23 that it had fired coach Earle Bruce, the university said only that Bruce had "created a climate of intimidation and fear" in the Ram program and that he had failed to fulfill his contract. The next day a group of Colorado State boosters gathered in support of the 61-year-old Bruce—who in his four seasons with the Rams had revived a struggling program—and drew up a petition calling for his reinstatement. One booster, a local automobile dealer, demanded that three cars he had lent to the athletic department be returned. University president Albert Yates, who is black, received racially abusive telephone calls complaining about the dismissal. One caller, said Yates, threatened to kill him and his family.

Forced by the booster backlash to justify their actions, Colorado State officials released a detailed list of the allegations that led to Bruce's dismissal, including:

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