The behavior of crowds at basketball games seems to be reaching a new low this year. As yet, no player has been hit in the eye with a heated penny, but the season is young. There was a time when every college area had one particular gym that visiting teams referred to as "the snake pit"; today, nearly every court is a snake pit for visiting teams.
What happened to UCLA at Duke University's field house last week is fairly typical. Throughout the game, about 9,000 locals screamed in chorus: " UCLA, go to hell!" Whenever a UCLA player stepped to the foul line to attempt a free throw, the crowd whistled shrilly. Before the game, as each Uclan was introduced, instead of encouraging a semi-polite round of applause Duke cheerleaders led the home folks in a raucous "Who's he?"
What to do about this? How to control volatile collegiate spirits and restore an element of sportsmanship to basketball? It's really very simple. Crowd behavior at basketball games is the responsibility of the home coach. All that he has to do is take the public-address microphone after the first shout of "go to hell" or the first round of whistles and announce: "If this audience does not begin to behave I will take my team off the floor and forfeit the game."
It's been done before.
STAY OUT OF THE GUTTER
The Milby Memorial Methodist Church of Houston, like many another church, has a bowling league. In second place, at latest report, is a team called the Holy Rollers.
The Spartans are going to the Rose Bowl—by the legion. Michigan State's trek to Pasadena may well be the largest transfer of people ever for a Rose Bowl event. Athletic Director Biggie Munn says that 7,500 students already have purchased tickets, and at least 4,000 alumni and friends are expected.
Special group trips will transport 2,900 Spartans to Los Angeles in five jets, nine prop planes, eight Pullman cars, 13 coach cars and seven buses. The university itself has already reserved more than 4,000 beds in the Los Angeles area. One final statistic: officials have had to subdivide the traditional New Year's Eve dinner dance into several smaller, more intimate parties with only 1,000 to 1,200 people at each.
Things are not as bad as they appear around Millersville State College in Pennsylvania. All those guys on crutches are not leftovers from a train wreck—it's just that the swimming team is back in training. "Walking with crutches is a tremendous muscle builder for the upper part of the body," says Coach John Apple, who has instructed his swimmers to crutch it to and from classes before practice. Whether the routine will really help the team remains to be seen, but one can guess that it didn't do much for the woman driver who stopped at an intersection to wave a poor afflicted Millersville student across the street, only to see him tuck his crutches under his arm and sprint.