A little Sunday smorgasbord:
I said it before the season started, I'll repeat it now, and I'll still be saying it when the last football is put in storage for the winter. As an old grad, as a member of the M Club and as one who has covered University of Maryland football impartially for more than 30 years, it is my unqualified feeling that, whatever the final won-lost record shows this year, Joe Krivak's contract as head coach should be extended.
He is a good coach and a good, honest, decent human being who is running a sound, scandal-free program, which is exactly what the university needs at this stage as it tries to get out from under its National Collegiate Athletic Association sanctions and other difficulties within the athletic system, none of which was of Krivak's making.
To expect his record to be better for his term as head coach is being unrealistic. Bobby Ross saw the handwriting on the wall, which is the reason he left. At the time, he wasn't leaving behind as much talent as a lot of people thought, and he knew problems in the basketball program would spill over and make football recruiting more difficult if only because the university's sports program as a whole would get a bad name. And, he realized the school was making admission requirements even tougher for athletes than those set down by the NCAA. That's a handicap. It means Krivak isn't able to play from the same deck as most other coaches.
Recently, Jack Scarbath, a former Maryland All-American quarterback who still has close ties to the program and who supports Krivak, made the point that 13 players on the University of Virginia squad, eight of them starters, were recruited by Krivak, but couldn't be admitted to Maryland because its academic requirements are tougher than the NCAA's.
"These weren't bad kids, or real poor students," said Scarbath. "They'll do OK at Virginia, and they'll probably graduate, but they were just a little below the present requirements at Maryland. Joe doesn't have an easy job, but he is making progress. He deserves more time."
Tom Matte, a former Baltimore Colt who now does color for Maryland games on radio and who makes a point of visiting with the coaches every week, recently gave Krivak the ultimate compliment when he said, "If I had a son interested in college football, I'd want him to play for Joe. He's a good coach, a heck of a guy, and he is interested in seeing that his kids do well both in school and life. He is just what Maryland needs right now."
It says here that you can't put it better than that.
A word about three stalwart owners -- George Steinbrenner, Al Davis and Bob Irsay:
It was interesting to read the other day that Steinbrenner is embarrassed and bitter over his lifetime ban from day-to-day operation of the Yankees. He should have thought of that when he was embarrassing baseball, the Yankees and a lot of people who worked for him over the years.
When Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973, he said: "I won't be involved in the everyday operations of the club at all. I've got enough headaches with my shipbuilding company."
What a laugh that turned out to be.
Steinbrenner personally chose the new high command of managing partner Robert Nederlander, general manager Gene Michael and manager Stump Merrill. I wonder how long commissioner Fay Vincent will be able to keep Steinbrenner out of the soup. Do you think he might call them now and then?
Since Nederlander's experience lies in the Broadway show business, maybe he can bring back "Damn Yankees" and let Steinbrenner play the part of Joe Hardy, only this time Hardy can play for the Yankees instead of the Senators. They need him.
It's a crying shame what a guy like Al Davis can get away with in playing cities against each other, auctioning his franchise, then taking it back for a better offer, demanding millions up front and not having to give it back when he changes his mind. We know sports is big business now, but does it have to be that sleazy?
Davis encouraged Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and Irwindale to woo him and throw money at him, letting them all think they had a chance. Then, he went to the highest bidder, as always.
Once he said he never wanted to leave Oakland, so what has he done? Left it twice. And when he did, he said, "For the fans of Oakland I'll always have great love. I'm a great believer in nostalgia, a great believer in history."
Sure he is -- as long as it's covered with money that is headed in his direction.
And, benevolent Bob Irsay? When he packed the vans in the dead of night during a snowstorm and sneaked the Colts off to Indianapolis, my reaction was that some day Baltimore would get another franchise and be far better off to be out from under the Irsay rule, because he'd never win a championship, or even run a decent organization.
Nothing that has happened since has caused me to change that opinion.