Nude Relays barely faze UF president

April 03, 1991|By Jack Wheat | Jack Wheat,Gainesville (Fla.) Sun

In the wake of Sunday's second annual surreptitious Nude Relays at the University of Florida, university president John Lombardi seems unperturbed.

Skinny-racing might be illegal for all he knows, Lombardi said Monday, but since the Nude Relays by college track team members and other runners apparently did no harm, he's not worried about them.

"In the range of crises that confront us, I can't say that I put that at the top of my priority list," Lombardi said.

"I'm sure there's something wrong with it, but I haven't found out what it is yet. Nobody mentioned fraternity hazing. Nobody mentioned scholarship athletes," said Lombardi, seldom at a loss for words and humor in the right doses.

He didn't linger over reports that athletes from 10 university track teams -- in town for the 48th annual Florida Relays -- ran nude early Sunday at the university track.

"There were no pictures or anything," he said. "That's a bizarre takeoff, no pun intended, on streaking."

Participants reported that about 45 men and women ran in the chilly contest at the unlit track. Though no officials kept time, contenders from Villanova University in Pennsylvania reportedly took the match.

Lombardi said that as university president he should have at least been invited. "If I had known, I would have watched. Nobody informed me about this."

He also was concerned to hear that it was the second annual running of the Nude Relays. "I was here a year ago," and nobody told him then either.

"But next year I'll be more vigilant," Lombardi said. "Maybe they'll issue me an invitation. I don't know that I'd run, but I'd come and watch."

He said, "I wish they'd issue a release. Then we could be out there with cameras and film and do it up right."

Lombardi has commented before on NCAA regulations, but Monday he said that nothing about the unauthorized race should get Florida in trouble with the NCAA.

"As long as they're not scholarship athletes, it's probably OK," he said. "If they're on scholarships, it's probably a violation of something and we'd have to self-report -- there's probably a rule in there against racing without any clothes on, in the index under nudity."

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