Something is very definitely amiss when, during these tough economic times, someone at the University of Maryland allows the non-revenue sports of swimming, tennis and golf to carry a combined budget of a half million dollars. Worse, now comes athletic director Andy Geiger entertaining proposals that these "lifetime" sports be dropped.
Uh, Andy, just get rid of the scholarships, cut out the grandiose trips, set up reasonable-length regional schedules and have coaches double up when they're not teaching.
It's ridiculous to think that on a campus of 25,000 you couldn't come up with pretty good teams in all of these sports simply by putting a note on bulletin boards. And these are kids who show up with their own equipment and don't expect much, too.
* Great idea from sportswriter Skip Bayless, faxing his column to subscribers all over Dallas now that his former employer the Times Herald is no more. Word has it that if Bayless ever goes to jail, he's going to tap his thoughts out on the bars in Morse code for those interested.
* That woman coaching at Arizona, Joan Bonvicini, must be something else standing in front of a blackboard with a hunk of chalk in her hand. Check out the records of her teams the last 12 years at Cal State Long Beach: 28-6, 27-7, 24-6, 24-7, 25-6, 28-3, 29-5, 33-3, 28-6, 30-5, 25-9 (boo!), 24-8. That totals 325-71 (.821), 10 WCAA, PCAA and Big West titles and a couple of Final Four appearances.
* Those scallawags over at HBO lied to us. Months ago, executive producer Ross Greenburg promised his outfit would no longer go the George Foreman as a chow hound route while touting Big George's upcoming bouts. Forsooth, there's Foreman ambling down the street gulping burgers and pizza in promotions hyping his bout with Alex Stewart next month.
* The most telling statistic to cross this desk lately is the one revealing that Gregg Olson pitches to a 1.30 earned run average in night games and a 6.75 ERA during daylight. Time to change his nickname from "Otter" to "Dracula."
* NFL owners, those wowsers concerned totally with P&L (profit and loss) statements,almost defy description. For years, they took their Competition Committee's recommendation to get rid of instant replay and retained it. Finally, the committee figures since we've had it for six years, let's continue working to make it better and the owners turn around and zap it.
The thing is, fans have seen how valuable an aid reviewing a play can be -- for instance, a touchdown by Art Monk being rescinded in the Super Bowl -- and, suddenly, it's no more. We haven't heard the last of this, particularly with television showing replays of apparent officiating errors.
* Back when she was still a teen-ager, Lynn Jennings said matter-of-factly one day, "When I'm 30, I'll be the best in the world." The magical number arrived a year ago and, guess what, she had just about made it.
The individual winner of the world cross country championship the last two years, Lynn defends her title at the Worlds Saturday in Boston and this race, together with the track 10-K and marathon in the Olympics, are the events that determine numero uno.
The program will include a men's 12-K, a 6-K for women and male and female junior events. Jenny Howard of Fallston is on the U.S. girls team.
* One of the best (if unnoticed) tennis tournaments of the year is currently raging on the peninsula of spring training and, for you folks who can take only so much of college hoops, ABC will be sending along the women's final Saturday (1 p.m.) and the men's final Sunday (4 p.m.).
One of the commentators at the Lipton International will be Arthur Ashe and, it was felt, a good question to ask an old champion and expert on the game was, what players do you enjoy most watching. Without hesitation, Ashe answered, "Jim Courier and Steffi Graf [likely finalists].
"Courier is a joy to watch because he's a threat anytime with his ability to play on any surface, a rarity these days. As for Graf, that forehand is, as far as I'm concerned, the biggest stroke in the history of women's tennis."
* After much study, consultation with astrologers, palm and tea-leaf readers and the inevitable flip of the coin, the pick here for NCAA hoop tourney fame and fortune is Tulane. What a story. A team not even in existence three seasons after a point-shaving and narcotics scandal. Its path out of the Southeast isn't that tough: St. John's, Oklahoma State, Arizona or Michigan, Ohio State or North Carolina, Kansas or Arkansas and Duke, Kentucky, UCLA or Indiana. Pshaw! Go, Green Wave, make Gallopin' Eddie Price proud of you.