If financial writing was on football wall, why did Towson wait so long to read it?

SOME IN THE Towson State football family are mad as hell and are asking tough questions about the possibility the school will drop the sport:

How did this crisis develop almost overnight? When it was too late to do anything about it? How can the state give the University of Maryland $9 million for its stadium last week while a mere $257,000, two-year deficit jeopardizes Towson's program? How can James Madison, a state school in Virginia, manage its $2 million football budget but Towson not its modest $600,000 one? And why did Towson move up to Division I-AA in the first place if it couldn't afford it?


The open forum today at 2:30 in the Chesapeake Room of the University Union was expected to be very emotional.

* College basketball scouts from all over the country will beat a path to Baltimore this winter to recruit a high school player named Dana Johnson. She's a 6-foot-2 senior at Western -- and one of the top prospects in the country.


* Out of the country for two weeks are Loyola College assistant coach Don Zimmerman and Lax World store owner Jim Darcangelo. They left yesterday for Japan, where they'll be holding lacrosse clinics.

* Nolan Rogers, who served as general manager of the U.S. lacrosse team that won the World Games in Australia last summer, predicts Japan will be an international force by the time the '94 Games are played in England. "The Japanese played exhibitions in Australia," says Rogers. "One night I heard a ball bouncing outside my window at 3 a.m. The Japanese had a game in the morning so they practiced all night. These people are relentless."

* If you think talk-show callers here are rough, you ought to hear them in Philadelphia. Fans there are screaming that it's time to stop talking about Randall Cunningham's potential. They want results. Now. Funny, but in the Eagles game I watched last week, Cunningham led the late drive in Dallas and threw the touchdown pass -- to Dunbar's Calvin Williams -- with 44 seconds remaining that gave Philly a 21-20 victory. All this helps you understand why a lot of athletes and coaches don't listen.

* Willis Johnson, who was an outstanding athlete at Gilman and Poly in the '50s and has spent his adult life as a golf pro, plays 20 events a year on the lucrative Senior Tour. Willis, who has moved back to Baltimore from Salisbury, says Lee Trevino is the best guy on that tour. Lee's also winning more money than the others this year. He's made $922,352; Charles Coody is second on the earnings list with $665,979.

* Jeff Torborg's winning the American League Manager of the Year Award by 128 points over Tony La Russa's 72 does not break the hearts of too many journalists -- and partly for a reason you'd not suspect. George Will in his best seller, "Men At Work," proclaimed La Russa the reigning genius in his field. While Will is a bona fide intellectual, his is hardly the last word on baseball.

As one AL manager said when he brought his club here last summer, "George knows more than we do now." Many critics are overly impressed by the fact that both La Russa and his Oakland GM, Sandy Alderson, are lawyers. That sure didn't help 'em in the World Series.

* Notre Dame's Rocket Ismail is not only the most explosive player in college football; he's the most explosive I've ever heard of. Ismail, who will face Navy Saturday in Giants Stadium, has 15 career touchdowns. Average distance on the scoring plays: 63.5 yards.

* Those Navy athletes lifting weights at Annapolis yesterday afternoon weren't football players building themselves up for the Irish. They were members of the rifle team. Weights? For rifle? Explains coach Ray Anthony (no relation to the old band leader): "Our competitions last for 6 1/2 hours, and the rifles weigh 15 pounds. Sure, we lift weights. We do a lot of running, too." The Middies open their season Saturday against Johns Hopkins, Philadelphia Pharmacy and Temple.