C. Fraser Smith, veteran political reporter for The Baltimore Sun and the author of the book, "Lenny, Lefty, and the Chancellor," will speak at Western Maryland College on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in McDaniel Lounge.
Mr. Smith's book, about the death of the late University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias, received widespread praise for its forthright look at the pressures that a major college basketball program can put on players, coaches, and university presidents.
At WMC, Mr. Smith will discuss the book and its impact on the continuing reform movement in intercollegiate sports. The lecture, sponsored by Western Maryland's physical education department, is free and open to the public.
"Lenny, Lefty, and the Chancellor" details the aftermath of Mr. Bias' fatal drug overdose a day after he was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1986. The ensuing scandal cost coach Lefty Driesell his job and led Chancellor John Slaughter to resign only a few years into his tenure as UM president.
The book examines how the university has since remodeled its sports program in spite of some intimidating obstacles.
Dr. Alex Ober, professor of physical education at Western Maryland and author of a favorable review of the book published earlier this year in the Evening Sun, said recently that the Bias affair was a watershed event that stirred athletic programs at colleges and universities across the country.
"Every school was affected by Len Bias' death," Dr. Ober said.
"At Western Maryland we've always had our priorities right about the relationship between academics and athletics, but the influence is there. The big colleges copy the pros, and the small colleges copy the big colleges. What happened at the University of Maryland has not been forgotten."