MSA served its own interests best, and for that, departure is overdue


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You can believe all that blather about the venerable Maryland Scholastic Association being a spit-and-polish outfit doing a super job if you want to, but there are 75 years worth of evidence to the contrary.

This old boys' network, which has been dead for years but didn't have the good sense to lie down until voted out of existence the other night, was a model of exclusion: Girls play sports? Since when?

It never really brought kids from the public, private and prep schools together in the sports that counted, but consistently allowed its members to go any which way their self-interest dictated.

The MSA was completely confounded by racial crisis, standing idly by as its Catholic schools traipsed off to play hoops by themselves for nearly two decades before well-meaning athletic directors forced the issue and tried to revive the model. The fact Baltimore City was never involved in state championship play until recently is certainly one for Ripley's "Believe It Or Not."

Good riddance.

* In the short span of 10 minutes yesterday, Maryland's hyper football coach, Mark Duffner, assured listeners a half-dozen times that the Terps "are working like crazy" to correct the situation that sees Maryland giving up a touchdown roughly every two minutes on Saturdays between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

What this suggests is there's need for a time-motion study in College Park since all the work obviously isn't getting results. Last season, the club gave up 33 points a game, and this year, that number's up to 51 with Florida State a pretty good bet to post triple figures Nov. 6. The Seminoles are averaging 600 yards total offense a game against good defenses.

* Yes, the crowd at the Michigan-Notre Dame game last Saturday (106,851) was the largest gathering the Wolverines ever choked in front of, beating out several Rose Bowl pratfalls.

* It's hard to believe Betsy King has been on the lead or tied for it on the last day of eight LPGA events this year and hasn't posted a victory. She won three times last year, twice via playoff, to raise her career victory total to 28, two shy of Hall of Fame status.

* Judging from the scores of Orioles games lately -- 14-5, 11-3, 9-12, etc. -- it suggests that if and when the town gets an NFL expansion franchise, the Rhinos (or whoever) won't be the top-scoring club here.

* George Welsh, whose Virginia team plays Georgia Tech on ESPN tonight (8), says games on school nights are all right, "just as long as it happens only once in a while. It's tough on the kids, especially academically, but the exposure and money certainly help."

Tech doesn't even start school 'til next Wednesday and has been practicing twice daily, but the Cavaliers have already claimed the championship of Maryland by pounding the Terps and Navy.

* It took awhile, but the expression turnabout is fair play appears to be proving out as far as baseball is concerned. Recall, the Giants recovered from a 13 1/2 -game deficit to effect the "Miracle of Coogan's Bluff" a while back (1951) and now, on the distant coast, they're in the process of being cast as the party being run down as the Braves made up a dozen games in a month.

* Oh-oh, three South American teams are tied in a World Cup qualifying tournament presently, and only two of them will advance to the big show here next year. Making the situation doubly menacing is the fact that, in soccer, just as many people are killed, maimed and injured during victory celebrations as in defeat.

* The NBA's getting rid of its Legends game during All-Star Game Weekend and replacing it with a rookie game is stupid. History is an essential ingredient in every sport and to play it down is short-sighted and hurtful in the long run.

* The way promoter Don King thinks, all the publicity surrounding the controversial draw between Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker last Friday is at least as good as the lead spot on all the network evening news shows. Thing is, prospective fans are always turned off by Grade 3 disgraces.

* Baseball players in Pittsburgh must be mystified as teammates like Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Doug Drabeck depart the Golden Triangle in search of riches while, over at the Igloo, the Penguins are passing out big bucks left and right. The hockey club has five of the top 25 salaried employees in the NHL.

* If the Texas Rangers really wanted to win the American League West, it could be argued, they wouldn't have centered their pitching plans for the entire season to accommodate the farewell tour of Nolan Ryan.

* Anyone who even reads one "Tarkanian-NCAA" story should be made to explain why he or she isn't putting his or her time to better use. It's the equivalent to tuning in the late-night "Chevy Chase Show" on Fox Network.

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