James Has a Notion Where Blame Belongs


So who’s to blame for the wholesale raids some agents make on college football teams? Coach Don James of the University of Washington says college football ought to take a close look at itself first.

“You know we’ve got an agent problem, but we’ve also got our own problem,” James said. “Those agents give out money, but it’s our players who are taking it. It’s hard for me to sit back and blame just one group, like the NFL or Norby Walters.

“I think you’ve got to start blaming the Cris Carters, the Reggie Rogers, whoever. Players have got a responsibility to follow the rules, too.”


Rogers, who starred for James last season at Washington, was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions and admitted afterward that he accepted money from Walters while he still had college eligibility. Walters also gave money to Carter, which made the Ohio State receiver ineligible this season.

James said he is consulting with state Sen. George Fleming of Seattle about a bill to be introduced in the 1988 Washington legislature that would make it illegal for amateur athletes to receive money.

Fleming was a star at Washington and played for the Oakland Raiders in 1961.

Trivia quiz: What did Joe DiMaggio do in his last at-bat to end his 56-game hitting streak. (Answer below).

Is it scuffball or baseball this season? Chicago Cubs Manager Gene Michael accused Houston Astros reliever Dave Smith of scuffing baseballs in a game last week. The reactions seem to be getting shorter and more to the point.

Said Michael about Smith: “I saw him take (the ball) out of his glove and put it in his pants.”

Said Smith about Michael: “(A) pain in the butt.”

Is that what they mean about good location?

Numbers Game: Newcomer Rick Reuschel is the 40th player to wear a Giant uniform this season.


Numbers Game, Part II: Teams walking four or more batters in a game have a winning percentage of .400. Teams walking fewer than four batters a game have a winning percentage of .576.

It’s been a short, two-year downhill ride for New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing. Previously troubled by aching knees and his former coach, Hubie Brown, Ewing is getting different treatment now--even less respect.

Al Bianchi, the Knicks’ new general manager, told the New York Times that for the right price, he would trade anybody--including Ewing. The once-untouchable Ewing can now be had in the right deal, right along with his $3-million annual salary.

Trivia answer: DiMaggio grounded into a double play.

Many experts are picking Boris Becker to win the U.S. Open tennis tournament, beginning Tuesday at the National Tennis Center in New York, but Becker thinks he knows one player who won’t win it--John McEnroe.

“It’s a little too difficult for him to go all the way,” Becker said.

The 19-year-old Becker may not have won the Open yet, but it hasn’t hurt him much. Business Week says that Becker is the top-grossing athlete in endorsements in 1987. Becker’s deals with Deutsche Bank, Puma, Coca-Cola and Polaroid will bring him an estimated $5 million this year.

Becker said his ideas about wealth and tennis have changed slightly with success. “The main thing to do is go out and play good tennis,” he said. “Then, when you go home at night, you can think about the money.”


Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, after challenger Tyrell Biggs told reporters that he has a plan for beating Tyson: “Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time.”