Big-time college football, RIP?

“The cost of assembling, equipping and maintaining a successful [college football] team has become so inflated that some schools are losing money and giving up the game in disgust….

“$275,000… is what it cost the University of North Carolina to stay big time last season. …

“North Carolina’s well-dressed footballer wears out one pair of the finest yellow kangaroo shoes a season at $18 a pair…. The squad wardrobe consists of 146 complete uniforms at $132 apiece; the latest-type plastic headgear costs nearly as much as a whole uniform did back in the 1920s. The team eats at a training table that costs $23,000 a year to set and travels by chartered plane….”

— From “Football is pricing itself out of business” in Life magazine (Oct. 16, 1950)

Heels’ big loss was big win for Vin Scully

Sports announcer Vin Scully traces his career break to a painful loss suffered by UNC’s football team.

It was 1949, and CBS radio had just agreed to give the 21-year-old Scully a tryout, calling in updates for Red Barber’s Saturday afternoon football roundup. Barber dispatched him to cover Maryland vs. Boston University at Fenway Park.  Despite the unexpectedly primitive conditions — without coat or gloves he had to stand on the roof in the cold wind with a hand mike and a long cord — Scully remembers the day fondly:

“I got lucky. The big game that day was supposed to be Notre Dame-North Carolina, but that turned into a rout (42-6), and my game was a thriller, so I was called in more often for reports.”

Barber was impressed with the novice’s performance, and by the next baseball season Scully had joined him in broadcasting Dodgers games — which he still does today, 62 years later.


Daily Tar Heel: ‘Old college try,’ R.I.P.

“In his nine years as coach at the gridiron-conscious University of Maryland, Big Jim Tatum saw his Terrapins cover themselves with glory: they won 71 games, lost only 13, played five bowl games. It was only natural, therefore, to expect that when Big Jim announced that he had accepted a $15,000 coaching job at the University of North Carolina, Maryland should be plunged in gloom. But the gloom was hardly universal — nor was there cheering at Chapel Hill….

“Roared North Carolina’s Tar Heel on Tatum’s imminent arrival: ‘Now that we have this parasitic monster of open professionalism in our midst, let’s not hold on to any delusions about it. Let’s not think that it will fail to dye the whole fabric of athletics at the university. Let’s not think either that it will fail to take its toll on the academic health of the school. Let’s not believe that Jim Tatum . . . will play the game any more for the old college try here than he did at Maryland. He will play to win and win alone.’ ”

— From Time magazine, January 23, 1956

First at Bethel… silliest at Grant’s Tomb?

“The tomb of Ulysses S. Grant on Manhattan’s Riverside Drive was closely guarded over the weekend by damyankee police who had heard that North Carolina rebels, in New York for the Notre Dame game, were planning to hoist the Confederate flag over the shrine.”

— From Time magazine, Nov. 21, 1949