Before the sporting world gets too deeply engrossed in business as usual, there are a host of resolutions its inhabitants ought to make - and then keep - for 1977.
In no special order, be it resolved:
That major league baseball commits itself to a Washington franchise for the 1978 season.
That Muhammad Ali surprise us all by not fighting again. His skills have faded beyond repair and, besides, Howard Cosell and boxing are old enough to make it on their own by now.
That Al McGUire change his mind about retiring as Marquette coach after the season. Even though this on-court tantrums sometimes hamper his teams, McGuire is the sort of outspoken leader his profession needs.
That Lou Saban be allowed to switch jobs only on a month-to-month basis. Even leases run longer than 19 days or however long he was at the University of Cincinnati before jumping to the University of Miami.
That some patriotic soul quietly slip into ABC headquarters and destroy the tapes of Superstars, Superteams, Superbores and whatever else the network has on file in those areas.
That ABC somehow be forced to quit using its telecast of live events as billboards for its future fluff. Soon the announcers should be saying: "We interrupt these promos for a few seconds of what you tuned in to see."
That Congress remove baseball's antitrust exemption regardless of whether Washington gets a franchise or not. It is time baseball began abiding by the same rules used for other businesses.
That Super Bowl be forever banned from the language after this one. The National Football League managed to survive quite nicely when its showcase event simply was billed "the NFL championship" and it ought to return that format quickly.
That it be included in Chuck Knox' contract that the Rams take at least two unpredictable offensive acts per game, such as going for a touchdown from about six inches in the NFL title game against the Vikings instead of the chip-shot field-goal try that was blocked.
That George Allen be banned from watching game films for a week each time he fails to name his starting quarterback by the Wednesday before regular-season games. And that he and the players mature enough to realise that most outside criticism is not as tough as the game films.
That the NFL will not conduct a college draft this year. It is time one of the major sports experienced something like this, so meaningful rules can be written that protect the teams while allowing players a measure of free movement.
That Jerry Kapstein must sign on one benchwarmer for every three superstars in his athletic stable. And that Kapstein and Charles Q. Finley be matched against Carroll Rosenbloom and Pete Rozelle in "Almost Anything Goes."
That the Fonz handles play by play for ABC's baseball telecasts this year.
That the International Olympic Committee begins serious work on determining one permanent site for its Games and rules to make them as free from politics as possible.
That President-elect Carter and President Ford's Commission on Olympic Sports cooperate on solutions to help solve the amateur sports mess in the U.S. And that the American people discover a spirit that will make those reforms a reality.
That the Indianapolis Motor Speedway stores those 33 trackside fuel tanks below ground on race day before some out-of-control car causes a holocaust.
That Joe Thomas and Ted Marchibroda resolve their differences and realize that together they can make the Colts a superior team for years. Neither is likely to be able to accomplish that chore alone.
That Joe Inman wins one of the major golf tournaments, so the public will know there is at least one emotional, caring fellow among those double-knit robots.
That there be more week-night telecasts of NBA games.
That the Bullets find some way to keep from losing games to opposition guards. Basketball still as a big man's game, isn't it?
That Maryland and other major-college football powers be forced to keep their schedules flexible enough to play at least two games a year against teams of their quality.
That the NCAA raise its minimum wage for athletes, from the books-and-tuition arrangement to something in proportion with the income the athletes generate. Also, that the NCAA modify its transfer rule to accommodate athletes genuinely interested in getting a chance to play at another school rather than assuring some factor the national championship.
That the World Series must be completed by the second Monday in october.
That the American and National leagues be realigned into several divisions, on a regional basis, with the designated hitter operative at all levels of the game.
That Bowie Kuhn throw out the first ball at the opening of the White House Softball League.