First the bad news for coach Emory Ballard, whose Texas Aggies tackle fellow top-five Michigan in Saturday's NCAA televised football from Ann Arbor (WJLA-TV-7): A&M fullback George Woodard, who may or may not weigh 277 pounds but has a 42-inch waist and 30-inch thighs, entered the hospital in College Station yesterday for possible appendicitis.
Now the bad news for Bo Schembechler, Michigan's mentor: A reprimand from Big 10 commissioner Wayne Duke for unsportsmanlike conduct, with a warning that further violations would land him a one-game suspension. The rap stems from Michigan's 21-9 home win over Duke on Sept. 17, after which Schembechler crabbed over three delay-of-game penalties stuck on his worthies - by Atlantic Coast Conference officials who shared the game assignments with Big 10 whistlers and whom he concomitantly labeled incompetent . . .
O.K., Woody Hayes, no way to keep you out of a college football act. This week's You tell 'em, Woody" item: The head injury suffered by Buckeye QB Rod Gerald in the 29-28 loss to Oklahoma "worries me - it came from being tackled in the head. That's not unusual when you play Oklahoma."
Sooner defensive end Barry Burget, who made the hit, denied "head hunting - I know I'm not a dirty player." Coach Barry Switzer: "it was no different than any other tackle . . . by either team" . . .
And why, pray tell. ABC-TV, when the Maryland-Penn State game was down to playing out the string, and the Ohio-Okla, game being shown in most of the nation was winding into that wing-ding whirlwind. Sooner finish, didn't you switch to your Columbus cameras? Answer from New York: "We blew it . . . don't know why we didn't switch, just a shame we didn't . . . people have been chewed out" . . .
There were two great Lombardis in sport, and now Ernie Lombardi is gone too. A legend in his time as a National League catcher, 1931-47, old "Schnozzola" died at his Santa Cruz, Calif., home Monday night at 69. He may have been the slowest base runner ever, yet he won two NL batting titles (.342 in 1938 with Cincinnati, .330 in 1942 with Boston Braves) and compiled a lifetime average of .306 in 1,853 games. He caught Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters in 1938, but his most famous moment was one of ignominy - his so-called "snooze" at home plate during the fourth and final game of the Reds' 1939 Word Series loss to the Yankees. New York outfielder Charley Keller (now a Frederick, Md., standardbred horseman) decked him coming in with the second run of a 10th-inning rally and he was still dazed and down as Joe DiMaggio followed Keller home.
Albert King, Maryland's prize basketball freshman, has been pronounced recovered from mononucleosis and given a green light to resume normal activity; he lost 20 pounds. The Terps hope to have him built up and at nearly full speed when practice opens Oct. 15 . . .
Texas Stadium wasn't Sunday's only NFL melting pot. It was so warm inside the Pontiac Silverdome that the Lions needed oxygen on the sidelines during their win over New Orleans, and coach Tommy Hudspeth suspects his heroes were somebody's patsies. The NBA Pistons scheduled a Monday news conference announcing their move from Cobo Hall to the Silverdome in 1978, and one of the burning questions was whether the 'Dome would be warm enough for basketball in midwinter - it's been uncomfortably chilly at rock concerts, etc. So, lamented Hudspeth, "They had the heat turned on Friday" to make sure of Monday warmth . . .
And in case that electrical contraption doesn't keep tight end Charlie Sanders perking, the Lions have signed Bill Larson, the one-game Redskin ditched to bring back Jerry Smith.
Ed Garvey, with Larry Brown, took the NFL Players Association case against dangerous turf - artificial, that is - to a House hearing this week, saying NFLPA is "profoundly disappointed" with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for lack of action . . . But for bum turf, Sammamish High School's practice field in Bellevue, Wash., takes the cake. Seems pets and livestock walked there morning and evening, and as assistant coach Don Harney said. "Our guys put up with a lot of - all week long. And I mean --." Last week a running back had to leave practice early after being tackled into a pile of horse manure that covered his side from hip to ankle. "What else could we do?" said coach John Schnidele. "There's no way anybody was going to get near him, after that." Not so funny, "We've got a pretty heavy staph infection spreading through the team right now. We've lost one player because he's got a huge boil on his leg from all this, you know, --."