Franklin Jacobs left considerable confusion in his wake Friday night after his leap of 7 feet 6 inches turned out to be good only for second place in the high jump in the national Invitational indoor meet at College Park. There was no confusion in his mind, only frustration.
After Jacobs recorded his personal best, 22 inches over his height, he decided not to jump any more, regardless of whether Greg Joy, who had passed at 7-6, succeeded in clearing a world indoor record of 7-7.
When Joy missed badly on his second attempt, Jacobs prepared to accept congratulations for his first major championship. Then, when Joy went over on his final try, leaving the bar wobbling, Jacobs in reflex disappointment said, "What do I have to do to win a meet?"
Jacobs, although passing on his first two tries at 7-7, could have taken his third attempt and, if successful won the meet. Even had he missed, he was still eligible for two tries at 7-7 3/4. Instead, he picked up his gear and walked right out the back door of Cole Field House.
Jacobs' decision to go no higher was a combination of a problem with torn cartilage in his right knee and a desire to peak for his avowed goal of 7-8 in the Millrose Games on Jan. 27.
Jacobs, who takes off on his left foot, has experienced the cartilage damage since last winter. On Tuesday afternoon of last week, he aggravated the injury making a sudden turn in a basketball game. He was on crutches Thursday and was doubtful about competing Friday, so much so that meet director Bob Comstock had scratched his name from the list of competitors.
After a last-minute decision to jump, Jacobs was brillian, clearing 7-6 on his first try without touching the bar.
The Millrose meet is a special goal for Jacobs because his competition will include all three Olympic medalists -- Poland's Jacek Wszola, gold; Joy, silver, and Dwight Stones, bronze.
Enhancing Jacobs' frustration Friday was the fact that he had the NCAA title seemingly won in June until Kayle Arney of Arizona State cleared 7-6 on his third try, and appeared to be the AAU champion until Stones flopped over 7-6 1/4 to beat him.