"The Great Jubiliation -- We're Off Probation" celebration was on tap last night at an East Lansing suds spot following the Michigan State-Indiana basketball game. The three-year probation, for recruiting violations, applied only to football, but left the 1978 Big Ten cochampion Spartans no show for TV, no go for bowls. So what, said Athletic Director Joe Kearney, if the NCAA has notified him the punishment expired Jan. 8, instead of Jan. 19 as supposed -- "'isll be down there, along with everybody else... It's going to be just like New Year's -- a countdown to midnight and everything." With maybe a celebration thrown in that the Big Buckeye, who many Michiganders are sure was the tattler, also has been counted out.
Bowie Kuhn has been going around saying how the day can't be far off when spiraling player salaries will create a baseball crisis, and fresh in from Chicago, the day grows nearer: The Cubs report that for 1978, in which they drew 1,525,311 customers, their fourth-best attendance ever, they lost money, $59,558. Owner William Wrigley wrote stockholders: "... it becomes more and more obvious that the present-day cost of fielding a team may well exceed what people are willing to pay to see them play."
Today's Ted Turnerism in the Atlanta owner's salary squabble with Brave third baseman Bob Horner that has boiled since Horner made NL rookie of the year: "The only way I'll give him $300,000 this year is if he can make that cute blond hair curl without going to a hairdresser to get a permanent."
When the Baltimore Metros folded out of the Continental Basketball Association the other day, CBA Commissioner Jim Drucker noted that Atlantic City would supplant that former Washington club by buying an "expansion franchise." With it, he said, go the contracts of the Baltimore players except one assigned to Lancaster, Pa., and one to Maine. Good luck, Maine Lumberjacks, with Joe Pace.
SCORE, the tip sheet that (as did Post columnist Dave Kindred) picked last year's Dallas 27, Denver 10 score on the nose, predicts Super Bowl 13: Dallas 20, Pittsburgh 13... Hollywood Henderson's Super Cowboy act reminds us there is considerable Washington connection at Henderson's alma mater, Langston of Oklahoma. We counted something like 21 lads from District of Columbia and environs on Langston's 1978 football roster; a regular pipeline.
Basketball referee Charles Mutch, 31, will be hospitalized several days in Tulsa with larynx injuries inflicted when a player choked him unconscious with the lanyard of his whistle. Mutch was set upon as he approached the scorrer's table to call the game a forfeit in the closing seconds after a hot-tempered player drew several technical fouls and ejection. Facing a charge of assault and battery with intent to kill is player Joe Trueblood, 31. Mutch was officating for the city recreation department. Trueblood was playing in the game between teams from Memorial Park Christian Church and Osage Hills Christian Church.