Pardon me for not joining the reform wave that began to surge after a 36-year-old teacher did what Notre Dame and the Southeastern Conference almost never could -- bring the Georgia Bulldogs to their knees.

Excuse me for not getting goose-pimply with inspiration that Jan Kemp's victory will cause the win-at-any-cost colleges to re-evaluate their recruiting and preferential treatment of athletes.

I have a vision about when the business of college sports will cease being business. Vividly, I see the exact moment administrators will turn from asking how much money can be generated to how many athletes can be properly educated:

The 12th of Never.

I would like to believe otherwise. I would like to believe that Georgia and the others who exploit athletes will be embarrassed into change. Then I notice a headline such as the one a few days ago: "Georgia Academic Program to be Examined Next Week."

It appears hopeful. It smells of sham.

The story under that headline said the office of the chancellor of the Georgia university system, H. Dean Propst, will investigate "the practice of administratively exiting students from the developmental studies program and admissions practices."

This investigation is to begin Monday. It's only 17 months and six days late.

The probe ought to have started Sept. 10, 1984, the day after the Macon Telegraph & News began a series of stories that won a Pulitzer Prize.

Among the revelations in part one of that series were: Football players enrolled in developmental studies can participate for two seasons without ever taking a college-level course; only 17 percent of black football players at Georgia earned a degree in the last 10 years and only 4 percent of black basketball players completed their requirements for graduation.

(Development studies is a program of remedial, noncredit courses designed to prepare academically weak students for college-level classes. Students are allowed four quarters to complete the courses satisfactorily.)

Georgia led the nation in football victories during those last four years, the story noted, going 43-4-1 while winning one national championship and three Southeastern Conference titles.

How 'Bout Them Dawgs!

The paper featured Jan Kemp the next day, reviewing how in 1981 she challenged a decision by the people she later sued to overrule two teachers and promote to college-level courses nine athletes who botched remedial English.

The athletes, all football players in their fourth -- and final -- quarter, were promoted in December 1981. This was just in time for the Sugar Bowl game Georgia lost to Pitt. A 10th student, a female who was not an athlete, also failed to make a satisfactory grade and was dismissed from school.

Kemp said that some of the football players could not tell nouns from pronouns. Well, nobody's perfect. And one of the axioms of football is: "You can't win without a few gin-drinkin' D students."

You would think that someone in authority would be boiling with anger after those stories. Whether Kemp's demotion had any merit, reports of abuses by the football and basketball programs at Georgia surely were worth a look.

Seventeen months and $2.5 million later, Georgia officials are saying: "Oh, my, we'll certainly get cracking on that."

As Georgetown basketball Coach John Thompson observed, the colleges are only doing for athletes what the elementary and high schools either couldn't, or wouldn't.

"If you want to look at the real scandal," Thompson said, "look at the entire educational system. What about these kids who can't read who aren't playing basketball and football?"

Heavyweight thinkers on the opinion pages are attacking that. This little sermon is about colleges that preach purity and treat their athletes as bulky pistons in a money machine.

For most of the '80s at Georgia, the relevant cheer should have been:

"Chew 'em up on the field,

"Pass 'em on in class,

"Anybody questions that,

"Harass, harass, harass."

Still, don't fire the football and basketball coaches. Keep Vince Dooley and Hugh Durham. They did what the school wanted; they won. If anybody should lose his job, it's the school president, Fred Davison.

Enlightening as the Macon paper's series was, the first two paragraphs of its first story were naive. They read: "Intercollegiate football wasn't always dominated by oversized athletes with problems distinguishing nouns from pronouns.

"The sport began around 1900 when a few scholars with limited athletic ability got together on a Saturday afternoon for a friendly game."

Say, what?

Abuses were widespread in the 1890s. A study by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching said they were "less prevalent at the great universities" but were practiced "as much by undergraduates as by coaches or trainers or alumni."

In 1905, a magazine reported that one of Amos Alonzo Stagg's immortals at the University of Chicago, Walter Eckersall, enrolled three credits short of the entrance requirements.

Not too many years ago, the Southwest Conference vowed to cleanse itself. Again. If necessary, lie detector tests would be used to ferret out the scoundrels.

That sure 'nough worked. Last year it became known that even TCU was cheating its cleats off.

So listen to the high and mighty of sport, but don't get too excited just yet. Still, do keep in mind that meaningful change will come. When it does, on the 12th of Never, remember where you read it first.