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BOWL REPORT : ROSE : Huskies to Use Finley-Designed Ball

December 29, 1990|SHAV GLICK

Charles O. Finley, the controversial former owner of the Oakland A's, will have a part in the Rose Bowl game. Or rather, one of his footballs will.

Finley was a frustrated guard on his high school football team in Gary, Ind., instead of a quarterback. The reason, he said: "My hand wasn't big enough to throw a football."

Instead of being covered with pebble-like grain the way conventional footballs are, Finley's ball has dimples--inverted pimples--making it feel more like a golf ball.

When Washington is on offense, the Finley ball, called "Double Grip," will be in use. Iowa will use a conventional ball. College teams can use the ball of their choice on offense.

It will be the first time the Huskies have used the Finley ball in a game. The ball did not receive accreditation from the NCAA Rules Committee until midseason, and only Michigan used it during the regular season. The Wolverines will use it on New Year's Day in the Gator Bowl against Mississippi.

"I sent Washington half a dozen balls to experiment with, and Tony Piro (Husky equipment manager) called and asked for 36 more," Finley said from his office in Chicago. "He told me that Mark Brunell took an instant liking to the ball. It has a better grip, so fellows like myself can throw it, and it goes farther and is more accurate.

"Iowa decided against it. I sent them 10 balls about a month ago and got a call from their equipment man that they weren't interested."

The Double Grip ball is being used in eight bowl games. Air Force used one Thursday night when it beat Ohio State in the Liberty Bowl at Memphis, Tenn.

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