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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Tyson Can Have Eye of the Tiger, But Not Cat Itself

December 16, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY

Things keep getting worse for Mike Tyson.

First, he loses to Evander Holyfield.

Now, they're taking away his tiger.

An Ohio judge refused recently to let Tyson keep a tiger on his northeastern Ohio estate.

Judge Mitchell Shaker of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court ruled that a zoning board was correct in denying Tyson a zoning variance.

Tyson's attorney filed suit, contending that the township's zoning laws were unconstitutional. He argued that Tyson had a right to keep the cat because it was for exhibit and promotional purposes, not a pet. Tyson's home is in an area zoned for business.

"It is difficult for the court to visualize how the keeping of wild animals is protected by any of the amendments to the Constitution," Shaker wrote.

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Trivia time: Gary Beban, who won in 1967, remains UCLA's only Heisman Trophy winner. What other Bruins came close?

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Bed check: Walter Bush, president of USA Hockey, says there's no reason to believe reports that arrangements for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, are behind schedule, or that accommodations for competitors and guests will be substandard.

"Perhaps the Japanese are shorter than we are, but I'm sure the beds will be fine," Bush said.

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Grateful runner-up: In the last week of December 1994, USC's football team was in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl game.

Vanderbilt University sent its private jet to Dallas to pick up USC assistant coach Mike Riley and fly him to Nashville for a late-night interview with university officials.

Riley was a finalist for the Vanderbilt job, but it went instead to NFL assistant Rod Dowhower.

Update: Dowhower was fired last week, after two losing seasons. And Riley became Oregon State's head coach.

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Civics lesson: Because of three high school students in Colfax, Wis., AAU medals stripped from Jim Thorpe in 1912 will be returned to Thorpe's descendants.

A native American who died in 1953, Thorpe was voted in 1950 America's greatest athlete of the first half-century. He won Olympic decathlon and pentathlon gold medals and later played major league baseball and pro football.

When it was learned after the 1912 Olympics that Thorpe had played semipro baseball for $2 a game, his Olympic medals were taken back and so were numerous AAU medals. The Olympic medals were returned to Thorpe's family in 1984, but not the AAU medals.

Enter Colfax High juniors Mark Ralph, Kyle Kraft and Bob Hoffman, in 1996.

Looking for a history class project, they came across the Thorpe-AAU case while browsing the Internet.

Their resulting paper found its way to the AAU, which recently voted to return Thorpe's medals.

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Trivia answer: Donn Moomaw was fourth in the 1952 balloting, Paul Cameron third in 1953, and Troy Aikman third in 1988. Beban was also fourth in 1966.

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And finally: From the Miami Herald's Greg Cote, who has been ripping the Dallas Cowboys lately: "The Cowboys employ scouts. But not to watch other teams. To look out for cops."

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