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Boxer's HIV Positive Test Raises Questions of Safety

By Bo Light
Associate Sports Editor

Welcome back (finally) to the first Spring edition of Everything About Sports. If you missed our IAP issues, that's because there weren't any. The reasons for this are quite complicated (the government shutdown, the new telecommunications bill, and a case of cheap wine are all involved), so we'll just skip to the big stories of the last month.

First we head to the world of boxing, which was shaken this week by the news that heavyweight fighter Tommy Morrison has tested HIV-positive. He was to have fought Saturday night.

Morrison is not the first professional boxer to test positive for HIV (in fact, he is the seventh). But he is the best known, and his news once again raises questions of the dangers of athletes with HIV. Magic Johnson's first attempt at coming back to basketball was quelled when other players were concerned about becoming infected. It is likely Morrison will never fight again, but he has fought several times in the last year and bled profusely in all of them.

The possibility of becoming infected from another player is remote in basketball but very real in boxing. Currently, only three states test boxers for HIV (Morrison's last fight was in New Jersey, which does not). Morrison's announcement simply stresses the need for even more thorough precautions in what is already a barbaric sport.

Hoops Report

Speaking of Magic Johnson, the former Lakers superstar is now the current Lakers sixth man. That's right, folks, Magic's making another comeback, and this time, he's looking good. Magic may not be the rookie who could play all five positions, and he may have lost a step or two. But he can still hit a no-look pass, and he brings a presence to the league that's been missing for some time.

In today's NBA, where having the coolest (i.e., most marketable) uniform is more important than winning, and the almighty dollar is king, it is refreshing to see a man playing just because he loves the game. Welcome back, Magic. P.S. Don't keep your fingers crossed for a Larry Bird comeback.

On the college front, you heard it here last: UMass will become the first team in two decades to finish a regular season undefeated. The Minutemen have already overcome a tough preconference schedule (including Kentucky), the loss of star Marcus Camby, and a scare from a surprising Xavier squad, and have only the remainder of their conference schedule to play. The Atlantic-10 is relatively weak this year, and so barring an upset in the conference tournament, UMass should be sporting a big goose egg in the loss column come March.

Whether or not UMass can win a national championship is another story. The great thing about the NCAA basketball tournament is that anything can happen, and there are a lot of tough teams out there. It is hard to believe that the Minutemen, who will be playing out their season against the likes of Duquesne and St. Bonaventure, will be as prepared for the postseason as, say, the Kentucky Wildcats, who still have to make it through the SEC; or Connecticut, the best team in the Big East. The thinking here is that two months from now, UMass fans will be consoling themselves with an undefeated regular season.

Gridiron Update

Okay, the Super Bowl was three weeks ago, so this will be a mercifully brief Gridiron Update. For those who have been living in their labs since 1990, Dallas beat Pittsburgh, 27-17, to extend the NFC's winning streak to twelve years. Some quick awards:

MVP: Neil O'Donnell, QB, Pittsburgh. Larry Brown this, Larry Brown that. Sure, Larry Brown had two interceptions, but if he'd been covering his man like he was supposed to, Pittsburgh would have won 17-13. In this context, O'Donnell's contributions to the Dallas offense are shown to be invaluable.

Best Commercial: Pepsi-Cola. The tragic tale of a Coke distributor who gets caught red-handed trying to steal a Pepsi takes home the gold in a year when the game was actually more interesting than the commercials.

Worst Commercial: British Airways. As we watch a man taking a shower in his private first-class cabin (they have showers in first-class? I gotta stop flying coach), a disembodied voice asks what the shower must feel like. Immediately we are shown the man's head superimposed on a dove in a birdbath. Great, a feathered rodent. Just the feeling I've been looking for.

Too Much Coverage Award: Deion. Who else?

Ends Justify the Means Award: Jerry Jones. Congratulations, Jerry, you bought yourself a team.

In college football news, congratulations go out to Scott Vollrath 96, who has been named to the Academic All-American team. Scott is a four-year letterwinner for the MIT varsity.

Trivia Question

Name the last college basketball team to finish their regular season undefeated. Send your answers to easports@the-tech.mit.edu.

Answer to the last question: I lost the list of correct answers to the last question, which is okay because I forgot the question anyway. Sorry.