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Beavers could visit Obama

Golf was the favorite sport of several U.S. presidents, including Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton.

Richard Nixon had a pair of bowling lanes installed in the White House.

President George W. Bush prefers biking.

Basketball could become the White House sport de jour regardless of which major party wins.

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin played basketball in high school, as did Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who was called “Barry O’Bomber” for his outside shooting prowess.

A win Tuesday by Obama, however, also will get Oregon State’s men’s basketball team added exposure because its coach, Craig Robinson, is Obama’s brother-in-law. And the Beavers need help after going 0-18 in the Pac-10 and 6-25 overall last season.

Robinson told Andy Katz of ESPN.com that an Obama win could lead to an addition to his team’s schedule.

“If we can put the White House on the schedule, the capital, then I’d do it because I’d want to make it an educational road trip, too,” Robinson said. “If they get the chance to meet Barack, then I’d love to facilitate that, too.”

Katz notes that under NCAA rules, Obama isn’t allowed to make recruiting calls on Robinson’s behalf.

• SURPRISE ENDORSEMENT — Stock-car racing traditionally has been a bastion for Republicans. This year John McCain and his wife have been to NASCAR races. So has Palin’s husband, Todd Palin.

It was shocking when Junior Johnson — the former moonshiner and one of the biggest names in NASCAR history — endorsed Obama.

“I know that I could never have won a race without my pit crew, and I know Barack can’t win this one without us,” Johnson wrote in an e-mail to the Winston-Salem Journal. “When I talk to folks about why I support Barack, I just tell it like I see it.”

• MEMORIES OF TUG — No Philadelphia fan can forget when the late Tug McGraw threw the final pitch for the Phillies to win the 1980 World Series. He was honored before Game 3 of this year’s Series when his son, country music star Tim McGraw, threw out the first pitch.

The younger McGraw slapped his glove on his thigh like his father was noted for, then spread some of his father’s ashes on the mound.

They’ve probably washed away after two days of heavy rain in Philadelphia.

• SIOUX SUIT — The late Ralph Engelstad, a Las Vegas businessman and casino icon, threatened to pull funding for a hockey arena for the University of North Dakota five years ago if the school dropped its Fighting Sioux nickname.

The school gave in and Ralph Engelstad Arena was built.

But now North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education has approved a schedule for discarding the nickname and Indian head logo if two Sioux tribes hold firm in their desire to dump them.

The NCAA supports the change because it thinks the nickname and logo promote racial divisiveness.

That concern probably wasn’t shared by Engelstad, who collected Nazi memorabilia and celebrated Adolf Hitler‘s birthday.


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