Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 19:02:26 EST


Subject: Variable -s on Nouns

To pick up on a thread of a week ago that dealt mainly with the increasing

use os -s on "Ozarks" in attributive position (i.e. Ozarks Mountains), this

is something that I've noticed particularly on the sports page recently.

Here are three examples from my local paper, but all from wire service

stories, most often with the names of teams:

"Gerald Riggs was the last to gain 100 yards on Philadelphia, and no

Cowboys runner had done it since Hershel Walker in 1986."

"His homerun total was the highest by a Dodgers rookie since Greg

Brock also hit 20 in 1983, . . ."

"Percy Eberhart, a former University of South Carolina basketball

recruit whose checkered athletics career includes suspension from

his high school team, . . ."

These are all cases in which the -s looks and sounds very odd to me.

The last one represents at least a couple of dozen I've seen involving

the term _athletics_. My university has for some time had an _Athletics

Director_, presumably since the Sports Information Office or the school's

Office of Media Relations has decided that this represents the proper

derivation from _Director of Athletics_. It has become the only term

used in university publicity and in the local newspaper, although so far

as I can tell, only a written form (one hears only _Athletic Director_).

I haven't tried to track this down hereabouts, but probably should. Has

the same -s been cropping up on other campuses? Can it be too long

the title is overcorrected in writing to _Athletics' Director_?

Michael Montgomery, Dept of English, Univ of South Carolina,

Columbia SC 29208