You wouldn't enter the "old, gray mare that ain't what she used to be" in the Kentucky Derby, would you?

Well, of course you would - if you thought such a move would result in a happy trek to the bank.The NCAA, which isn't into horse racing (yet), is intrigued with the prospect of turning glue-factory candidates into revenue-producing thoroughbreds.

Take, for example, sports such as track and field, gymnastics, swimming and soccer. College administrators do not generally regard them as money-makers. But that could change if a new marketing strategy works as NCAA officials hope it will.

"Football and basketball are our big revenue sports in this country, and they are popular on television here," explained Dick Schultz, executive director of the NCAA. "But football and basketball are not the most popular in Europe. What we hope to be able to do is take sports such as track and field, gymnastics, swimming and soccer - sports that are very popular overseas - and get them good exposure on television over there."

The plan called "NCAA International" was unveiled during basketball Final Four festivities in Minneapolis. With the NCAA family feelin' good in the trappings of their most titillating - and lucrative - exploit, it seemed a good time and place to start talking about beaming signals to the remote corners of the globe.

The idea is to get the NCAA product into homes where viewers lust over just about anyone or anything that moves and wears a number. The NCAA menu is a tempting one. There are 76 national championships each year - more than enough to go around.

"There are two sports channels in Europe that are comparable to ESPN," Schultz said. "We need to expose our championships."

"Hopefully, we can establish a weekly NCAA show in Europe and let people in other countries get a look at what's going on here."

At present, NCAA International guarantees a miminum amount of money and a percentage of gross revenue. That doesn't mean the NCAA should be thought of as a money-grubbing agency out to become the envy of Swiss bankers.

Quite the contrary.

The object of most NCAA fund-raising efforts is to turn most of the take back to member schools for them to use as they see fit. That should be a pretty attractive offer to colleges wondering how they are going to make ends meet and arrive at gender equity in one fell swoop.