THE COLLEGE GAME
It was my pleasure to read your article Some Pros Co Back to College (March 24). Gary Ronberg presented a very perceptive picture of hockey as it is now played and told why and how it has evolved in colleges throughout the U.S., and especially at the University of Denver.
In my college career I always had the desire to play hockey on the competitive intercollegiate level. This was not to be the case, because of the excellent play fostered at Denver under the guiding hand of Murray Armstrong. Armstrong went to every effort, however, to see that I, and other American boys, got as much ice time as possible. I was molded into twice the player I had been, and tutored in the faster-moving, harder-checking Canadian style. Armstrong did not stop with his varsity candidates but nurtured the first peewee and junior teams in Denver, as well as introducing to the university's curriculum a hockey class taught by physical education instructors.
Since returning to New York, I have often found myself defending the Western brand of hockey. Most of the changes that have come about in the college game have started in the Western college ranks. It is a great credit to hockey to find a man of Armstrong's caliber coaching in college. In a very few years the Denver area will probably produce an American-born-and-bred player who will be able to handle the Canadians as well as Denver handled Cornell.
JEFFREY H. JENNINGS
I am very happy to see you give some coverage to college hockey—one of the fastest-growing collegiate sports in the nation. As for coaches, how about Cornell's Ned Harkness, who was last year's Coach of the Year—a man who built Cornell's hockey team from a zero to a national champion in four years? He's the only Eastern coach ever to win the NCAA crown more than once, and his record over the past six years at Cornell is 134-27-2—a winning percentage of .832.
The Cornell Daily Sun
DOWN THE ALLEY
High Jinks in the Alley, Cats (March 17) by Bob Asbille serves to illustrate how the American Bowling Congress has helped make bowling America's greatest participant sport by vigilantly protecting some 40 million bowlers from such "high jinks."
In tribute to the ABC's effective efforts, the Professional Bowlers Association of America decided in its formative years that ABC sanction would be sought for all of its tournaments.
Founder and Legal Counsel
Professional Bowlers Association
I read your piece on prerace testing (SCORECARD, March 24). At Dorchester Prep we have taken 10,000 blood samples from Thoroughbreds of all ages and we have never had any trouble. An expert technician can take a blood sample in a few seconds (a vet is not needed) and, in most cases, the horse doesn't even feel it.
Prerace testing must and will come soon, but there also must be a postrace test at least as thorough as the prerace test on all starters. The fast-acting drugs that either stimulate or depress a horse could be given by anyone from the time the prerace test is taken until the horses leave the starting gate.
Under the present system it is impossible to detect if a horse has been drugged to slow him down because he runs out of the money and a test is never taken. I wonder how much of this is going on.
Back in the days when basketball was developed as an off-season practice drill for football players, the basket was placed at a height (10 feet) under which each player would be relatively equal, and all would have to use fancy footwork and finesse to deposit the ball inside it. Since that time, basketball has evolved into a game of giants. In ranking teams nationally, in deciding favorites or underdogs, too often the first criterion is height, the second skill.
One of the most revealing and refreshing factors of this year's NCAA basketball championship tournament (Reprieve—and an Electroluminescent Finale, March 31) was a partial negation of that general attitude. One team stood out, not for its height, but for its lack of height. Drake University's tallest starter was a diminutive 6'5". Leading basketball analysts were confident that the towering UCLA and North Carolina ball clubs would simply step over Drake, so unknown it was often called Duke. Instead of submitting to the taller teams, Drake played exactly the same type of ball the Missouri Valley Conference had seen all year. Running, passing, shooting, stealing, Drake showed that a short club, using the proper strategy, could beat a tall club. UCLA barely saved its game, while poor North Carolina went back to Chapel Hill sadly trounced by a team that, per man, was several inches shorter. To me, this was basketball as it should be: quick, exciting, explosive. Drake reestablished an all too often ignored dimension in the game.
It seems to me that Coles Phinizy has hit exactly the right key in his article Co-Go Slow (March 17). Most blimp stories are written with an air of ridicule and heavy-handed humor, or with a fierce and unreasoning loyalty, for which we LTA types are notorious. He told the story of the loss of the Navy blimps, including L-8, like it was, which is also rather rare in blimp writings.
I like Phinizy's words: "The blimp suggests contentment...in this frantic day." My compliments for a story well told.
GEORGE F. WATSON
Captain, USN (ret.)
Litchfield Park, Ariz.
Thanks for being the only one who has put skiing's Bob Beattie in the proper perspective (Our Problem: How to Beat the Ski Ennui, March 17). Stubborn, driving, opinionated, impassioned, dedicated, bull-headed, kind, lovable and generous are all words that describe sports dictators like Bob Beat-tie, Vince Lombardi and Avery Brundage. When I was involved in the USSA junior programs, I would come out of a meeting with Beattie and go soak my head in very cold water to restore my common sense.
He did a great job. It is too bad that his work will be continued by a committee (Bright Girls in a Smother of Fog, March 31). Someone once said that it was a committee appointed to design a horse that came up with the camel. Bob Beattie may not be indispensable but, until the Ski Association comes up with someone better, he sure is going to appear that way!
After reading comments in your magazine to the effect that Minnesota leads the nation in number of athletes in professional football without degrees and that Minnesota's record in graduating blacks is one of the poorest in the nation (SCORECARD, Feb. 17), I feel you need additional information to present the facts in a fairer way.
The only fair way in which Minnesota athletes can be compared is to compare them to the general student population at the university, not with Arizona State, Ohio State or any other college. Academically, our athletic department is doing the job for both white and black athletes. Consider these facts and figures:
1) Last year 98 athletes out of 324 qualified for the Williams Scholarship. A grade-point average of 2.8 (B=3.0) was needed for qualification.
2) The grade-point average for the university's 1967-68 freshman class was 2.2. For freshman athletes it was 2.478.
3) The university graduates 32% of an entering freshman class. Of the freshman athletes 54% go on to graduate. In 1967-68, 44% of the blacks graduated. The figure for the blacks would be higher except that of those who did not graduate most went on to professional teams. They are free to come back and earn their degrees when they want to.
4) The average student at Minnesota takes two quarters or two-thirds of a school year beyond four years to earn a degree. Therefore, it can be expected that few athletes will graduate in four years. This is not the fault of the athletic department.
5) A full-time certified psychologist provides personal and vocational counseling for all athletes.
6) A study-skills program is given to all freshman student athletes. The program includes help in memory, note-taking, exam-taking, underlining, comprehension, reading rate, vocabulary improvement and spelling.
7) A staff of tutors is available in 17 subject areas to help all athletes.
8) One hundred and eighty-five "M" Club alumni offer on-the-job vocational counseling.
In summary, I don't think it is fair to attack the University of Minnesota's athletic department for not doing the job academically or being biased, as your article implies. If you check our program you will discover that, recently, the local black militants who took over Morrill Hall have recommended that the athletic department's study-skills program be used as a model for the Disadvantaged Student Program. I feel this recommendation speaks for the success of the program.
JAMES C. CREWE
Educational Skills Counselor
University of Minnesota
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.