Pat Ryan should be congratulated for discussing a topic of great importance in her article A Grim Run to Fiscal Daylight (Feb. 1). But it seemed to me that the article failed to place college football and finances in their proper perspective.
The tremendous entertainment that college football supplies notwithstanding, it must be realized that the primary function of a university in the 1970s should be educating its students—not providing a winning football team. I would think, however, that if all schools totally eliminated recruiting, athletic scholarships, spring practice, color films, training meals and the like, the present type of competition could continue (with only a slight drop in quality) at a cost where athletic departments might again be making money that could be given back to the schools to use on education.
Any coach who finds such a solution unbearable because he values his own personal victories over the process of education belongs in professional football—or in government, where his distorted sense of priorities would fit right in.
Pat Ryan's article showed the need for positive action by the NCAA to curb the already rampant professionalism in collegiate athletics, football in particular. When athletes live in a special dorm, eat at specially planned training tables, enjoy the benefits of special tutors and receive tuition and, sometimes, extra money for expenses, they can hardly be called amateurs. The NCAA should limit scholarships as pointed out in the article and institute some firm academic rules to prevent the current tailoring of academic careers to suit football instead of the other way around.
Frank Broyles may cite statistics showing that football can pay for an entire sports program, but obviously it isn't paying for too many when two-thirds of these programs are in the red. If we are to have college athletics in the future, the NCAA must act.
You mention that colleges are courting professional football teams in order to persuade them to hold their lucrative exhibition games in the college stadiums, and thus share some of the revenue with the colleges. If college football collapses, pro football will be the biggest loser. The pros have had a beautiful, free minor league for years.
It seems to me that they are the ones who should be doing the courting.
BUCKS VS. KNICKS
In reference to Peter Carry's article about the Knicks and Bucks (Lew Is Not Enough, Feb. 8), just because the Knicks have won three out of the four meetings with the Bucks during the regular season doesn't mean the same situation will occur in the playoffs. Granted, the Knicks have a fine playoff group in Willis Reed, Dave DcBusschere, Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier and Dick Barnett. But if Reed's gimpy knee doesn't hold up, instead of "Goodby Lew" it's going to be "Goodby Knicks." Without Reed, the Knicks are not enough.
GLENN E. HOFFMAN
Lew Alcindor is the greatest player basketball has ever known, but he is not the only one involved in Milwaukee's drive for the championship. Mr. Carry failed to give credit to Bob Dandridge, Greg Smith, Jon McGlockin, Oscar Robertson and all the other Bucks. The reason Milwaukee has such a devastating record this year is that the whole team is contributing toward a common goal—being the best. The Bucks are a young team, and they improve with every game they play. It's only a matter of time until they become No. 1.
The thing that really bothers me about your article is that you make the Boston Celtics look like fools. First you have a picture of Greg Smith driving on Dave Cowens. Then you have Alcindor shooting over Cowens. On the next page you show Walt Frazier driving on Don Chaney in what looks like an easy layup. Finally, you picture Dave DeBusschere going over Don Nelson for two points. If you have something against the Celtics then say so. Personally, I think they are going to take it all.
Your article on Johnny Neumann (Red-Hot New Pistol in Rebel Land, Feb. 8) is an irritating study of an athlete who apparently has yet to grow up. He obviously decided to go to Ole Miss because he couldn't stand the competition elsewhere. If he were put up against a decent defense he would probably average no better than 25 points a game. He's a one-man team. Unfortunately, that's not the name of the game.
It seems that Johnny Cool Neumann is on an ego trip. How could any team give up an opportunity to win games in order to let one person win a scoring title? Neumann said, "I think they'd [my teammates] be content if I won the scoring title and we finished at .500. But I told them I'd rather win games." If this is so, Ole Miss has a new breed of ballplayers. It looks as if Johnny had better start practicing what he preaches, or Mississippi will be lucky to finish at .500. After all, a team that can score 113 points and still lose by 19 doesn't need a prolific scorer but some defense. As for Johnny believing that he can build a basketball program all by his lonesome, well, in cur opinion Mississippi will remain the football school it always has been.
Members, University of Oklahoma
varsity basketball team
After reading about Johnny Neumann's "zits," his dog that messes on the floor, his parents-in-law who like him because he isn't a truck driver, his silver-lined tooth and his term paper on venereal disease, I fail to see what all this has to do with his basketball ability. Surely Curry Kirkpatrick could find a better way to tell us about the talents of an exceptional shooter.
Your article on Johnny Neumann was cutting to Neumann, Ole Miss and the South. If I hadn't known beforehand whom I was going to read about, I never would have guessed it to be Johnny Neumann. Johnny is great and the old Miss team is great, but your article stinks!
If Johnny Cool is what heroes are made of, I sincerely hope he's our last. Through four pages, I kept expecting something better. Certainly four lines would have sufficed.
In his article Phantoms of the Snow (Feb. 8), Bill Johnson evoked superbly the spirit of the 10th Mountain Division. But to prevent confusion among botanists who may read his splendid piece a century hence, one minor point requires clarification.
That Peale's falcon on Kiska Island was not sitting in a tree. No tree grows on Kiska. The creature was soaring in a murky, post-dawn sky, and only the most expert of bird watchers could have spotted it, no less identified it under the circumstances. The unflappable character who did—a Lieut. Nelson, executive officer of Company I, 87th Mountain Infantry, by the way—was no professor. He was a fish and wildlife ranger in civilian life. And nobody hit the dirt when he uttered his immortal words, because nobody heard him except me, his radio operator and bodyguard. Anybody who had hit the dirt would not have been able to rise again, anyway; the tundra was tough, going uphill or down, and the packs that day were 120 pounds.
But I loved Johnson's story. Thanks.
New York City
All of the 10th Mountain Division alumni in this area were absolutely delighted with your story. We still enjoy kidding Minnie Dole about requiring three letters of recommendation to get shot at.
Incidentally, there are quite a few of us 10th Mountain boys (albeit grown to middle age) who are still working for service and safety for skiers as members of Minnie's other outfit, the National Ski Patrol.
Junior Advisor, Eastern Division
National Ski Patrol System, Inc.
In your article The Cold Cold Heart of Hockey (Jan. 25) you mentioned that Norm Ullman of the Toronto Maple Leafs plays for a loser. This seems to be a very hasty conclusion considering the fact that, since Dec. 9, the Leafs have been the hottest club in the entire National Hockey League.
Despite this small criticism, I compliment Tony Triolo on his photographs.
The Maple Leafs are presently entrenched in fourth place and seem assured of a playoff position with their young and rising team. To us fans the Leafs are never losers!
Your Feb. 8 issue contained interesting stories on English steeplechasing and Scottish boxer Ken Buchanan. While the LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER reviewed the achievements of Hugh Mcllvanney, the British sportswriter who did the Buchanan piece, nothing was said of John Lawrence who wrote the short article that accompanied the photo essay on steeplechasing (Down to Earth in Britain).
Describing "the rider's life" is easy for Mr. Lawrence, for in addition to writing and announcing, he is one of England's finest amateur jump riders. He is one of the jockeys who enjoys the "matchless thrill" of clearing one fence and sailing on to the next.
I enjoyed the story, having seen a number of steeplechase races in England last year, including the Grand National. In writing of the falls that are so much a part of steeplechasing, however, he might have included the fact that though there were 28 entries in the 1970 Grand National, only seven horses—and jockeys—completed the race.
BLACK IS BEST (CONT.)
Supplementing Martin Kane's fine article (An Assessment of "Black Is Best," Jan. 18), I would like to point out that fencing is a nonprofessional sport in which black athletes have, in recent years, attained prominence. This is largely due to the fine coaching of J. R. Moss, the world's only black fencing master, at Malcolm X High School, Philadelphia. (There was an earlier black fencing master in France a century ago.) His fencers have won six national junior championships since 1966, and several of his graduates are currently among the nation's finest collegiate fencers. A 21-year-old graduate, Tyrone Simmons, now at the University of Detroit, placed second in the 1970 national foil championships. More will be heard from Moss' students.
These athletes, plus four other black fencers on the University of Detroit team, have succeeded mainly for reasons cited in Mr. Kane's article. And their success in this intricate, high-speed sport completely discredits the archaic image of the quick but unintelligent black athlete.
RICHARD J. PERRY
University of Detroit
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