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Original Issue


The article about the recruiting of high school basketball star Tom Leifsen (A House Divided, March 5) describes the pressures that success brings to bear upon young athletes. However, young Leifsen is one of the more fortunate ones, having been offered the opportunity to attend a number of top-quality schools. It appears that things have worked out well for him. He is attending the University of Pennsylvania, one of the academic giants among our universities, and he is part of a basketball program that ranks among the best.
York, Pa.

We have been trying to figure out why SI chose to publish the article written by Marian Leifsen about her son being recruited to play college basketball. As far as we can see, the article serves no constructive purpose, except perhaps to show the additional problems that arise when a high school star has an over-protective mother. Her attempt to jump on the bandwagon by criticizing recruiting practices fails because she really has nothing to criticize. Her criticisms are of a coach's haircut, where he's from or how he talks up his program.
Decatur, Ga.

Several things struck me as being ironic after I read Marian Leifsen's article. First, her undisguised enthusiasm for Ivy League schools and the top-notch education one gets from them seems rather odd when compared with her never-fully-explained dislike for Davidson, which has long been described (justifiably, in view of its academic reputation and grad-school-admittance record) as the Princeton of the South.

Second, she was, by her own admission, "pushy, a stage mother, forcing on my son my own aspirations for the Great American Dream." Therefore, I cannot sympathize with her complaints about the high-pressure world of college recruiting. Indeed, her thoughts and actions seem to be an excellent example of the pot calling the kettle black.

I can sympathize with Marian Leifsen because I know that family decisions can be difficult, especially for a well-intentioned mother who is receiving outside interference. However, because she was so determined that her son attend a school in the North, she lost her perspective.

I resent any insinuation that Davidson will stop short of nothing to enroll the athletes it needs. That is absolutely false. Davidson's athletes must first of all be students, and that is why they are so special. The author stated that her son was "wined and dined" at Big Daddy's. Big Daddy's is a small-town, family-style seafood restaurant. It is a nice place but hardly the type of restaurant one would choose for high-pressure recruiting.

As for Eddie Biedenback, he is an outstanding coach and a fine gentleman.
Winston-Salem, N.C.

When Philip Wylie coined the term "momism," he undoubtedly had someone very much like the author of your article in mind.
Raleigh, N.C.

The next time you include an article by Marian Leifsen, please preface it with the warning: "This article may be a soapbox for a disgruntled feminist."
Westboro, Wis.

Marian Leifsen's article showed an immense lack of appreciation for the interest shown by coaches and schools in her son. An offer of a free college education from some of the finest schools in the country, including Davidson, is not exactly peanuts.

I have a son who was recruited by several schools and finally chose Georgia Tech (football). I am proud of this and appreciate the interest, time and efforts of the schools and coaches.
Orlando, Fla.

The article on Tom Leifsen is one of the most interesting SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has printed. Marian Leifsen has given us a new perspective on the confusing world of college recruiting. With your article, I hope you have made would-be superstars aware of the many snares that may entangle them.
Englewood, Colo.

I would like to identify for your readers the author of the poetic phrase "Bradley Steals, Peels and Deals to Wood" (North Carolina Kicks Up Its Heels, March 12). This description of North Carolina Forward Dudley Bradley's moves from the official play-by-play of the ACC tournament is the product of the talented Timothy (Bone) Bourret.

Bourret is no stranger to SI's readers. He was quoted extensively in last year's article about Notre Dame's All-Campus Bookstore Basketball Tournament (Look Out for the Manhole Cover, May 15). A former commissioner of the bookstore tournament, Bourret is now the assistant sports information director at Clemson.
Tallmadge. Ohio

We out here in the high country were a bit disappointed that in the Bradley story you failed to mention Dudley's brother. Charles (Tub) Bradley, who led the University of Wyoming to a winning basketball season in the tough Western Athletic Conference. Charles, a sophomore and, like his brother, a demon on defense, was the Cowboys' leading scorer and was named All-Conference. An incredible leaper, Charles became known throughout the league for his twisting, driving slam dunks and finger rolls, which normally started with his becoming airborne somewhere in the general vicinity of the top of the key and sailing over, around and sometimes through defenders.
Professor of Military Science
University of Wyoming
Laramie, Wyo.

As a high school girls' basketball coach, I thoroughly enjoyed Nancy Williamson's article on Mount St. Mary's Coach Fred (Mad Dog) Carter (Carter's Little Thrills, March 5). Having coached both boys and girls, I could not agree more with Carter in regard to the interest and tenacity of girls. They are a real joy to coach.

However, one point that perhaps should have been made is that while girls may be lacking in skills, at least they don't pass and dribble the clock away. Because women's rules include a 30-second clock, there is no four-corner offense in girls' basketball. Maybe it's about time the boys caught on, because when the girls' skills reach the level predicted by Carter, the girls' game is where the spectators are going to be.
Girls' Varsity Basketball Coach
Oxford Academy & Central School
Oxford, N.Y.

Nancy Williamson brought back exciting memories for me when she mentioned Mount St. Mary's men's basketball coach Jim Phelan. At La Salle College in the years 1949-51, he thrilled many a Philadelphia basketball crowd with his superb skills. And he was an assistant coach under Ken Loeffler when La Salle won the NCAA championship in 1954.

Could Lynne Phelan, now playing for Mount St. Mary's under Carter, be Jim's daughter?
Elmira, Ontario

•Yes, she is.—ED.

As an active luger, and president of a national luge club, I would like to thank William Oscar Johnson for detailing the current plight of U.S. lugers (A Run for the Money, March 5).

Most times, our biggest problem is not sliding our sleds but dealing with the anti-athlete administration that professes to run our sport.

The final insult came during the week following the world test race at Lake Placid, N.Y., when the two big winners, the East Germans and the Soviets, were allowed to train on the Olympic luge run, while only three U.S. lugers were able to stay on at their own expense and secure the necessary insurance to be able to train with them.

Our leaders? They had all gone home immediately after the race, wondering why we always do so poorly.
American Rodelers Association
Pearl River, N.Y.

"Some Win and Some Luge," a phrase coined by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED before the 1976 Winter Olympics, once again applies. Our lugers continue to work hard, and thus have more expertise than before, but they are getting little or no assistance from U.S. sports officials or administrators. One could easily conclude that foreign nations must be running our efforts. We are giving away any chances we have for medals, not just for 1980 but for two or three Olympics to come.
Columbus, Ohio

SI earns an A for its recognition of the controversy over major athletics vs. academics on the William and Mary campus (SCORECARD, March 5). Many of us in Williamsburg have been trying for some time to find the answer to the question: For whose benefit is college football being played? If most of the students and faculty and a large segment of the local community reject the idea of an enlarged football stadium, then who is the intended beneficiary of stadium expansion? The Board of Visitors of the college has made its decision to expand the stadium largely on projections of increased revenues and more attractive home games. I doubt that there are many successful businesses that base significant decisions on such limited, and potentially biased, input. (Incidentally, William and Mary's faculty are certainly concerned about their salaries; however, they are not naive enough to assume that the money for the stadium expansion would end up in their pockets if the plan were scrapped.)

Granted, academic excellence and successful athletic programs need not be mutually exclusive. However, once the commitment to big-time athletics is made, the pressure is on. For institutions the size of William and Mary (approximately 4,500 undergraduates), you cannot have it both ways. Sooner or later revisions in academic requirements or admissions standards will be proposed to protect the athletic commitment. Stanford and Michigan are excellent institutions, but hardly a fair comparison in this case.
Faculty Representative for Athletics
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Va.

Let's see now. Three thousand of William and Mary's 4,500 students stood up for academics vs. athletics by boycotting a day's classes? Hmmm.
Johnstown, Pa.

In SCORECARD (March 5), you said, "In Philip Roth's 1959 novel Goodbye, Columbus, Ron Patimkin splashed up to his sister Brenda in a swimming pool and said excitedly. The Yankees took two.' " As a fervent fan of the Boston Red Sox, let me assure you that Patimkin's comment was that the Red Sox had won both ends of a doubleheader, not the Yankees. Being a Boston fan and living in New York is difficult enough. Please don't add to last season's frustrations.
Woodmere, N. Y.

•Sorry, but in his book, Roth did have the Yankees winning the doubleheader, as SI reported. However, Roth did not write the screenplay for the movie Goodbye, Columbus, which was released a decade later and which reader Rosen may have seen. Arnold Schulman wrote it, and he had Patimkin exclaim that the Red Sox had won. The reason, says Schulman, is that at the time he was updating the story (1968) the Red Sox, with Carl Yastrzemski, seemed to be the team most comparable to the Joe DiMaggio-led Yankees of Roth's book.—ED.

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