As a black, I found the comments attributed to black educators in your editorial (SCORECARD, Jan. 24) on the NCAA's Proposal 48 very disturbing. Their statements should not be construed as a reflection of the general attitudes of the black community. I believe blacks have nothing to fear and much to gain from equal competition in educational or athletic matters. Instead of saying the proposal discriminates against blacks, black educators should welcome it as another opportunity to refute the allegations of some racists.
Unquestionably, there is cultural bias in the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the American College Test; however, the amount of bias has been reduced to a point approaching statistical insignificance. Based upon the attitudes attributed to black educators in your article, one could easily conclude that the primary reason for poor performance of black student-athletes is black educators. If black educators persist in the kind of nonsense presented in your article, it will become cause for non-support of black institutions.
HERBERT F SMITH II
The saving grace for Proposal 48 is Proposal 49b, which also passed and which stipulates that a school may still award scholarships to athletes who don't meet the requirements of Proposal 48, provided the school postpones the commencement of the athletes' varsity eligibility until they have acceptably completed their freshman academic program. Good move. Student-athletes will have an opportunity to enter college, concentrate on the books and prove that they are college material more reliably than any test scores ever will. And the schools will be making an honorable full year's investment in an athlete before using him as box office bait.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of this clause is that because of it black athletes and black schools will not be effectively eliminated from NCAA competition. Whether this clause was adopted for precisely that reason raises an interesting question, but not a crucial one. Far more important is the protecting of our talented youth from exploitation on the one hand and from handicapped futures on the other. The NCAA's motives as well as its solutions are still questionable, but it can at least be commended for opening up this can of worms. It is now up to all of us to keep it open and deal with it.
SHELLY L. MOORE
It is evident that there is a major problem with collegiate athletics, but the answer to it is not Proposal 48. The solution is to once again declare all freshmen ineligible for varsity sports and use their first academic year as a standard for eligibility. This would not only help athletes concentrate on being students, but it would also alleviate some of the recruiting hype currently brought to bear on high school seniors.
As for Dr. Randolph's potshot at non-athletic admission standards: I've yet to hear about a musician or cheerleader who graduated from college reading at the third-grade level. I can't say the same for the college jock.
According to black educators, the shortcoming of the newly adopted NCAA academic requirements is that they will have a discriminatory and devastating effect on the black athlete. Blacks opposed to the plan are not opposed because the NCAA is dealing with the problem of the exploited and uneducated student-athlete. The opposition stems instead from the particular method employed by the NCAA.
For years blacks have contended that the admissions tests used by academic institutions are culturally biased and therefore inherently unreliable. Blacks historically have scored lower than whites on these "standardized" tests. Because of this, colleges generally do not make test scores the sole or determining factor for admission. Of overriding significance is the fact that standardized test scores have often proved to be an unreliable barometer for predicting success in college, especially as applied to the black student. Although proponents of the NCAA plan argue that these standards are only for the purpose of determining athletic eligibility in the first year, in reality college coaches, under pressure to win, will not award many scholarships to students who cannot make an immediate contribution to the victory column.
Let's not blindly accept this NCAA proposal. The general idea is fine, but the suggested guidelines are discriminatory. The opportunity to succeed must not be denied by dependence on a biased measure. Let's go back to the drawing board and establish standards that are fair for all.
ROBERT E. WALLACE JR.
Attorney for the St. Louis Football Cardinals Guilfoil Petzall & Shoemake
BOXER VS. KARATE MAN
Thank you for Bob Ottum's fine article on PKA karate (Not Just a Lot of Kicks, Jan. 24). With it comes recognition of our years of hard work as athletes.
Allow me to clarify a reply attributed to me in the article in answer to the question: "Say we throw a boxer and a full-contact karate man into the same ring. Who wins?" I am quoted as saying, "I've got absolutely no chance against Michael Spinks." I meant that if we were to go hands only, with no kicks allowed, I would have no chance. Under PKA rules, I would obviously have an excellent chance. We're talking about two different sports and two different sets of rules. Sure, the Steelers' Jack Lambert might reduce Pelé to chipped beef on the gridiron, but quite a different outcome would occur on the soccer field.
KERRY (SUPERKICKS) ROOP
PKA World Light Heavyweight Champion
OSCAR CRONK & CO.
Since I don't consider hunting a sport, I persuaded myself not to read Sam Moses' article On the Track of the Cat (Jan. 24). However, during one of my long bus trips to and from New York City each day. I exhausted my supply of reading material and was forced to peruse the article. What a pleasant surprise! I was rooting for the bobcat all the way.
MICHAEL N. CASTELLANO
As a little girl growing up in Aroostook County in northern Maine, I had several great-uncles who were hunters and trappers like Oscar Cronk. It was a Sunday morning ritual for my father and me to go check bear traps with my great-uncle Harry. It was not unusual for Uncle Harry to have bear cubs or wolverine in his front yard. Not only was he a great trapper, but he was also a good hunter and fisherman. The article brought home to me the tradition of a sturdy, no-nonsense Yankee heritage.
Sam Moses' article was a genuine account of what hunting is all about: a good hunter, his loyal and enthusiastic dog, and an "elusive-as-a-ghost" quarry. Let's hope Joe DeFalco ("Hey You Wanna Deer?" Jan. 10) and his followers with their arsenal of rifles, sideband radios and "expert" methods don't decide to try bobcat hunting. If they do, Oscar Cronk and his dog Emerson may soon find themselves hunting nothing but ghosts.
Had the story on Joe DeFalco appeared in a hunting magazine, Robert H. Boyle would have received an award. DeFalco has gone out of his way to instruct people: If you shoot an animal, eat it, don't let it go to waste. DeFalco has also helped thousands of troubled youngsters by teaching them that it is better to shoot guns for sport than to shoot needles into their arms. DeFalco is a legend in the world of hunting and a credit to the sport. The people whose letters you have printed attacking him (19TH HOLE, Jan. 24 et seq.) don't comprehend what he has done for hunting.
Director Community Alliance for Youth Action
Sixteen pages of glorified murder—deer and bobcat hunting—in a so-called sports magazine within the space of three weeks? I've had it! Please cancel my subscription.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Bil Gilbert's piece on the wanderings of Captain William Drummond Stewart ("Thar Was Old Grit in Him," Jan. 17) was captivating. I have often sat gazing out my office window wishing for a time machine to transport me back to the era of open spaces, big skies and roaming buffalo. Gilbert is a better writer than geographer, however. He states, "Stewart roamed from...Taos in what is now New Mexico to the outposts of the British at the mouth of the Columbia River in what is now British Columbia." The last time I crossed the Columbia near its mouth it was smack-dab on the Washington-Oregon border, a "right fur piece" from British Columbia.
First it was a bunch of dumb otters (The Utterly Delightful Otter, Dec. 13). Then came a ridiculous piece on cigar-box art (Art That Was Simply Perfecto, Dec. 27-Jan. 3). Now you've again strayed from the more traditional areas of sport to report on a Captain Stewart. Come on, SI, what's next? Girls in bathing suits? Well, all right.
Walla Walla, Wash.
•Swimsuits coming up next week.—ED.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.