Your three-part special report on lawlessness in college athletics (Feb. 27)hit the nail on the head. The folks at the NCAA ought to realize the gravity ofthe situation and take drastic action. College athletes should not be treatedlike privileged characters, and coaches who cannot control their teams shouldbe banned for life.
JUNE E. COOLEY
Jerry Kirshenbaum(An American Disgrace) is on the right track when he says, "Let the NFL andthe NBA start their own farm systems." Now is the time for colleges anduniversities to get out of what have become professional sports. Let eachbig-time college lease its whole operation—stadium, school colors, fight song,nickname, logo, cheers, mascot, legends and booster organizations—to a farmfranchise. Students would still have entertainment, fans would have the bestteam money could buy, and universities could return to what they should dobest: education.
North Newton, Kans.
Some of themeasures you propose certainly have merit. One more thing I would suggest isthat the pollsters, including magazines like SI, refrain from rating teams thatare on NCAA probation. Certainly the football polls, which determine thenational champion, help to promote the win-at-any-cost attitude.
MICHAEL J. WALLACE
The blame for theactions of Oklahoma's athletes (You Reap What You Sow) should not be laidsolely at the university's door. From junior high—and even earlier—students whocan run faster with a football or handle a basketball better than theirclassmates are taught that they are special. They can cut classes and failtests, and someone will always cover for them. They are not taught that theirfuture is in their own hands. They are not taught to be responsible for theirown actions. Just make the touchdowns, and we'll handle the problems. Untilthis trend is reversed, there will be more instances like those at Oklahoma.
What bothers meis the lack of objectivity regarding the Oklahoma athletic program. The actionsof a handful of individuals in a football program of more than 100 certainlycannot be considered representative of the entire program. As for the fate ofcoach Barry Switzer, it would seem ridiculous to fire a man after 23 years ofservice. Changes must be made, but Switzer should have the opportunity to makethem. He has brought much positive publicity to the university, and the currentsituation should not completely overshadow the past.
Finally, I findthe suggestion that the people of Oklahoma are reaping what they have sowntremendously offensive. Oklahomans are proud and independent people. We haveovercome a great deal of adversity since the 1800s, and our state has becomeone of the most productive in this great nation. That same pride will allow usto overcome these problems.
Yes, SI, you reapwhat you sow. If Barry Switzer is to be held accountable for the actions of hisplayers, then you are to be held accountable for your writers and editors.Cancel my subscription!
There may be ashortage of altar boys at some Big Eight schools (You Reap What You Sow andWhat Price Glory?), but not to worry—your writers fit the bill nicely. Do theywear long white robes to go with their halos and wings? Now, if Oklahoma losesto Texas this fall, that will really be a crime.
ROOT, ROOT, ROOTFOR...
I wish there were more Roy S. Johnsons (POINT AFTER, Feb. 27) to expose theexcesses of big-time, big-money college athletics and fewer rah-rah supporterswho will accept any transgression so long as the home team wins.
Alexander Wolff (POINT AFTER, Feb. 20) is afraid that if the statistical truthwere known about the three-point shot in basketball, the two-point attemptmight soon become a rarity. But perhaps Wolff has nothing to fear. Consider thefollowing argument:
If a playeraverages 50% from two-point territory, the outcome of his close-range effort isone point per shot. A player hitting 33% from three-point range will alsoproduce one point per shot. Even Steven, so far. And as Wolff suggested,rebounds tip the scales in favor of treys. The offense has a better chance ofgrabbing an errant three-point shot than a missed two-pointer because distantshots bounce farther off the backboard and rim. The boxed-out, spread-outoffense is in a better position to snag long rebounds than is the defense,which is usually bunched under the basket.
However, Wolffoverlooks the fact that fouls would almost certainly tip the scales back infavor of the two-pointer. The defense commits more fouls when the ball isworked inside than when it is fired from afar.
The jury is stillout on whether the three-pointer is superior. However, when the jury returns tothe court, I think it will shoot mostly from close range.
New York City
It is pleasing tonote that a basketball purist like Wolff can recognize the entertainment valueof the three-point shot. He joins the company of another observer of the gamewho once advocated that, under certain circumstances, a goal scored from afarbe worth more points than a shot made from in close. That suggestion, made 52years ago, came from Dr. James Naismith.
RICHARD T. FOSTER
MEN VS. WOMEN
I can't believe it. You devoted your entire COLLEGE BASKETBALL section to thewomen's game (Feb. 20). I hope this was in celebration of Julia Lamb'spromotion to assistant managing editor (FROM THE PUBLISHER, Feb. 20), but evenif it was just penance for the swimsuit issue, thanks.
As the father ofthree young daughters who play basketball and other sports, I can appreciatewomen's athletics. But please keep your COLLEGE BASKETBALL section focused onthe men's game. Or, if you must cover women's basketball, run two sections.
This was moresexist than the swimsuit issue. Or was it an attempt to get SI back into allthose libraries? If you're going to do this on a regular basis, cancel mysubscription.
ANDREW J. MERRITT, M.D.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name,address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to TheEditor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, NewYork, N.Y. 10020-1393.
Sooner misdeeds have put Switzer (left) on the spot.