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I like to think that God called Payne Stewart early because He or
She was tired of playing with Ben Hogan.
--TONY CROWELL, Laguna Beach, Calif.

Hail the Champions

I just received my SI with Mateen Cleaves on the cover (Spartan
Effort, April 10). I thought I'd cancel my subscription--another
article about Cleaves that didn't give credit to the rest of the
Michigan State team. After reading the story, I realized SI was
one of the few publications to acknowledge the roles of A.J.
Granger and Morris Peterson, the true heroes of the win.

If Florida's Teddy Dupay had, as you say, "inadvertently" hooked
Cleaves's ankle in the second half of the NCAA championship game,
then Marty McSorley accidentally whacked Donald Brashear, and Ken
Griffey Jr. just happened to end up in Cincinnati. The sad part
is that Dupay probably thinks his dangerous hacks make him a
tough competitor and a hero. Well, Teddy, as the Spartans
demonstrated, bad little boys get spanked.

Six photos of the Spartans and not one picture of the man who
guided them there? Congratulations--that's just the way Tom Izzo
would prefer it.
ROB KAMINSKI, Lansing, Mich.

Short Shrift

I understand that from a television ratings standpoint the
women's college basketball championship (Swat Team, April 10)
doesn't compare with the men's. But the loyalty of the women's
fan base is as strong, if not stronger, as that of the men's. I
wanted to know if Tennessee's 71-52 defeat by Connecticut was
coach Pat Summitt's worst loss in a postseason game. I found that
out, but not from your magazine.
JULIE E. STOCKER, Bristol, Conn.

Defending the NCAA

Right on, Seth Davis and your article criticizing the
bad-mouthing of the NCAA (SCORECARD, April 10). You hit on
something I have wanted to see in print for a long time. I
believe the NCAA does a great job in overseeing the
administration of college athletics.
GARY HUNT, Riverside, Calif.

Remembering Payne

Leigh Montville's article The Ghost Plane was one of the most
compelling I've ever read (April 10). He not only told us about
Payne Stewart's life but also about the other passengers, their
lives and their families. For nearly six months I've heard little
about the investigation into what happened on that tragic day.
Thank you for giving me some closure on the incident.
CHUCK CHANDLER, Blanchardville, Wis.

I believe your article to be a disservice to Stewart's family and
to the families of the others who perished. If you'd had news of
the cause, that would have been different. Let the families go on
with their lives without reminders.
THOMAS A. TURNER, North Charleston, S.C.

The Kling and Stout families appreciate the effort and time that
went into the article. In it you referred to the wife of Mike
Kling, the pilot of Stewart's plane, as Donna Stout. Mike and
Donna had been married for 15 years, and she remains proud to be
known as Donna Kling. Mike treated my mother's three children as
his own. He helped raise us and had a great impact on our lives.
CLIFF R. STOUT JR., Oklahoma City

Fine Whine

Jaromir Jagr and Valeri Bure complaining about Michael Peca for
his physical play (INSIDE THE NHL, April 10)? Excuse me, but
aren't we talking about hockey? That's like Derek Jeter and Alex
Rodriguez complaining about Pedro Martinez because he throws too
ROBERT W. HANSEN, Millbury, Mass.

Slighting Michelle

The American champion Michelle Kwan, one of the finest and most
admired figure skaters of all time, comes from behind in an
exciting world championships. She beats the Russian favorites
while flawlessly performing the most difficult long program of
her career, and all you can muster is that cheesy cartoon in the
SCORECARD section (April 10)?
SANDY SORLIEN, Philadelphia

Lame Excuses

Bills coach Wade Phillips blames a bad call and Bills owner Ralph
Wilson blames poor kickoff coverage for their playoff-game loss
to the Titans (INSIDE THE NFL, April 10). They're both wrong. If
Doug Flutie had been at the controls during that game, as he
should have been, the Bills' lead at the end would have been too
large for a miracle play to have made a difference.
WAYNE WONG, Elks Grove, Calif.


Check Out Shea's D

Michigan State got the cover and eight pages. UConn got two
pages. There wasn't even a shot of Shea Ralph (above), the
women's Final Four MVP.
JOSEPH G. FERNANDES, New Milford, Conn.