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Original Issue


Physical Education

America's Best Sports Colleges (Oct. 7) is interesting and
insightful. However, I disagree with your basis for giving the
nod to Texas over Stanford. To me it is obvious that the first
criterion should be the number of NCAA titles, and Stanford had
three times the number of individual titles (18-6) and double the
number of team titles (4-2) in the 2001-2 school year. The
Cardinal has more varsity teams than the Longhorns (34-19), even
though Texas has five times the number of students. Also,
Stanford offers one intramural or club sport for every 265
students compared with one for every 429 students at Texas. I
believe that any school with fewer than 7,000 students that can
be successful in Division I college athletics and still maintain
its high academic standards is by far the best sports college in
the land.
TIM MARSHALL, Richmond, Mo.

Sl's choice of a school that is 170th in athlete graduation rate
as America's best sports college coupled with the news, announced
that same week, that Florida State canceled classes for two days
because of fears of a possible campus traffic jam caused by an
evening football game (SCORECARD, Oct. 14) illustrates everything
that is wrong with major college sports in America today.
MATT CRAVETS, Simi Valley, Calif.

If a university gets points for winning games in football and
men's basketball, shouldn't it also lose some points for having
ridiculously low graduation rates for athletes in those sports,
for having players indicted for felonies and for having to
dismiss coaches for recruiting violations and outlandish academic
improprieties? Including those stats would have made for a very
different top 10.
JACK SELZER, State College, Pa.

By graduating only 56% of its student-athletes, Texas exemplifies
what is wrong with college sports. How can a school whose average
freshman scored about 590 on the verbal portion of the SAT and
about 600 on the math section fail to graduate more athletes?
Obviously Texas' athletic department admits the athletes on a
separate set of criteria from the admissions office. As a college
admissions counselor and Stanford graduate, I have no problem
with giving students a chance, but I do object strenuously to
colleges that exploit athletes' talents on the playing field only
to neglect the schools' true responsibility: to educate its

In my dream world having high academic standards is one of the
purposes of college athletics. Not emphasizing the value of
graduation rates weakens any scale that attempts to rank
colleges. It's sad when winning championships becomes the only
statistic valued by our society.

The College of Charleston--having produced dozens of sailing
All-Americas, three College Sailors of the Year since 1988 and a
coed varsity sailing team that has finished no lower than fifth
in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association rankings since '91,
including the '98 national champions--should have garnered a spot
in the top 200 schools.
CHARLES EARL, Charleston, S.C.

Reilly's Ryder Report

Rick Reilly (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 7) joined the Curtis
Strange bashing brigade without considering the following. If
second-ranked Phil Mickelson had defeated 119th-ranked Philip
Price in the eighth match, and everything else had remained the
same, a Tiger Woods victory over Jesper Parnevik in the last
match would have retained the Ryder Cup for the United States.
ALAN LUBELL, New York City

Sergio Garcia provides fans with something that has been missing
from the PGA since Chi-Chi Rodriguez--a little personality. What
next, Rick? Fine Jesper Parnevik a top 10 finish for every
clothes item that isn't an earth tone? The world's No. 1 player
may approach Sunday like a day at the office, but Garcia treats
it like a Friday afternoon off.
CORY ENNS, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Reilly's comments about the Ryder Cup almost make me embarrassed
to have rooted for the U.S. team. He shows the arrogance and poor
sportsmanship that are sadly becoming the hallmark of U.S.
sports. Rather than sniping about Garcia's behavior, which
appeared to be honest excitement, he should be questioning why
the U.S. team seemed to have no emotion at all. Rather than
complaining about the European team's celebration on the 18th
green, he should point out that the match had already been
decided, which it hadn't been during the U.S. team's celebration
in 1999. And finally, rather than looking for a scapegoat in
Strange, he should congratulate the European team for ultimately
playing better golf. Good sportsmanship is sadly lacking in
athletes these days. It appears to be rare in sportswriters too.
JAMES SHELP, Apalachin, N.Y.

I find Garcia as annoying as the next golf fan does, but Reilly
sounds like a bitter poor sport who just lost the school's
kickball game and needs to resort to name-calling to make himself
feel better. Sorry, Rick, take the loss with dignity. Sometimes,
if you can believe it, even Americans lose.
DOR PANCHYSON, Waterloo, Ont.

Sam Torrance had every right to tweak the course to his players'
strengths; that's what home court advantage is all about. And if
Garcia and Lee Westwood could drive the 10th green on Saturday,
why couldn't our big hitters do the same? Watching them lay up
with a seven-iron epitomized the competition: no guts, no glory,
no cup.

Home Games

Since I am currently deployed to East Africa in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom, I just received the Sept. 16 SI. It
included a series on how sports shaped people's lives (For Love
of the Game) and Michael Silver's football odyssey (American
Beauty). He described how nothing mattered once the football was
kicked and you felt the electricity in the stadium. Whether it's
2 a.m. in Kyrgyzstan or 5 a.m. in Afghanistan, service members
flock to television sets to watch sports. Everyone forgets about
the lousy locations, and for a couple of hours as we watch the
NFL, college football or the baseball playoffs we feel the
electricity of home. Thanks for the great issue!

Send in the Cyclones

Nebraska's fall from grace (INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Oct. 7)?
Come on, SI. What about Iowa State's turnaround from two decades
of mediocrity to consecutive bowl appearances and a 5-1 start in
2002? Isn't that more newsworthy than what's not happening in

Bronx Bombers

Tom Verducci was right (Truth Be Told, Oct. 7). The Angels don't
match up well with the Yankees. They dominate them.
MARTIN KRAUSE, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Whiskers on Kittens

Rushin's rewording, despite its cleverness and originality, is
still only my second favorite version of My Favorite Things (AIR
AND SPACE, Oct. 7). John Coltrane's rendition ranks first.
JOE MOFFA, Richmond Hill, N.Y.

Wonderful photos that swallow the pages,
Bountiful bull's-eyes from sharp-witted sages,
Half-worn bikinis that my postman brings,
These are a few of my favorite things!
KEN GAUTHIER, Londonderry, N.H.

Hammering Hank

Hank McGraw has failed at everything he has ever tried to do (An
Uncommon Life, Oct. 7). He has let down everyone who has cared
for him or tried to help him. He touches no other person, and no
one touches him. Gary Smith sees a rebel who refuses to
compromise. I see a tragically wasted life.

Level Playing Field?

Congratulations to Suzy Whaley for her performance in the PGA
Connecticut Section Championship (SCORECARD, Sept. 30). Having
said that, I think she should neither be permitted to play in the
Greater Hartford Open nor be considered the winner of the
tournament. Her competing from a different set of tees than the
men is the equivalent to playing a different golf course. While a
10% shorter course may not sound like a great deal, it is an
average of nearly 40 yards per hole less than her male
counterparts had to play.


COLOR PHOTO: HENRY HOPKINS ALI CONNOLLY is in the running for NCAA Woman of the Year.

COLOR PHOTO: JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES U.S. SOLDIERS in Kandahar celebrate the American spirit by watching sports.

Perpetual Panther Power

I realize that it's easy to choose Williams, perennial winners of
the Sears Cup, as the top Division III sports school. However, if
you measure success by national championships, nobody comes close
to the record of Middlebury College. Since 1995 the Panthers have
won 17 titles in men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's
ice hockey, women's cross-country and field hockey. This total
could become 18 if the women's cross-country team defends its
national title later this fall. Over the same time period
Williams has won seven national championships, with five of them
in tennis. A Middlebury athlete--my daughter Julia--won last
season's Honda Award as the top D-III women's athlete, and
another Middlebury woman has been selected as a finalist for the
NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which will be announced later this

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