Oh, the irony of NCAA football. In addition to revenue earned from football camps and speaking engagements, coaches like Jim Tressel can command a salary of $3.5 million per year. But the student-athletes, the ones who actually play the games, are prohibited from trading in their used, worn-out jerseys and team memorabilia for a little spending money.
William Vining, Laurens, N.Y.
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I want to thank George Dohrmann and David Epstein for their outstanding investigative piece on Tressel and the corruption at Ohio State (The Fall of Jim Tressel, June 6). From the multitude of student-athletes with criminal records, to the dishonest coaches and agents, to the scandals with the bowl system, one can only wonder what will be left of college football when all of the corrupt layers have been peeled away.
Brenden R. West
Coach Tressel was lauded throughout his career for his morals and public displays of rectitude. How sad is it that he now will be seen as an example of what not to be: a man who plays by the rules in public but fails to do the right thing when no one is watching.
The Woodlands, Texas
As an OSU alumnus, it saddens me to think that Tressel violated the rules under the auspices of doing whatever it takes to win. Still, I don't put the blame on Tressel alone. Where were athletic director Gene Smith and university president Gordon Gee during all of this?.
Alex Harris, Galloway, Ohio
Other than the changing of names and dates, I fail to see how the circumstances surrounding Tressel and the lack of institutional control in the athletic department at Ohio State is any different from what Southern Methodist did to earn the NCAA death penalty in the late 1980s.
Vision of Hope
I loved your inspirational story about Luis Salazar (Sight To Behold, June 6). My wife was recently hit in the eye while playing tennis and was temporarily blinded, requiring three surgeries. If a tennis ball can do that much damage, I can only imagine what a batted baseball could do.
Brady Dunn, Salt Lake City
Kudos to Michael Farber for pointing out that maybe, just maybe, Lance Armstrong isn't such a bad guy (SCORECARD, June 6). If every professional athlete cheated but then helped to raise $325 million for cancer research, the world would still be a much better place.
As a head and neck cancer survivor I want to thank Mr. Farber for his honest and revealing article on his cancer diagnosis. The road to being cancer-free is long and difficult. Armstrong has more than given back to cancer patients all over the world with his name, money and positive attitude. No matter what he may or may not have taken to aid his cycling abilities, winning the Tour de France seven times as a cancer survivor is unthinkable. He has shown all of us that you don't have to just sit on the sidelines and let cancer win.
Steve Nau, Danville, Calif.
Farber should remember that buying indulgences went out with the Reformation. Armstrong's good deeds and friendly demeanor should not outweigh his potential doping charges.
Jim Hansen, Fowler, Calif.
I was surprised to read the comment from Dr. Michael Hier about not recalling any nonmedical person having had as much of an impact on fund-raising and cancer awareness as Armstrong. In 1980, 21-year-old Canadian Terry Fox, who three years earlier was diagnosed with bone cancer and had his right leg amputated above the knee, ran across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Fox ran 3,339 miles over 143 consecutive days before the spread of his illness forced him to abandon his dream. Still, he raised more than $24 million before his death in 1981. The Terry Fox Run is now an annual event held in some 60 countries. To date it has raised more than $550 million for cancer research.
David Bannon, Toronto
I thought Phil Taylor's column on gay bashing was great (POINT AFTER, June 6). Most athletes really don't care whether another athlete is gay. Instead, they look at his or her athletic abilities and will to win.
Don DeRoo, New York City
In high school I swam and ran both track and cross-country. I know first-hand the sort of feelings a gay athlete goes through when trying to balance a masculine athletic persona with feelings of isolation because of one's sexuality. While being openly gay can be hard, it becomes even more difficult when one is forced to portray other people's ideals of masculinity. I hope that Taylor's message encourages young men and women to be who they are.
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