L'AFFAIRE BRENNAN (CONT.)
After reading Father Hesburgh's article about the firing of Terry Brennan I gathered that Terry did not measure up to the standard of excellence of performance set by Noire Dame, bin in just what respects Terry was deficient remains a mystery.
Father Hesburgh is right that a university must be dedicated to a program of academic excellence. The principal justification for college athletics can be found in the inaugural address of Charles W. Eliot in 1869 upon, assuming the presidency of Harvard when he said:
"Harvard College is sometimes reproached with being aristocratic. If by aristocracy be meant a stupid and pretentious caste, founded on wealth, and birth, and an affectation of European manners, no charge could be more preposterous: the College is intensely American in affection, and intensely democratic in temper. But there is an aristocracy to which the sons of Harvard have belonged, and, let us hope, will ever aspire to belong—the aristocracy which excels in manly sports, carries off the honors and prizes of the learned professions, and bears itself with distinction in all fields of intellectual labor and combat.
What Father Hesburgh neglected to say is that in the term excellence must be included the prime objective of all education—character building. It is of little avail to have intellectual scientists, doctors, lawyers and professional men if they lack character. Likewise, the only excuse for collegiate athletics is that they assist in the program of character building.
February 2, 1959
The question most of us would like answered is not whether Terry Brennan achieved excellence on the gridiron but whether he was deficient in the building of character among the players and student body. Does the will to win overshadow the moral code which a university such as Notre Dame should at all times foster? It seems to me that Father Hesburgh has just added further confusion in a field already replete with complexities by his failure to be specific on a matter which disturbs those interested primarily in education—in which a program of collegiate athletics should form a minor and not major integral part.
ROBERT N. GORMAN
Please reconcile the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh's statement, "...commitment to excellence, and the judgment that the performance would be bettered by the change," with his other statement, "A team can perform miserably and win, and a team can look magnificent in defeat. The won-and-lost record is no ultimate criterion for a reasonable and thinking man. Excellence of performance, spirit and the will to win are really central to any good sport activity...."
Didn't Terry encourage "excellence of performance, spirit," etc. or was his won-and-lost record the ultimate criterion?
I am still confused. Was Brennan "removed" because he didn't produce "excellence of performance" or was it that he didn't win often enough?
PHILLIP H. SAVAGE
Father Hesburgh's pure logic, unemotional objectivity, precise argumentation, unassailable facts, right perspective, cool directness, unaffected honesty will put to flight those detractors of Notre Dame's academic integrity.
E. M. SKAZINSKI
G. R. MICH
I am one of those who had been under the impression that Mr. Brennan was a fine, clean-cut young man with the know-how to manage a first-rate college ball club. The newspapers, in this part of the country at least, certainly have not hinted at any bad coach-player relations; nor have they suggested that morally or ethically Mr. Brennan falls short of the requirements of a good coach of young men.
Until someone at Notre Dame wades out of the close atmosphere of this situation and comes forward with a straight account, I for one will still be of the opinion that—due to pressures, of one kind or another—a real fine young coach, who was a definite credit to the profession, was unfairly railroaded out of his job. Notre Dame needs a spokesman with a little more inclination toward straight, square talk to present their side to the sports-minded public.
KARL G. SCHMIDT
Excellence is tempered by justice, kindness and tolerance, or so the Bible says.
Your endorsement of the ruling of the NCAA in the case of the USC penalty ("Feel Sorry for the Kids," SI, Jan. 19) is appalling. Though the results are less brutal, the approach of the NCAA is the same one used by the Nazis when they settled their score with the town of Lidice. The philosophy is identical.
One of the prime problems in our country is the encouragement of youth in all areas of physical fitness. It is a great shame that any group that functions without democratic processes is allowed to penalize an entire student body and discourage their whole athletic program. If there is true guilt the accuser should be made to face the accused and the guilty person punished. This is a shameful situation.
I am not an alumnus of USC nor a Californian. I'm still a New Yorker, so my deep resentment is purely that of a citizen. I shall do everything in my power to start a federal investigation of the entire NCAA setup.
Sherman Oaks, Calif.
•Mr. Barnum first errs in likening the National Collegiate Athletic Association to a dictatorship. The NCAA is not a "czar" in the sense of baseball's Commissioner's office; it is a voluntary union of some 500 colleges for the purpose of maintaining a basic uniformity in collegiate athletics. The NCAA works through its committees, which are elected from the ranks of the colleges' representatives.
Mr. Barnum further errs in supposing that an investigation by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions is conducted in a secretive manner, unbeknownst to the college concerned, and that penalties thunder down from a blue sky. Here, summarized, is a chronology of the major steps that preceded the latest action against the University of Southern California.
On Nov. 4, 1957 USC was notified by the Committee on Infractions that a football recruiting violation had been reported to the committee and the university was asked to supply certain information. USC sent the information on Jan. 3, 1958. In May 1958 the committee reached a "tentative conclusion" that an infraction had occurred and USC was so advised.
On Sept. 12, 1958 faculty representatives from USC met with members of the Committee on Infractions in Chicago to go over the evidence and to try to convince the committeemen that the charges were unfounded. But the committee later advised the university that they still believed an infraction had occurred.
There was yet another meeting on Dec. 7, 1958. Again USC argued its case, and again, after consideration, the committee could not see its way to changing its mind.
On Jan. 7, 1959 the NCAA held its annual meeting in Cincinnati. The USC case was reported to the Council, the ruling body of the NCAA, and the Council's verdict was announced.
USC protested the verdict. The university claimed that both the Committee on Infractions and the Council had based their decision in part on two matters of evidence which were given to the university only one week before the Council met, too short a time for the university to act upon it. The NCAA Council replied that it considered the evidence "inconsequential and incidental" compared to the body of evidence available to the committee and to the university during the past 14 months.
And there it stands: the verdict was reached in an equitable manner. As to the punishment: Mr. Barnum's argument that "the guilty person" should be punished is untenable. The NCAA cannot punish individuals since it is not an association of individuals but of institutions.—ED.
Along with thousands of other baseball fans I am horrified and outraged by the announcement, "No National League TV in New York in 1959" (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Dec. 22). Is there no way that the highhanded maneuvers of the Yankee organization can be halted? If they fear further decreases in attendance at their games, why do they not curtail televising their own home games, as many sports do? They should at least have enough sense of sportsmanlike fair play to admit there are baseball teams other than the American League. And if, in answer to this, they mention the competition within their own league I can only say, "Oh, yes?" Americans do not like one-party dictatorship, and we cannot believe that the Baseball Commissioner will countenance such policies.
Are we to hear next that the Yankees will not even allow continuation of the reconstructed radio broadcasts of Giant games?
Can you not help the multitudes of National League fans to be heard?
New York City
Mentally I am constantly writing letters but seldom do I get down to business. This time here goes. I enjoyed the article about Stanwood Murphy's ranch in Nevada (Midwinter Hunt, SI, Jan. 19) but he doesn't have the largest herd of Santa Gertrudis west of Texas. Harrigan of Phoenix has a ranch in Patagonia, Arizona with 300 or more head of Santa Gertrudis. We visited Harrigan's ranch in the fall and became well educated on Santa Gertrudis, and it is a fascinating business.
Also, that was a fine piece of double-talk Father Hesburgh gave.
MARY ELIZABETH REMPE
HOCKEY: THE RUSSIANS
I read with interest Robert H. Boyle's article, Red Icemen Come, See and Conquer (SI, Jan. 12).
As a transplanted Canadian who devoted 15 years to playing and coaching our national game, I compliment him on the thoroughness of the article but must take exception to American Referee Bill Riley's statement: "They're very conscious of the advance they've made. They've done in 10 years what Canada did in 100."
It would be most inappropriate for a Canadian to tell an American that the Japanese have done in baseball in the last 10 years what it took Americans 100 years to do. Let's face the fact that Russian hockey players—who have made tremendous strides in this exciting game—are out-and-out subsidized professionals devoting all of their time on a dedicated basis to the game of hockey for national prestige and worldwide propaganda purposes.
They also enjoy the protection of the restrictive European rules, which any 10-year-old Canadian hockey player can tell you are so badly outmoded that they take all the fun out of the game.
I am not an advocate of blood-and-thunder hockey. But I will venture to state that a reasonably selective group of 15 senior amateur Canadian hockey players, with government grants and blessings and full-time devotion to their game, following the same plan as the Russians now have and playing under the rules with which they are most familiar, would beat the tar out of any hockey team Russia could create within the next 100 years.
It is a fact that for the most part the hockey teams Canadians have sent into world competitions in the last five or six years could be compared more properly to a good Double-A or Triple-A professional baseball team in United States jargon. If a National Hockey League team were to play the Russians I shudder to think of the consequences.
"They've done in 10 years what Canada did in 100" sounds impressive until you analyze it. The Russian team which is currently touring the U.S. is substantially the same team which represented the Soviet Union in the world championship tourney last year. And this same team will be Russia's official entry again this year.
The team which will represent Canada this year has only one holdover from the Whitby Dunlops, last year's champions. In fact, possibly 10 teams of the caliber of the Dunlops—or Belleville McFarlands, this year's representatives—could be rounded up in Canada, but the big difficulty is to get these players released from their regular teams, which might be fighting for a league championship, or because a likely prospect is unable to leave his job.
The Russian record, with their 200-million population against our 17 million, their cold winters and state support, does not seem too impressive. Mr. Boyle's summation (in Referee Riley's words), while attractive as a catch phrase, does not bear close scrutiny.
ROBERT J. BRUCE
Val d'Or, Que.
As a constant reader of Charles Goren's column I believe I am entitled to ask a question which has plagued me since reading his article in the September 29 issue.
The hand illustrated was the first-round match of Italy against France where neither side was vulnerable with West dealer. Goren stated that against Belladonna and Avarelli, France got to a slam bid of six hearts. The hand was:
[5 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[King of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[King of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[4 of Diamonds]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[Queen of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[9 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
My question is: if this is a championship match, why in the world didn't anyone bid six spades—East-West—for a defense of down three? Even vulnerable doubled against a nonvulnerable North-South, it would be a fine defensive bid.
And if they didn't do it—why didn't Goren point it out? It seems to me that for us second-rate palookas to really learn this game, the most important features should be the alternate possibilities.
GERALD W. UNGER
•European team championships are scored in International Match Points, a method which magnifies small swings and minifies large ones. Down three, not vulnerable—a loss of 500 points—would cost six IMPs. A non-vulnerable slam, worth 980 if made, costs only seven IMPs.
This gulf isn't always as wide as it seems. The six IMP score is awarded for a range between 500 and 750; seven IMPs for a range from 750 to 990. Nevertheless, it is obviously unsound to concede six IMPs when the opponents can gain only seven if they make their contract and might pay you one if they were set.—ED.
VIOLENCE ON FIELD AND COURT
I would like to register a strong protest against the continual changing of the rules of college football and basketball. There was a time when the average fan in the stands could explain the games to his wife with reasonable assurance. But now even the ardent follower needs a computer to keep track of the number of fouls, number of times and when a man has been in the game and what constitutes an illegal play, if he expects to keep abreast of the action. It is one thing to encourage spectator interest, but it is quite another to cause confusion, spend money uselessly to change equipment and eradicate vestiges of games that bring back so many memories to the people who, after all, popularized them.
The trigger-happy pundits of the NCAA rules committees might stop to consider that their primary duty is to preserve the games, not to camouflage them beyond recognition. They might look to tennis and ice hockey, both of which are enjoying tremendous growth without violent rule change.
MARTIN C. SPECHLER