Resentment dominated my first reaction to the statements regarding the Eastern College Athletic Conference and myself as its commissioner contained in your SCORECARD item, "In a Fix" (March 4). This emotion was quickly dwarfed by shock in the realization that a magazine of SI's reputability would print this information without giving opportunity for rebuttal to parties maligned.
I have never said to anyone that the ECAC is lax or frivolous or discriminatory in the application of its rules (such faulty stewardship definitely does not exist). I have never given permission for undergraduate athletes to participate in noncollegiate or outside competition (that is the function of the individual college athletic director, acting under pertinent ECAC regulations). Though readily available at office and home, I was not consulted by an SI representative concerning the accuracy of the damaging material published. I decline nomination as "Uncle Asa."
New York City
This past summer I was league director for the YMCA's summer basketball program. On June 13, 1967, before our league was to begin play, I placed a call, person to person, to Asa S. Bushnell, ECAC commissioner. The purpose of the call was to find out if college basketball players with eligibility remaining could participate in summer basketball leagues and whether participation in the league with professional basketball players would affect eligibility. Mr. Bushnell told me of the rule in the ECAC bylaws on noncollegiate competition, Article 3, Section 6, governing off-season play. He indicated that although the rule existed it was not being enforced by the ECAC. Mr. Bushnell also said that college players with eligibility remaining would not be affected by the participation of professional basketball players in the same league, so long as the college players and professional players were not on the same team. Charles Fix played in our summer basketball league only after I told him of my conversation with Mr. Bushnell.
Assistant Physical Director, YMCA
MARAVICH OR MURPHY?
Curry Kirkpatrick's article (The Coed Boppers' Top Cat, March 4) vividly describes "Pistol Pete" Maravich, but it fails to mention certain statistics that are vital in determining whether he is actually a budding superstar. LSU, by creating a team that revolves around one player, might win a national scoring title for Maravich, but it will win nothing close to a national championship.
Your article on Pete Maravich was a fine one. However, when Maravich does score 45 points, he makes a great deal of them from in close to the basket, whereas Calvin Murphy rarely shoots from closer than 20 feet. If both Murphy and Maravich were to play pro ball, which would you select? A man who at 6'5" would be just too short to play forward and not quick enough to be a shooting guard? Remember the pros are just a little bit bigger and faster than Maravich. Murphy, with his great speed, would be able to shoot from 20 to 25 feet out, while Maravich would not score as readily from that distance.
BLAIR J. CIKEIN
New Concord, Ohio
BLACK AND WHITE
If the purpose of Professor Harry, Edwards' NYAC boycott (Boycott Now—Boycott Later? Feb. 26) was to protest separatist policies of the New York Athletic Club and if South Africa's apartheid really upsets him so, why does he make such equally racist remarks as, "We're here to keep the blacks out, not go in and join the damn whites," and "I think we should go up to Harlem and be with our brothers"?
Harry's logic seems inconsistent. He appears to be advocating the same thing he's protesting. How does one advance the cause of integrated athletics by preaching separatism?
Glen Cove, N.Y.
Re Mark Mulvoy's story (If You Love Me, Tell Me So, Feb. 26), please be advised that northwestern Minnesota's cultural, educational, commercial, social, religious and political center is pleased to be given recognition by so eminent a publication as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. We accept with appropriate modesty the appellation of hockey capital of the U.S. The graduates of our hockey program have graced the ranks of U.S. Olympic and Ivy League teams and have brought prestige and honor to those teams, not only with their superior athletic skill, but also with their obvious cultural and educational endowments. We are distressed by the inference in the article that we articulate in ungrammatical terms and are less than fashionably attired, either at home or abroad. Long ere this the vernacular suffered demise through innocuous desuetude, and gaudy adornment has succumbed and been replaced with impeccable good taste. Even Minneapolis displays more provincialism than does this friendly city of the north country.
DR. A. E. JACOBSON, Mayor
Thief River Falls, Minn.
We read with interest your SCORECARD article on March 4 titled, "Taking a Cut."
Before agents entered the picture, college football players were usually represented by themselves or people with no previous experience in dealing with pro clubs. When Pro Sports negotiates a contract, we take several factors into consideration: how high on the list the player was drafted; the position for which he was drafted in relation to the club's need for a player in that position; and the player's ability and potential drawing power.
To take full advantage of their bargaining position, clubs generally try to isolate the 21-year-old college senior, unsophisticated in business dealings, rather than having a professional agent experienced in contract negotiation. But the very fact that so many of this year's draft choices are represented by agents reflects the athlete's knowledge that they are not equipped to go into negotiations on their own.
Before a boy signs a contract with us we give him a list of all the players we represent for endorsements or have represented in contract negotiations, and tell our potential client to call anyone on the list to ask about us.
We know of no agent whose fee is higher than 10%, and included in our services are financial planning, endorsements and finding off-season employment. We don't merely collect our commission and never see the boy again. For both the client and ourselves, the long-range aspects of our association are far more beneficial.
Pro Sports, Inc.
New York City
In regard to your recent article on snow-shoeing (The Only Way to Stay on Top of the World, Feb. 19), it would appear that, although Author Bil Gilbert knows his snow-shoes, he is woefully uninformed on the subject of skiing. This constantly recurring canard about the superiority of snowshoes over skis is a lot of nonsense. Mr. Gilbert is correct that a snowshoer can beat a skier equipped with the modern racing ski, which is fitted with a rigid binding and completely rigid boot. But a skier equipped with a touring ski (using a semisoft boot, an adjustable strap or cable binding and removable climbing skins) will leave a snowshoer so far behind that snow may have settled and the tracks filled in before the snowshoer gets there. This has been amply proved on numerous occasions.
Having used both methods of transportation in deep snow myself over a number of years, I am perfectly ready to admit that there are occasional types of work in deep snow, e.g., chopping wood, where snowshoes are less cumbersome than skis and that there are occasional bushwhacking situations involving extremely thick brush where the snowshoer has an advantage, but usually for only a short distance.
If your author is my age (47) or younger, I will gladly challenge him to a race in soft snow up and down mountains over an uncleared course, say 10 or 20 miles, or whatever seems appropriate. If he is older than I, I have plenty of friends and skiing companions in their 50s and 60s who would, I am sure, be glad to take him on.
J. LELAND SOSMAN, M.D.
Director, U.S. Ski Association
LONG AND SHORT
Your article about the Stanford-USC swim meet (Only a Little Old Dual Meet, Feb. 26), while interesting and well done, contained one gross exaggeration. Author Tom C. Brody chose to call Southern Cal sophomore backstroker Mark Mader "probably the fastest in the world." That is an interesting conclusion, considering that: 1) the world records for the backstroke (100 and 200 meters) are held by East Germany's Roland Matthes; 2) the American long-course (100 and 200 meters) records are both held by Indiana University junior Charlie Hickcox; 3) the American short-course (100 and 200 yards) records are divided between two swimmers: Gary Dilley of Michigan State, who owns the 100, and Mader; and 4) everyone who beat Mader is still swimming.
It is safe to call the 6'9" Mader the longest swimmer in the world, but calling him the fastest backstroker is a little ridiculous.
PHILIP F. HERSH
Yale Daily News
New Haven, Conn.