As a member of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, I voted for the penalty imposed on Oklahoma and have no doubt about the appropriateness of that penalty, given the nature of the violation of which Oklahoma was by its own admission guilty (The Best Team You'll Never See, Nov. 4).
On the other hand, I think it is utter nonsense for the football coaches who are voting in the UPI poll to pretend that Oklahoma does not exist. Under paragraph 7 (a)(8) of the NCAA Enforcement Procedure, the NCAA could have prohibited Oklahoma from playing intercollegiate football for a specified period. It did not do so, and Oklahoma is competing. Since it is allowed to compete, it seems wholly illogical to pretend that it is not competing. If it is the best team in the country it should be so rated.
I thought that Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer displayed real class in the game against Texas. Oklahoma recovered a fumble deep in Texas territory in the final minute of play. In a year when the only thing that Oklahoma can compete for is its ranking in the AP poll, a 10-point victory would have looked better than a three-point victory, and I think it is to Switzer's credit that he did not take time-outs in an effort to score another touchdown that would have meant nothing to the game but might have impressed those who vote in the AP poll.
CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT
Professor of Law
University of Texas
Should probation prevent Oklahoma from claiming the national title? Yes! Yes! Yes! To crown a probationary team national champion would be to openly condone the transgressions involved and, at the same time, reward a lawbreaker for having broken the law. The No. 1 diadem belongs to the deserving. Awarding it to a probationary team would make it a tarnished thing of no luster or consequence.
I am not an Oklahoma fan, nor do I have any opinion on whether the Sooners should be ranked in the polls while on probation. I feel very strongly, however, that the probationary penalties that exclude a team from telecasts and bowl games unjustly penalize the football fans and, in the case of Oklahoma, players who were not responsible.
As I understand it, the object of the probation is to penalize the school financially. This could easily be done by allowing the team to be televised and/or go to bowls with its share of the money being given to charity. Additionally, as has been proposed elsewhere, a line could be levied on the university.
W. ROBERT WATSON
Your article Don't Send My Boy to Harvard...(Nov. 4) gives fans a progress report on young Moses Malone and, at the same time, warns of an emerging trend in professional basketball: that of highly touted high school phenoms foregoing college and signing professional contracts. Malone's surprisingly successful transition will set the precedent.
This hardship thing has gone too far. The next thing you know pro basketball teams will be after junior high dribblers. Moses Malone will learn the facts of life. That elbow in the ribs was just a sample of what he is going to get in the future. He'll be manhandled by more experienced players. And he'll be subject to the bench jockeys of the other ABA teams.
If only the Utah Stars had had more sense. Why give a kid fresh out of high school a multimillion-dollar contract just to learn the techniques of a three-point play? I can see Malone's point. But couldn't he have gone to college first? I call a big personal foul on the Utah Stars and the ABA. I hope they won't do it again.
JAMES P. MANNING JR.
It's hard to believe that in today's world of sports spectaculars, SI would take the time and effort to report on Lake Placid (Back Where the Games Belong, Nov. 4). I, for one, wholeheartedly agree with the concept of keeping the Olympic Games small and conducting them for the athletes, not the officials, the press or the quadrennial medal-counters.
When the IOC announced its 1980 site selections, the majority of the media chose to highlight the choice of Moscow for the Summer Olympics, with little or no recognition of the Lake Placid designation. At least SI is on the ball and ready to recognize the great expectations for and the potential of the 1980 Winter Games.
JAMES E. SHEA
West Hartford, Conn.
William Leggett hit the nail on the head when he labeled Vin Scully "extraordinary" in his article A Good Look at the Series (TV/RADIO, Oct. 28). Scully saved millions of sports fans from going to sleep listening to the walking, talking Sominex pill, Curt Gowdy. Leggett's words about Gowdy weren't strong enough. Gowdy was a major disappointment, and his colleagues, Tony Kubek and Monte Moore, were just as bad. Living in the Phoenix area, I have the pleasure of listening to Scully on all the Dodger radio broadcasts. In fact, during the Series I turned off the sound on my TV and tuned in the radio when Jim Simpson and Scully were announcing. President Ford may not appreciate this waste of electricity, but I feel my personal health is more important.
STEVEN R. BRAZELL
William Leggett said what 54 million of us were thinking during every game of the Series.
C. S. MONDELLI
William Leggett asserts, "Curt Gowdy seems to know only three things about the A's and you can set your watch by them," i.e., Sal Bando's wife is an excellent Italian-style cook, the distance of Reggie Jackson's 1971 All-Star Game blast and the derivation of Catfish Hunter's nickname. Shame on you, Bill! How did you miss the most repeated Gowdy watch-setter, namely, the number of touchdown passes thrown by Vida Blue as a high school quarterback (35)?
For years, Gowdy's annoying technique of repeating the same "insights" every game has caused me to turn down the sound more than once. Among some of my favorite Gowdyisms are:
1) Darrell Evans' aunt who was a pitcher in a California Softball league (a must during any Brave telecast).
2) The number of ballplayers to come out of the Mobile, Ala. area (a must any time Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, Billy Williams or Henry Aaron comes to the plate).
3) Howard Twilley's size (during each and every Dolphin telecast, Gowdy says, "Every year they say he's too small to survive in the NFL").
4) References to Cesar Cedeno's ability (Gowdy never fails to mention during an Astro telecast that Cedeno has the five prerequisites needed to become a bona fide superstar—the ability to hit, hit with power, run, throw and field).
5) The peculiarities of Joe Morgan's batting mannerisms (during each and every Reds telecast there is mention, replete with isolated camera shot, of Joe Morgan's twitching forearm).
And finally, the chestnut Gowdy pulls out for each and every NFL contest: "Coaches feel that if their offense can gain more than 250 yards while holding the opposition to fewer than 200 yards, their team has a good chance of winning the ball game." Take it away, Al.
GEORGE T. GAROS
I realize that Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek are no dynamic duo when it comes to broadcasting, but they were a welcome relief from Vin Scully. Maybe viewers "heard very little from Monte Moore" when the Series shifted to Oakland, but a few well chosen words from him were worth more than all of Scully's excessive bombast. I wonder if Scully has ever heard that silence is golden.
I very much enjoyed the article by Jack Nicklaus (My Lasting Contribution, Oct. 14). He is not only an outstanding player, but a terrific individual. He seems to have it all together. He gives the impression of a man of values, a man who appreciates the spiritual as well as the material and who has a lot of humility. Nobody ever mentions it, but Nicklaus is a good loser as well as a good winner. He never complains about a loss; he never offers any alibis. The younger generation couldn't have a better man to look up to. Maybe the older generation, also.
San Jose, Calif.
If they ever get around to selecting names for the holes at Muirfield Village, they might consider "Ridiculaus" for the 13th, in honor of Jack.
E. M. LANOUETTE
I like to watch football games on TV. I like to watch pretty girls, too, but not at the expense of missing parts of the game. At first I thought that if the networks employed camerawomen we might see an entire game, but then maybe they would pan the crowd in search of good-looking guys. Perhaps a neuter computer might be the answer, or would it become distracted by the blinking lights of the scoreboard?
In any case, I wish the networks would please keep the cameras on the game.
Battle Creek, Mich.
The world champion Philadelphia Flyers and the world champion Oakland A's have become accustomed to the singing of God Bless America during their home-game rituals. I wonder if there is a message in this.
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