When I first saw the cover of your Dec. 1 issue I was angry and depressed. I thought surely your famous kiss of death had been placed on our beloved Hoosiers. But the No. 1 college basketball team of 1975-76 (and 1974-75) is too awesome to succumb to some silly superstition.
Down here in Chapel Hill I think most people are happy with our "mysterious" coach and with the No. 8 rating you gave us. We're just leaning back and smiling.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Who actually picks your NCAA basketball Top 20? Santa Claus? The Three Little Pigs? Last year Kentucky was not among your illustrious 20, yet the Wildcats finished second in the nation. I figured this year you would certainly include them.
Fort Mitchell, Ky.
You failed to mention the Creighton Blue-jays. Creighton had an impressive 20-7 record last year, appeared in the Top 20 and landed an NCAA regional playoff berth. I also noticed you picked Drake to be tops in the Missouri Valley. Creighton played the tough Bulldogs in its season opener. Final score: Creighton 84, Drake 63.
December 15, 1975
Enough is enough. Will SI ever see the light and give the Syracuse University basketball team the credit it so richly deserves?
After any preview issue of SI, I always wait with amusement for the 19TH HOLE in the following weeks so I can discover how you "blew it" and how Old PU is honestly the best bet for No. 1. There is no argument with your choice of the Hoosiers after their St. Louis debut; however, you did commit one personal foul. Adrian Dantley's 30.4-points-per-game average placed him second to the University of Richmond's Bob McCurdy (32.9), not David Thompson, who was third with 29.9.
RICK ST. CLAIR
New Hartford, N.Y.
I want to compliment you on finally realizing that women's basketball is just as exciting as the men's game. Female athletes should receive equal recognition, and I hope that this issue marks the beginning.
Rock Hill, S.C.
In college basketball two words, guard and Providence, have become synonymous. Over the years the Friars have delivered a long line of outstanding ball handlers to the pros, ranging from Lenny Wilkens to Kevin Stacom. However, in your article They Can Do Everything (Dec. 1) you make no mention of this year's Providence backcourt, which features Joey Hassett and Furman University transfer Bruce Grimm.
It !seems in your list of a "bumper bunch of do-it-alls" you skipped a guard named Skip Brown of Wake Forest, who finished second only to David Thompson last season in the ACC scoring race with a 22.7-points-per-game average.
JAMES C. MABRY IV
In regard to your photos showing the true worth of the guard in basketball, one facet was left out, jumping ability. A likely candidate for this would have been 6'7" Bob Wilkerson of Indiana. He is such a good leaper that he jumps center in place of 6'11" Kent Benson. In the opener against UCLA he won both center jumps from the Bruins' 7'1¾" Ralph Drollinger.
South Bend, Ind.
In regard to the "Peace Conference" item in SCORECARD (NOV. 24), I can assure you that the IOC is in no way "all for the idea" of "direct supervision of the separate Olympic sports by a subcommittee of a higher sports authority."
I have received a letter from Lord Killanin, president of the IOC, in which he says his views are in accord with mine. He states that the USOC should be like all other national Olympic committees and consist of representatives of governing bodies directly affiliated with international federations.
I might also add that the IOC did not send Mr. Daume to the hearing. He appeared at the invitation of the President's Commission, presumably to say something it wanted to hear.
JULIAN K. ROOSEVELT
International Olympic Committee
Oyster Bay, N.Y.
My compliments on your article The Hunt to Save the Hunting (Nov. 24) and to Bruce Cowgill on his dedication to wildlife conservation. His efforts are needed and appreciated by many. I hope every county and state will join Mr. Cowgill's crusade and endorse a program of "Acres for Wildlife."
DAVID M. KINCAID
Your article on the risks of hang gliding (The Soaring Risk of Flying High, Nov. 24) certainly made readers aware that hang-glider pilots expose themselves to possible injury. It might have tried to put the risk in perspective by estimating the number of flights made in a year (two per week for each of 10,000 pilots comes out to more than one million) and giving more emphasis to the actions being taken to minimize injuries. No injuries have been recorded from the thousands of hang-gliding flights that have been made at Yosemite National Park, but in the time it has been allowed there eight people have been killed while rock climbing in that park.
Hang gliding is an individual activity that can be done anywhere, so it does not lend itself to governmental regulation, which would drive the individualists back into the hills, away from the knowledge they need to make them safe pilots. The only thing that will make hang gliding safer is communicating the lessons others have learned the hard way to all pilots and newcomers. This we in the U.S. Hang Gliding Association are trying to do in our monthly magazine Ground Skimmer and through our Hang Rating Program for pilots. More and more flying sites are now controlled by the local hang-gliding organizations and businesses, so that only pilots with the appropriate Hang Rating arc being allowed to fly from each launching point.
We have learned that the safe band of operating conditions for hang gliders is rather narrow, namely, wind between 5 mph and 20 mph, with gusts of less than 5 mph. Outside this range the risk increases significantly, so we urge pilots not to fly then.
Incidentally, the Third Annual U.S. National Hang Gliding Championships, held at Grandfather Mountain, Linville, N.C. were very successful. Dave Muehl of Inglewood, Calif. won the national champion's trophy. Top placers in the 1976 Nationals will comprise the U.S. team for the First World Hang Gliding Championships, to be held next September in Kossen, Austria.
New Zealand miler John Walker holds the most distinguished record in the history of sport. He is truly the Sportsman of the Year.
AL DEL GUERCIO
There can be no Sportsman of the Year 1975, only an Event of the Year and that is the World Series.
Falls Church, Va.
SAMUEL CALDWELL JR.
Bobby Hull. Not only does he play hockey the way it is supposed to be played, he really cares what happens to the game.
How could it be anyone but Gordie Howe?
EDWARD F. ROGERS
The man most responsible for the NBA playoff miracle, Rick Barry.
Has anyone ever done as much for an entire league as Dr. J?
Frisbeeists John Kirkland and Victor Malafronte. Look what they have done for sport.
Creve Coeur, Mo.
PETER VAN AKEN
Hyde Park, N.Y.
Cheryl Tiegs. Your Jan. 27 cover said it all.
Forest Hills, N.Y.
SHOOTING FOR COLD
Joe Jares has to be kidding when he says U.S. domination in Olympic basketball competition may be a thing of the past (Their Goal Is Gold in '76, Nov. 24). We know the U.S.S.R. did not really win in 1972, and where were Bill Walton and/or Marvin Barnes during that Olympic contest?
As for 1976, with Dean Smith coaching and such possible players as Adrian Dantley, Richard Washington, Kent Benson, Bernard King and Bo Ellis, to name a few, I don't foresee any problems for the U.S. Since the Games are being held in Canada, there will be many Americans on hand to support our team and bring this gold medal back where it belongs.
Joe Jares' article has reinforced my contention that the Soviets will once again win the gold medal in basketball in '76. As he says, the Soviets have just completed playing against some of our best collegiate competition. Exposure to these teams has to have had a positive effect upon the Soviet program. But what have we gained from playing them? Olympic Coach Dean Smith has a plethora of obstacles to overcome if the U.S. is to regain the gold medal. He must be able to mold a handful of players who may never have played together before into a smooth, cohesive unit. He must strive to offset the Soviets' advantage of having played together for years. And he must be prepared to compensate for those players who are drafted by the pros. Until the time comes when we will be able to field our best team, I maintain that we are giving the upper hand to the Soviets.
KEVIN H. BEACH
THE FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON WAY
Your Nov. 10 story about Clyde Worthen, our 30-year-old wrestling champion (Latest in the Line at Fairly Ridiculous), does Fairleigh Dickinson University a service and a disservice. The ninth-largest independent university in the country does not need to respond to time-worn misperceptions of its significance in higher education. It is beneath our dignity, and that kind of reporting should have been beneath the dignity of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. We appreciate, however, your pointing out that there are opportunities for intercollegiate athletics at Fairleigh Dickinson not typically available at other institutions. We take pride in that policy. In fact, it is a fundamental part of the Fairleigh Dickinson personality to try to find places in the classroom or on the athletic field for those with the drive to succeed. We think that's what education and athletics are all about. Unfortunately, in labeling such athletes "oddball" you discourage other universities from following the lead of Fairleigh Dickinson. We consider that a disservice to our students, our university and intercollegiate athletics.
EARLE W. CLIFFORD
Vice President, University Resources
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.