BASKETBALL'S RANK AND FILE
A college basketball fan living in Indianapolis surely feels at home after reading your Top 20 rankings (Nov. 29). Seven of the first 15 teams are within a five-hour drive of our fair city. Your only error lies in the fact that you failed to locate the No. 1 team one hour south of Indianapolis, in Bloomington, instead of five hours north, in Ann Arbor, Mich.
ROBERT C. HOAGLAND
How could you possibly rank Indiana 13th, among such unknowns as DePaul, Washington State and Georgetown? Kent Benson will dominate college basketball.
Mount Vernon, Ind.
You really blew it this time. Ranking Marquette No. 8 can only prove an embarrassment to SI.
Need I remind you that at the beginning of the 1971-72 and 1974-75 seasons you had the UCLA Bruins No. 4 in the nation, as you have done this year, and that in both cases UCLA ended up as NCAA champion?
A. JAMES HUMPHREYS
You neglected to include Alabama. The Tide is making waves this season.
How could you leave out Notre Dame?
My sincere thanks to Peter Gammons for telling it like it is in professional hockey (A Matter of Dollars and Sense, Nov. 29)—not that hockey enthusiasts aren't aware of the overpriced tickets, the overpaid players and the boring games. It's just nice to see that the NHL Board of Governors is finally going to try to deal with the situation and, I hope, make the necessary changes. Now if only the other major sports bodies would do the same.
It is ironic that National Hockey League executives now admit a need for rivalries. But more than rivalries, the NHL needs equality within its divisions. Why not drop the albatross of geographical grouping (it barely exists under the current structure anyway) and adopt a four-tiered system similar to that used in European soccer leagues? Put the four or five best teams in Division I, the next-best clubs in Division II and so forth. Design the schedule so that teams play their divisional rivals more often than the other teams. At the end of the year, the bottom team in each division would be replaced by the top team in the division below it.
As for the playoffs, there is no viable reason why more than eight teams—the division champions plus the next four leaders on points—should play for the Stanley Cup.
JOHN JAY WILHEIM
Your article states that a man was "shot to death in the Olympia parking lot after a tennis match two weeks ago." The fact is that following a tennis match at Olympia Stadium a man was shot to death in a parking lot near Olympia, but the lot was in no way owned, operated or controlled by Olympia Stadium.
Inaccuracies relating to this regrettable incident (the first such in the 50-year history of Olympia) have created the impression that the parking lots controlled by Olympia Stadium are unsafe. I would appreciate anything you can do to correct the assumption that the parking lot where the incident occurred was operated by Olympia Stadium.
Assistant General Manager
Thank you for your fine article on baseball's million-dollar sweepstakes (Cashing in Their Tickets, Nov. 22). You summed it all up when you said that the fans will be the first to pay. I for one will no longer pay exorbitant prices to see a few superstars become super rich.
Beaver Dam, Wis.
My hat is off to Bob Howsam, Sparky Anderson and the rest of the Cincinnati Reds organization who refused to be drawn into the bidding for free agents. It is impossible to say the same about the New York Yankees.
Mount Vernon, Ohio
You list the New York Mets as a team that does not care if it signs any of the free agents. Maybe M. Donald Grant should start to care, before Met fans cease to care.
Baseball has gone from one extreme to the other in regard to players' freedom. If it is going to remain the nation's favorite pastime, it will have to find a middle ground that will suit the players, the owners and. most of all, the fans.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
ANOTHER VIEW OF SOUTH AFRICA
While Peter Hawthorne did an admirable job describing the "progress" in sport in South Africa (A Few Cracks in the Racial Barrier, Nov. 22), what is desired is non-racial sport, not multiracial sport. Multiracial sport pits one race against another. Non-racial sport is anybody playing for any team.
But the greatest omission in the article is any mention of the much-hated Homeland and Bantustan scheme currently being carried out by the white South African government. This means that each of the nine major African tribes, some 18 million people, is slowly being disenfranchised through phony independence, of which the Transkei is the first example. This is like the U.S. Government telling members of each Indian tribe that they no longer are Americans, whether they like it or not. The end result of this South African policy, if it is allowed to continue, is that eventually there will be no black South Africans. How can South Africa field a mixed team if there are no black South Africans?
THE ADVANTAGES OF LLAMAS
In the article about Richard and Kay Patterson's llama ranch (What a Llovely Beast Is a Llama, Nov. 22), you extolled the riches and virtues of Oregon and noted that llamas are ideally suited to the environment of Oregon. You failed, however, to point out another tremendous advantage that llamas have. Their long necks enable them to keep their heads above the water that normally stands over the whole State of Oregon nine months out of the year.
C. ANDREW NASBURG
Coos Bay, Ore.
In a time when overpaid, loudmouth, un-loyal athletes, coaches and owners have become ubiquitous, I think your Sportsman of the Year award should go to someone who is a credit to the world of sport and to all associated with it. I would consider it a great injustice if one of the following people did not win: the late Tom Yawkey, Dorothy Hamill, John Naber, Bruce Jenner, Walter Alston, Dave Cowens, George Foster.
Bob Lurie. He kept the Giants in San Francisco with hard work and determination.
Arnold (Red) Auerbach.
Jimmy Connors. He has proved how good a sportsman he can be and is.
White Rock, British Columbia
Fall Creek, Wis.
Toluca Lake, Calif.
The masters of the unexpected: the Missouri Tigers.
I am not an avid stock car racing fan but Richard Petty has risen to the top of this sport and stayed there. I believe it is time Petty received his due.
J. EALY RITTER
San Mateo, Calif.
John Papanek's story on football at Brooklyn College (Of Subways and Salami, Nov. 22) couldn't have been better. My undergraduate years at American University in Washington, D.C. were filled with many similar experiences, including a trip to the equally obscure Empire Bowl. Bus breakdowns, stolen equipment, lopsided scores and sparse crowds were commonplace. However, after the opening kickoff the potholes in a 40-year-old field faded in importance, and for three hours on a Saturday afternoon we were Joe Namath and John Doe wrapped up in one.
I was never scouted by the pros, but for me football was fun. Three years of law school haven't dimmed my enthusiasm for those unsophisticated days. Thanks for the memories.
BRUCE P. HUDOCK
It was refreshing to read of a group of guys who play football for the sport of it and who can win despite a shortage of cash. Here in another Manhattan, the home of Kansas State, we spend large sums of money only to lose. There must be a moral there somewhere.
R. F. DRAKE
To work and attend school at the same time can be a hassle, but to also play football and do as well as the Brooklynites are doing under such adverse conditions is monumental.
As Tom (Z) Zahralban said, having played college football and 50¢ may get you on the subway. In my opinion, the experience of playing football at Brooklyn College is worth much, much more. The coaches and team have my deepest respect.
F. J. KOMARA
That was one of the funniest stories I've read in a long time. In an age when college football is taken all too seriously, John Papanek did an excellent job of depicting some of the less grim aspects.
Foist time I ever read a story twicet.
TAKE A RETRIEVER
An item in SCORECARD (NOV. 15) reminded me that on several occasions, while hunting pheasant in South Dakota and ducks in Ohio, I have taken a limit with my Labrador and never fired a shot. The moral is that every hunting party, particularly of duck hunters, should be required to have at least one capable retriever. Year after year, as many ducks are left mortally hurt in the marshes as are taken home because a retrieving dog was not used. Is it not about time that the conservationists and legislators woke up to this fact?
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.