COLLEGE OR THE PROS?
As your article Does Herschel Have Georgia on His Mind? (March 1) indicates, Herschel Walker is one athlete in a million, perhaps one in a billion. He has superior athletic ability, fine academic credentials and an extraordinary temperament. This is all the more reason why Walker should stay at Georgia until he gets his degree. If Walker were to challenge the NFL eligibility rule and win, it would not only set a legal precedent, but also an attitudinal precedent, opening the floodgates for every unscrupulous agent and every ego-inflated athlete who thinks he can make it in the pros. Granted, it would be a shame to deny Walker the opportunity to play in the pros now. But it just may be a sacrifice he has to make so that others won't have to experience strife and anguish.
ROBERT W. DEFLIESE
It may be that Herschel Walker, a bright young man, would benefit from two more years in college. But it is increasingly clear that many of the nation's college athletes who might jump to the NFL are not really receiving a college education anyway. Under the circumstances, it is hypocritical to speak of a player giving up his college education for the remote chance of playing in the NFL. Many players have a better chance of making it in the NFL than of earning a college degree, and they should have the opportunity to try to do so if they choose.
Anytime a college football player can get a million-dollar contract in the NFL or in Canadian football, he should take it. With wise management, he can guarantee himself financial security for life. Walker could still pursue a college degree during the off-season. What would Walker's earning potential be if he was severely injured next season?
BILL KLING JR.
Herschel Walker is good, no doubt about it, but if he leaves Georgia he'll be leaving a lot. Good luck, Herschel; the decision is yours. But don't forget that if you decide to go to the pros, they may strike. You wouldn't be running then, you'd be a walker for sure.
FREDERICK W. KREPS II
March 15, 1982
John Underwood's insightful article provided an interesting peek into the enigma that is Herschel Walker. It would certainly stir up a hornet's nest if this extremely gifted athlete decided to challenge the NFL. But I'm betting that Herschel will do just as Underwood hinted: His will be a challenge in name only, and Herschel will "then blithely pick up his Georgia helmet and go back to practice, his college eligibility intact."
Whichever path this personable, intelligent young man chooses, someday he should be one helluva prospect for the FBI.
HAROLD O. CHRISTENSEN
Thank you so much for a super article (Raise One to the Islanders, March 1). The Islanders not only set an NHL record for consecutive victories, but also demonstrated a unique oneness as a team. Being a devoted fan, one who was lucky enough to be at that record-breaking game, I know for a fact that Islander fans also share a special bond. The kind of thunderous applause our Islanders heard was certainly the kind they deserved. I'm proud to be an Islander fan!
Dix Hills, N.Y.
Don't you think the New York Islanders should have been on your March 1 cover? All they have done is win the Stanley Cup two years in a row and break a 52-year-old winning-streak record. Who wants to see a half-naked football player, anyway? The swimsuit issue was a while ago.
TROUBLES OF GEORGE
Thank you for the fine article on George McGinnis (Oh, What Might Have Been, March 1). I, too, grew up in Indianapolis, and as a 5'8", 175-pound junior end, I had the awesome task of lining up on the football field across from "Big George" when our Northwest Pioneers played westside rival and No. 1-ranked Washington during McGinnis' All-America senior year.
Being a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter than George, I understandably had a few self-doubts until I actually engaged George at the line of scrimmage. To my pleasant surprise, George offered all the resistance of a blocking sled, when he wasn't sidestepping me completely, and only seemed interested in the game when his number was called on pass plays.
I followed George to Indiana University, where I marveled at his talent on the basketball court. I also noticed that when he didn't have the ball, George seemed to lose interest in the game.
I was pleased when George turned pro, because I was certain the stiff competition in the ABA would finally require him to work—enabling him to mature as an athlete and finally play up to his God-given potential. As Bruce Newman's article so painfully pointed out, this was not to be.
Even McGinnis admits. "If I'd had the inner strength, there's no telling what I would have done." Perhaps if George would tap the real source of his talent, he would find inspiration on the court—and off.
KMVI Radio Sports
It was nice to see an article on George McGinnis. However, you didn't finish it. You neglected to mention that even though most nights George can't hit the broad side of a barn, we Indiana Pacer fans love him as much as any guy on the team, and the applause for him reflects our feelings when he goes into a game or comes out of it. George McGinnis gives it all George McGinnis has every minute he is on the floor. He is still a superstar to Pacer fans; he just doesn't start anymore.
In the picture of George McGinnis playing Intellivision with his son, I noticed that the game cartridge is missing. I'll bet the only way George "can control the game" with his son is to play without a cartridge. In fact, the only way any dad can control a game of Intellivision with his son is to play without a cartridge.
"Oh, what might have been" if George and Tony had played Intellivision with the cartridge in!
LUCIANO VS. WEAVER
After reading Part II of the article Bang! Bang! You're Out (Feb. 22 and March 1) by former American League umpire Ron Luciano and David Fisher explaining why Orioles Manager Earl Weaver is the worst enemy umpires ever had, it was difficult for me to decide which one was the good guy. As an Orioles fan who has watched many a game at Memorial Stadium, I always thought it was worth the price of admission just to see Luciano and Weaver perform their antics on the diamond. What a pair of buffoons!
Ron Luciano says that Earl Weaver will go directly from the Orioles' dugout to the Hall of Fame. Of course, he is right. If Luciano had been as good an umpire as Weaver is a manager. Luciano might get to Cooperstown, too. If Luciano had spent as much time trying to umpire as he did being a hot dog, perhaps he wouldn't have been involved in so many arguments. People attend baseball games to see the teams—managers included—not some overgrown clown with a quick thumb. Baseball would be much poorer if Weaver had never managed, but would probably have been better off if Luciano had joined a circus.
Garrett Hill, Pa.
One of the great disappointments in this fan's baseball memory was when Luciano hung up his non-spikes. He personified, in the unlikely form of an umpire, the true nature of the sport. That there should be fun in the midst of all the self-righteous seriousness is something we too easily forget. In an age of strikes, ridiculous salary demands, seemingly endless arbitration and free-agency disputes, he is sorely missed.
Ron Luciano's article on Earl Weaver was fabulous! Please tell me how many major league games Weaver has been tossed out of.
•Weaver has been thrown out of 81 major league games by 36 different umpires. Luciano and Marty Springstead share the "record," each of them having given Weaver the thumb seven times.—ED.
Nearly seven years ago, I took a giant step outside the city limits of Hamilton, Ohio and have never been back. However, my mind and heart got the opportunity to return to my residence of 10 years, thanks to Peter Davis and his excellent article A Town Divided Against Itself (March 1).
I respect Davis' work both as a journalist and as a former resident of Hamilton. One of the most memorable moments in my life was pulling off the warmup suit of my red-and-gold Garfield uniform and entering the game against Taft High. The emotion of the contest made my minute and a half of playing time seem like an hour.
Davis' insight is far deeper than that of many of the people still living in Hamilton. I always find it amusing that people talk about keeping politics out of sports only when it's time for the Olympics. Davis welcomes us all to the real world.
In examining the Biblical and Lincolnian logic of the story's headline, it would follow that "a town divided against itself" could not stand. But having grown up with and among the people of the Lindenwald, North End and Second Ward sections of Hamilton, I know they have a substance that—divided or not—will not let the city fall.
MICHAEL L. BLACKBURN
Bristol Newspapers, Inc.
Having grown up in Hamilton, Ohio, having graduated from the old Hamilton High, and having completed my student teaching at Garfield, I take my hat off to Peter Davis for an incisive, right-on sociological study that perfectly captures the essence of life in Hamilton and in many similar small cities throughout this country. What better microcosm of that type of community can be used to mirror social, economic and political issues and realities than the big high school game?
Though my objectivity has been dimmed by time and distance, I remember the homecoming parades down High Street, and the 13,000-plus fans who trekked to the Cincinnati Gardens twice a year to see us play Hamilton High's archrival, Middletown, in basketball. Witnessing a city unified in the interests of the young in their pursuit of wholesome competition is something I miss dearly. Although Davis has taken the edge off my romanticizing, I still feel that Hamilton was a perfect place in which to grow up.
Dean of Students
Hollywood High School
As executive director of the Boys' Club of Hamilton, Inc., I thought you might like to know that several of the article's leading characters—Tony McCoy, Scott Grevey and Robbie Hodge—were members of a Boys' Club basketball team in 1971-72. In our small way we tried to prepare the boys for the antisocial factors presented in Peter Davis' story. They were coached by a black volunteer, in a Boys' Club building paid for by black and white volunteer contributions, located on "Hamilton's older, shabbier East Side." Norm Grevey, who doesn't need me to defend him, made sure that his sons played their first organized basketball in this setting.
The Boys' Club is one of many institutions that know our hometown has its faults but are working to improve our lot.
The most remarkable aspect of Virginia's performance on the basketball court this year (Not Alone at the Top, Feb. 22) is that the school has achieved a measure of success in the athletic arena while maintaining a high academic standard. The New York Times Selective Guide to Colleges rated Virginia as one of the country's best universities, with a "rigorous" curriculum and "tough" grading. Furthermore, during four of the past five years, Virginia has had more student-athletes on the ACC Honor Roll than any other ACC institution. In Charlottesville it seems the concept of the student-athlete lives.
SCOTT B. MYERS
Hurrah for Steve Cauthen! Your SCORECARD item (March 1) on his achievement of earning his high-school diploma was exemplary. What better role model for our young athletes than this young man who has attained the heights of athletics but made a point of continuing his education? The U.S. should be proud of him as an ambassador of our better qualities.
MARK E. JOYCE
I very much enjoyed reading that the University of New Mexico has made great strides in reconstructing its basketball program and that the basketball team led all Lobo men's teams last semester with a 2.8 grade-point average (SCORECARD, March 1). SI is to be commended for reporting this encouraging news. However, don't you think the institution and people involved in the revitalization deserve as much space as that given to the sensational scandal? I, for one, do.
RICHARD G. GRANT
Pocono Pines, Pa.
Your article Jackie Hits the Jackpot (Feb. 1) on the Texas A&M situation and the large salary being paid Coach Jackie Sherrill correctly pointed out the generosity of Aggie gifts to the athletic department and that the coach's salary would be paid from these contributions. In defense of academics at A&M, however, allow me to point out that contributions made through The Association of Former Students totaled more than $2 million in 1981. None of this money is used for athletics. It is used only to promote academic excellence at the university.
GLENN D. HUDSON
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.