At a time when examples of character and integrity have become increasingly elusive in the realm of professional and intercollegiate sport, I find TCU coach Jim Wacker's courageous stand highly reassuring (Special Report: Deception In The Heart Of Texas, Sept. 30). Standing alone is never easy. Let's hope that Wacker's attitude and actions will inspire other coaches to reassess their priorities.
Jim Wacker was shocked to find out that six of his players, including four senior starters on defense and All-America running back Kenneth Davis, had accepted illegal payments from alumni. He kicked them off the team and called the NCAA. Just 48 hours later, with a starting backfield of underclassmen and nothing but freshmen at defensive tackle, he rallied his Horned Frogs to victory anyway—on the road. Jim Wacker for Sportsman of the Year.
The manner in which SMU and TCU have handled the discovery of NCAA rules infractions in their respective football programs is an interesting study in contrasting styles. Where Bobby Collins was concerned about having enough players to maintain his program, Jim Wacker suspended five starters. Where SMU complained of selective enforcement and (un)due process, TCU invited a complete investigation by the NCAA and the SWC. Where SMU appears to embrace the rationalization "Everyone else cheats, too," TCU vows "Cheating won't be tolerated here."
The NCAA would do well to note TCU's response to wrongdoing. Imposition of severe sanctions against TCU will only serve to discourage other schools from being as above-board and diligent in internal self-policing activities as TCU has been.
SCOTT R. BAKER
Your plan for reform of collegiate athletics is one point short. Any student athlete who is found to have accepted illegal inducement payments should immediately be ruled permanently ineligible. This admittedly drastic step is the only way to excise the cancer in our colleges and universities.
JAMES PARKER NAYLOR JR.
Michael Spinks's victory (Michael Played The Heavy, Sept. 30) reinforced an old saying, namely, that age weighs more than tonnage. Spinks is a great fighter; Larry Holmes was a great fighter. Additionally, it is sad to think that Holmes so outdistanced his competition during his reign that his most memorable fight was his only loss, and that he will soon be known as the fighter who was one shy of Rocky Marciano's record.
Larry Holmes has been a fine champion, and he defended his title valiantly against several very tough contenders. But, to borrow a phrase, if he even dreams that he would have been able to beat Rocky Marciano, he better wake up and apologize!
DONALD J. MCCAFFREY
FLYING IN THE FACE OF DEFORD
Allow me to express my extreme displeasure at Frank Deford's MOVIETALK (Sept. 9) on American Flyers. It is not his critique of the movie itself that I object to, for that is a matter of taste. What I take issue with is his denigration of bicycling as a spectator sport. Statements like "Watching other people ride is borrrring" reflect a narrow-mindedness common to many sportswriters in this country. Perhaps Deford is not aware that bicycle racing is second in the world only to soccer as a spectator sport. I think you owe your cycling readers an apology.
RAND ZIEMKE RASMUSSEN
Frank Deford obviously knows absolutely nothing about the sport of bicycle racing or the Coors Classic race that is held every year and which is the basis of this movie. I have seen American Flyers four times, and each time I see it, it makes me want to get on my bike and ride, ride, ride.
Fond du Lac, Wis.
STREET SCENE (CONT.)
Woody Hayes may have a drive in Columbus, Ohio (SCORECARD, Sept. 30), but did you know that Columbus is encircled by I-270, the Jack Nicklaus Freeway? Also, in Detroit, Tiger Stadium is bounded by Cochrane Avenue and Kaline Drive.
WILLIAM J. GLASS JR.
Let us not forget Coos Bay's tribute to its electrifying hometown running great: [Steve] Prefontaine Way.
DAVID J. LILLIG
Coos Bay, Ore.
You forgot Wrigley Drive in Lake Geneva, Wis., named after the late Chicago Cubs owner, Philip K. Wrigley.
There is now a Mary Lou Retton Drive in her hometown of Fairmont, W. Va.
Buckhannon, W. Va.
UH OH, ANOTHER 00
In INSIDE PITCH (Sept. 16), Henry Hecht wrote, "Cliff Johnson...is wearing 00, a number previously worn by only one major leaguer, former Indian Paul Dade."
In 1980, well-traveled outfielder Bobby Bonds wore 00 for the Cardinals.
MATTHEW M. THOMAS
Chris Mead suggested that Joe Louis "easily KO'd [Tami] Mauriello," on Sept. 18, 1946 (Triumphs And Trials, Sept. 23). Actually, Mauriello caught Louis with a right that drove Joe across the ring and into the ropes. However, Mauriello was slow to follow up and so got tagged and knocked out. After the fight, when radio announcer Don Dunphy asked, "What happened, Tami?" Mauriello replied, "I was too goddamned careless." His use of the ill-chosen—and then taboo—adverb ended the postfight interview right there.
Washed up at 23, Mauriello was back on the docks. He will be remembered for his role as a mobster in the great 1954 film On the Waterfront.
I just wanted you to know that USS Blue-back (SS 581), which was mentioned in your Aug. 26 coverage of the Coors International Bicycle Classic (Greg Was A Diamond In A Flawed Setting), is not a relic but rather the last-constructed and best diesel-powered attack submarine built by our Navy, carrying today's weapons as a deterrent against today's enemies. On the day of the Fisherman's Wharf Criterium in San Francisco, Blueback was moored astern of the ex-USS Pampanito (SS 383), which is a World War II veteran and submarine memorial, and which no doubt was the obstacle of concern to the bikers.
Several of my crew suggested that I write and say something like "I happened to be reading SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, a turn-of-the-century rag reporting on American pastimes, when...." But who's offended? We'll just keep defending your right to print weekly. We do like your style and enjoy your magazine.
CDR. G.B. COVINGTON, USN
FPO San Francisco
•Here's a glimpse of Blueback.—ED.
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