DEALING WITH CHEATERS
Thank you for your no-holds-barred report on the recent scandals in the Southwest Conference (Deception In The Heart Of Texas, Sept. 30). Your 10-point Plan For Cleaning Up College Sports would, if implemented, go a long way toward preventing the abuses we have been witnessing. I believe there is one other action that SI itself could take: Refuse to list any team that is on probation in the SI Top 20. Somehow the sting of your reporting on SMU's wrongdoing is lessened when in FOOTBALL'S WEEK of the same issue you list that school as the second best in the nation.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Your 10-point plan makes sense. Other steps could include abolishing booster clubs, since they seem to be at the root of many problems. And instead of giving them slap-on-the-wrist penalties, colleges found guilty of violations should have their programs suspended for one or two years. Faced with the loss of all the money these programs generate, universities would surely crack down.
Or eliminate the sham of the student-athlete. Let major college sports programs operate as what they are—minor leagues for professional sports. Pay the players a modest amount for the revenue they bring to the school.
SI's plan offers some legitimate suggestions for positive consideration by the NCAA Presidents' Commission. Only point 10 falls short. SI's proposal for federal legislation to curb booster malpractices is not consistent with our desires to keep government out of sports. The answer to the booster problem lies in NCAA legislation to ban booster clubs from the college athletic scene.
October 20, 1985
My thanks to your excellent writer Rick Reilly for capturing a truly magical moment in Knoxville, Tenn. (The Vols Had A Ball, Oct. 7). The only other occasion that this Vol alumnus can remember when you deemed our football program worthy of a cover story was back in 1967 (One Way To Dam The Tide, Oct. 30,1967). Interestingly enough, the coach of our 1967 team, Doug Dickey, recently returned to Tennessee to become our athletic director. Happy times are here again!
JERRY B. LEMLER, M.D.
On your Oct. 7 cover, you said TONY ROBINSON BURIES AUBURN. Are you sure he didn't just fly over the Tigers? If you'll notice on the cover, and again on page 20 of the article, the Tennessee quarterback is wearing Nike's Air Jordan basketball shoes. Can you clarify why a football player would be wearing footwear designed for a basketball player? Would it be because of the artificial surface?
•Yes, it would. Robinson says, "I always wear a high-top on artificial turf. It gives good traction, and the Air Jordan is lighter than a turf shoe. In a turf shoe, sometimes the traction is so good you stick. The high-tops give a little and that prevents an injury."—ED.
I was very disappointed in the way you ridiculed Auburn. The team's performance (or lack of it) on national television was punishment enough, without Rick Reilly's remarks. After all, most of the hype about Auburn's being No. 1 and having the leading Heisman candidate had been created by the media, not by Bo Jackson or others associated with Auburn football. Whoaaaa, SI!
W.R. MARTIN JR.
In response to E.M. Swift's article Everybody's Picking On Poor Joe (Oct. 7), I was happy to see that someone else finally saw the other side to Joe Theismann. He does have problems, and he is slowly becoming less and less effective, no matter how great he was once. Even during his best times, I think Theismann's performances were overshadowed by his arrogance. In my opinion, the Skins should start looking for quarterbacks in the next draft.
So everybody's picking on poor Joe. So what? The real story is that the Chicago Bears are picking on everybody. Joe Theismann just happened to have the misfortune of being in Soldier Field at the same time the Bears were crossing another hurdle on their way to Super Bowl XX.
I am sending you the ashes of the four pages dealing with the so-called demise of the Redskins so that E.M. Swift can more easily eat his words when the Skins make the playoffs at the end of this season. (Thump!) I'm sure Swift won't mind swallowing ashes, because his writing was pure garbage. (Thump! Thump!)
WOES OF ANOTHER JOE
William Taaffe's Oct. 7 TV/RADIO column expressed what many of us Monday Night Football addicts have felt all season. It has gotten to the point where we turn down the volume and just watch the game. The best thing about Monday Night Football has become the "You Make The Call" segment. Joe Namath and O.J. Simpson show an amazing grasp of the utterly obvious. Wise up, ABC. Can O.J. and Joe and bring back Dandy Don Meredith and Howard Cosell. At least they made sense!
The article was good, but the omission of Howard Cosell's name was glaring. Don Meredith is missed, but, like him or not, Howard made the show!
MCGINNIS E. HATFIELD JR.
Maybe one of Joe Willie's "problems" is that he comments on the game in much the same way he played it: extemporaneously. His talent often obviated the need for intricately concocted pass patterns and highly detailed strategies. Is it possible that other broadcast analysts inject complexities into the game that don't always exist? On a gridiron strewn with blood, sweat and confusion, perhaps Joe really preferred the receiver who "found a dead spot in the zone and pulled up for the reception."
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Regarding the diatribe against Joe Namath and Monday Night Football: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth! Count your blessings instead. It wasn't too far back that we had Humble Howard on the show. We have come a long way!
WOODROW W. HARTSOCK
NOT FOR NAUGHT
After coming home from losing three sets of tennis today, I sat down to rub my aching limbs and picked up my son Tom's copy of your Oct. 7 issue. Don't let Todd Taylor get away! Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read his hilarious FIRST PERSON account of his hapless Harnett Central High football experiences. It is even more amazing that this humorous and well-written piece could have come from someone still suiting up at the high school level. I can't wait for Tom to get home from football practice to read it. His high school team is 1-5 so far this season, and the future looks bleak. Please let us know how the Trojans are doing now.
•They are 1-5, having ended their losing streak last Friday by beating Southern Durham (N.C.) 24-14.—ED.
After looking at the photo of Jack Lambert on your July 30, 1984 cover, my husband was inspired to snap this picture of our 7-year-old son, Kevin, a true Lambert fan. I thought you might enjoy seeing it.
ANN MARIE BRAMWELL
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.