THE LAW, TEXAS-STYLE
Three cheers for the Lone Star State! What with Jim Wacker (What Kind Of Fool Am I? Nov. 4) and House Bill 72 (SCORECARD, in the same issue), Texans have two reasons to be proud. Though the new law has its opponents, I hope most Texans will appreciate its long-range benefits. If, as you report, about half the students in Texas high schools flunked at least one course during the first six weeks. House Bill 72 arrived just in time.
I am fortunate enough to be a senior in a school (New Braunfels High) that lost no varsity football players and only 10 of some 200 band members. Our secret? An administration that warned us of the aftereffects of failing a class, a teaching staff that set up tutoring programs before and after school, concerned coaches (and band directors) who checked up on us to see if we were in the danger zone and, finally, students who turned off Leave It To Beaver reruns and made the grade.
I believe that students who really care will make this effort and will thereby improve their teams and themselves. Also, it is no secret that kids who care make a program successful. We should know: our football team is 10-0 (ranked sixth in the AP poll for Texas 4A schools), and our band made it to the state marching band contest on Nov. 11.
New Braunfels, Texas
I have one objection to the Texas plan. I feel that by imposing sanctions against a student who is failing only one subject, too much power is given to each teacher. Such control raises the serious possibility of abuses. Besides, if a student is failing, say, only one out of five courses, he has an 80% rate of passing, which isn't bad. I feel that a fairer policy would be one that restricts students only when they are failing two or more subjects.
As in any comprehensive law, this one needs fine-tuning. But, on balance, good job, Texas!
RUSSELL B. MOORE
Being a resident of Groves, Texas, I know how big an effect House Bill 72 has had on Texas football. Thomas Jefferson, the high school I am attending, has lost eight jayvee and eight freshmen football players. I am not one of them. What's more, because of House Bill 72 we are not allowed to have fun while in school. This means no pep rallies during school hours, which has made school spirit a thing of the past. If it were up to me, I would have the law abolished.
ROBERT DES MARAIS
The article Blowing A Fuse Over The News (Nov. 11) by Alexander Wolff and Robert Sullivan makes it clear to me that many of the fans of college sports are nothing short of sick. How can anyone say, "So be it" or "So what?" in response to the Lexington Herald-Leader's article about alleged widespread booster payments to University of Kentucky athletes? Can anyone seriously threaten to "take a baseball bat to the delivery boy"? I have had it with people making excuses for what's wrong with college sports, or getting angry at those who report on those ills. I'll take professional sports, where the athletes are greedy (they learned well in college) but at least are open about it.
HARRY A. TURNER
How dare you refer to Kentucky Wildcat basketball as a "once-proud program"! If you think for a moment that this alleged "scandal" could possibly take away one iota of the love and pride any true Kentucky fan holds for the Wildcats, you are sorely mistaken.
Kentucky basketball is steeped in tradition, from the Rupp years through the tenure of Joe B. Hall to the present program directed by Eddie Sutton. I guess it's true that when you're the best, everybody's out to get you. At any rate, that is certainly the case here.
It's also interesting that SI neglected to mention that Part Two of the two-part article in the Lexington paper went on to say, "Cheating on the NCAA rules has become so common in college basketball that you can find it almost anywhere you look.... About one out of every five players [of a few dozen top recruits of the last two years interviewed at other schools] said openly that they had received improper offers." So why the big deal over Kentucky's alleged "violations"?
LUANNE S. NAST
HE HAS IT DOWN COLD
What great prognosticators you people are! Accompanying your story about William (The Refrigerator) Perry (Monster Of The Midway, Nov. 4) was a caption that asked, "When Perry tires of tackling and bulling for TDs, will he become a receiver or even a quarterback?" The Sunday after that issue hit the stands, Perry caught a TD pass against Green Bay. Next time we'll look for him on the halfback pass.
"A wasted draft choice and a waste of money"? 'Fraid not, Buddy Ryan. I'd say Perry is more like the piece in a Super Bowl-season puzzle the Bears have been looking for.
MIKE RAKOUSKAS JR.
I'll believe The Refrigerator is for real after he trots over to the sidelines to join the Honey Bears for a few of their plays.
Congratulations to E.M. Swift for capturing the "spirit" of Bret Saberhagen (Attaboy, Bret, Nov. 11). As coach of the 1982 Los Angeles City 3A champion Cleveland High basketball team on which Bret was a starting guard, I can attest to his tremendous poise and genuine concern for teammates, family and friends. It is no accident that Bret has achieved success so early in his career; he is a winner in every sense of the word.
Incidentally, I noticed from the many beautiful photographs that my former cage pupil is still sporting his "basketball mustache"—five (hairs) on a side.
Assistant Basketball Coach
College of the Canyons
Any father who is a baseball fan and who has also witnessed the birth of his own child would find the article about Saberhagen and his family most heartwarming. Drew Saberhagen is lucky to have such parents.
TOM GILLASPIE, D.V.M.
Fort Myers, Fla.
TOO BIG A ROUT?
As a longtime high school coach, I was appalled by your Nov. 4 FACES IN THE CROWD selections. Two of the six honorees were athletes who had been allowed and/or encouraged to score a ridiculous number of points or goals in what were obviously complete mismatches.
There is no excuse for any coach to allow his team to defeat an opponent 20-0 in a soccer match, let alone leave a player in to score 10 goals. To add insult to injury, you featured a football player who scored 10 touchdowns in his team's 92-6 win. Everyone likes to win, but running up the score and humiliating an opponent is unsportsmanlike and unprofessional. SI should know better than to make heroes of those who engage in such a practice.
JOSEPH L. COOLIDGE
In your NBA preview (The Year Of Ewing, Oct. 28), Micheal Ray Richardson of the New Jersey Nets is pictured on page 50 wearing my favorite style of basketball shoe, Converse's canvas Chuck Taylors. I wear them because they are inexpensive. What's Richardson's reason?
DAVID J. BLAHNIK
Patrick Ewing isn't the only player to conjure up memories of Bill Russell. You have to love Micheal Ray Richardson's canvas high-Cons!
THOMAS F. DOYLE
•Richardson's shoes are indeed Chuck Taylors, but they are not the canvas ones. About a year ago, Converse put out a glove-leather "fashion" model of that 68-year-old shoe, and Richardson, who has an agreement with the company, is the first—and only—player in the NBA to wear it. "They're comfortable," says Richardson, who conforms to NBA regulations by wearing the white version in regular-season games. "I wore Chuck Taylors when I was a kid, and just because I'm a pro doesn't mean I can't wear them now." Incidentally, the leather Chucks retail for about $40; the canvas ones for about $25.—ED.
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