Letters

April 05, 1987

PONYGATE
Can it finally be said that NCAA stands for No Cheating At All? The recent ruling to nullify SMU's 1987 football season (Shame on You, SMU, March 9) was a step in the right direction. But then, the day after the decree, recruiters from other schools descended on the SMU campus like scavengers to grab Mustang players amid indications that some of the recruiters were breaking rules. Where were you then, NCAA?
THE REVEREND QUENTIN PAYNE
Houston

•NCAA enforcement director David Berst says his organization is looking into possible recruiting violations involving transferring SMU players.—ED.

The NCAA enforcement division is a joke. Despite the numerous recruiting (and other) violations at SMU, the NCAA still levied only a partial "death penalty" on the football team. How does the NCAA expect to deter this type of activity if it is reluctant to punish to the fullest extent possible schools that commit such violations?
SCOTT P. EDWARDS
Natick, Mass.

How about the actions of former SMU linebacker David Stanley? A guy who can pull the plug on a program after he leaves it has no guts, in my opinion. Stanley had time while at SMU to reveal violations. Instead, he waited, letting the punishment fall on former teammates and SMU newcomers. I agree the NCAA must have control over athletics; however, if schools are going to be punished for allowing payments to players, then players should be punished for accepting them. My sympathies go to the innocent players and students who will suffer from this punishment.
JERRY MORGAN
Normal, Ill.

HUNTING POACHERS
The Rhino Wars (March 2) by Maryanne Vollers is a compelling account. It exemplifies SI's commitment to fine journalism that informs and motivates readers. Vollers' writing is fluid, and her story evokes the sense of urgency that moves the Zimbabwean game wardens to go so far as to shoot poachers on sight in order to save the black rhino.

The article prompted me to answer an appeal I recently received from a wildlife fund.
W. EUGENE JESSUP
New Orleans

I spent six months in Zambia last year and about two weeks in Zimbabwe. I saw that the rhino-poaching problem is very serious, very important and very difficult to deal with. However, people should ask themselves two questions before supporting the Operation Stronghold approach: Would you allow shoot-on-sight enforcement patrols in your country, and if not, are the lives of poverty-stricken black Africans less important than those of your neighbors?
DAN HOLLAND
Salt Lake City

Rhino wars? Bring on baseball!
MARK THIBEAULT
Warren, Mass.

UNSUNG
Jack McCallum should be complimented for recognizing the unrecognized (The NBA's Unsung Heroes, March 9). Finally a writer has applauded a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite his midseason injury, Paul Pressey continues to be one of the steadiest players in the NBA. He can shoot, score, pass, drive and definitely play defense, a trademark of the Don Nelson era at Milwaukee.

But I question McCallum's choice of Detroit's Vinnie Johnson as the leading candidate for the sixth-man award. If Milwaukee's Ricky Pierce (19.6 ppg, 53% from the field, 87% from the line), doesn't win over Johnson (15.6, 47%, 79%), the award shouldn't be given to anyone. Clearly, Pierce's stats are superior to Johnson's, and Pierce hasn't received any ink all year.
MICHAEL J. RYAN
Whitewater, Wis.

STOPPED SHORT
You quoted NBA scouting director Marty Blake as saying about North Carolina's Kenny Smith, "Nobody can stay with him" (COLLEGE BASKETBALL, March 2). On Jan. 22, Smith was held to a mere three points. Who was guarding him in that game? Wake Forest's 5'3" Tyrone (Muggsy) Bogues.
BRYAN DURHAM
Boone, N.C.

So Marty Blake would like to see Steve Alford guard Michael Jordan. There are 44 current NBA guards who are unable to stop Jordan, so why use that as an excuse to demean Alford's defensive abilities?
TIM STRASSER
Fulton, Ind.

ROANOKE'S RECORD
In a recent issue, Roanoke College was portrayed as a basketball victim of Peter Soens's 11-for-11 performance for Lynchburg College (COLLEGE BASKETBALL, March 2).

We want you to know that Roanoke wins some games, too. On March 1 Roanoke won its seventh consecutive Old Dominion Athletic Conference basketball title in seven years in the league. We pushed our tournament record to 21-0 with a 65-51 victory over Lynchburg and Soens.

So how about a little recognition where recognition is due?
EDWARD P. ZOVINCKA AND OTHER
RESIDENTS OF THE WALDEN HOUSE
Salem, Va.

KO THE KO
My husband, Sherman Griffin (not Griffith, as you had it), was never put to the canvas with anyone's first punch, which is what David Remnick said in his story on boxing manager Josephine Abercrombie (Fighting Lady, Feb. 2). If you were to review the tape you would see that it was Sherman who floored Louis Coleman on the very first punch, not the other way around.

This is very embarrassing to my husband, who works hard doing what he does. A correction would be very much appreciated.
BRIENDA L. GRIFFIN
Houston

•Our apologies to Griffin, who on March 19 won the Texas cruiserweight championship with an 11th-round TKO over the defending state champion, Jesse Shelby.—ED.

PIUS SCHWERT
In your story The Jock Caucus (Feb. 23), you credited Jim Bunning and Vinegar Bend Mizell with being the only major leaguers to serve in Congress. 'Tain't so. The first ex-major leaguer to serve was Yankee catcher Pius L. Schwert, who hit .217 in 11 games in 1914 and '15.
PHILIP R. HOCHBERG
Washington, D.C.

•Schwert, a Democrat from New York (pictured below on Opening Day in 1939 with Yankees Buddy Rosar and Joe Gallagher) served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1938 until his death in 1941. But according to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), the first former major leaguer to go to Congress was John K. Tener, an outfielder (Baltimore, American Association, 1885) and pitcher (Chicago, NL, 1888-89, and Pittsburgh, Players League, 1890) who was a member of the House from Pennsylvania from 1909 to 1911. Tener was also president of the National League from 1913 to 1918. In 1932 New Hampshire Democrat Fred H. Brown, an occasional outfielder and pinch hitter for the Boston Braves in 1901 and '02, was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served one term.—ED.

BOURQUE & FAMILY
Boston defenseman Ray Bourque may have kept Hartford's Paul Lawless tied up in one game this season, as your picture shows (Bulwark of the Bruins, March 9), but the Bruins couldn't keep the Whalers under wraps in their eight-game series. They fell six games to two, including a 10-2 loss in Hartford on March 5.
KIP FERGUSON
Tolland, Conn.

I enjoyed your article on Ray Bourque. But given the family orientation of the story, I was disappointed in the lack of pictures of the female Bourques. How about a shot of Christiane and Melissa?
J. CHRISTOPHER BILL
Fredericksburg, Va.

•Here's the whole family: Ray, Melissa, Christopher and Christiane.—ED.

PHOTOAP PHOTOTONY TRIOLO

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.

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