What is lost in the furor over Proposition 42 (A New Proposition, Jan. 23) is the fact that those who would be most affected by it (and by Proposition 48) would not even be considered for admission by many universities if they were not athletes. The new rule would not deprive qualified people of a college education. It would merely help prevent the unqualified from getting into college just because they are athletes.
JOSEPH C. SMITH
Forest Hills, N. Y.
Temple basketball coach John Chaney's comments on Proposition 42 reveal a racist attitude of his own when he conjures up an NCAA conspiracy to reduce the number of black college athletes. His perception that this rule will punish athletes is ludicrous. Athletes have always been privileged students. Chaney does a disservice to them by ignoring the positive purpose of the rule—to get high school athletes to work as hard in academics as they do in athletics. If they did, they would be be better prepared for life than if they merely pursued the shortsighted goal of the pro career, the dream of many but the reality of few.
PETER J. ROHANA JR.
Chaney should stop blowing smoke and realize that athletes below Prop 42 and Prop 48 requirements take funding away from more deserving potential students.
RICHARD O. MEYER
Hoffman Estates, Ill.
It was with great dismay that I read the comments attributed to me in your Jan. 23 issue. According to your story about Proposition 42, I suggest that universities that have shied away from partial qualifiers may break off from the NCAA and play among themselves.
February 20, 1989
Nothing could be farther from the truth. What I said was that it might be time for schools with similar academic interests to get together and form a new division within the NCAA. I would never suggest that schools break away from the NCAA. I feel that it's very important to work within the framework of the NCAA to solve the athletic problems that face our academic institutions.
PETER T. DALIS
Director of Athletics
TUNEUP TIME FOR THE NFL
I could not agree more with Rick Reilly (POINT AFTER, Jan. 16) about the NFL's powder-puff rules (in-the-grasp, ground-causes-fumble, breaking-the-plane). However, he failed to mention other reasons for revoking these rules. If the ground could cause a fumble and simply breaking the plane was not sufficient reason for a TD, then the need for a judgment call—and instant replay—in these situations could be eliminated. Also, the breaking-the-plane rule often spoils what might have otherwise been a touchdown-saving tackle or a fine goal-line stand. It's ironic that to score a "try" in rugby a player must run into the end zone and touch the ball to the ground, while in football all the player must do to earn a touchdown is push the nose of the ball past a difficult-to-determine plane.
COLIN D. ELLIOTT
Rick Reilly spoke about some of the things that annoyed him about the NFL, and I would like to add to the list the new equipment that keeps popping up—gloves for receivers, designer eye gear and the like. Years ago when you thought of football players, you thought of running backs in the classic pose: ball tucked under right arm, left leg high in the air, left arm poised for a straight-arm. And with the player's face visible, of course. Nowadays, NFL players in uniform look like so many robots.
WILLIAM S. HARVIE
La Jolla, Calif.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.