That Championship Game
Regarding Curry Kirkpatrick's story on the defeat of all-white Kentucky by all-black Texas Western for the 1966 NCAA basketball title (The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, April 1): The achievement by those young men and their coach deserved recognition. However, as a Kentucky fan, I was offended by the portrayal of Big Blue basketball as the old bully on the block led by a bigoted monster of a coach. Adolph Rupp's racial policy was no different from that of others at the time. Segregation was a way of life, not something Rupp created.
Kentucky fans on the whole are not much different from the young men who played for Texas Western. Hailing mostly from coal-mining or dirt-farming areas of the state, they, too, have been people without hope, victims of oppression and exploitation. It was not a battle between good and evil or even white and black; it was a quest for hope and dream fulfillment by two groups of people who had long been denied both.
The Knight Report
The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics expected—and now welcomes—critiques of its recommendations for reform. We had hoped, however, that they would be more informed than the SCORECARD report in your April 1 issue. SI criticizes the commission's call for college presidents to provide leadership in the conduct of athletic departments because the call is backed by "few specific suggestions as to what the presidents should do after they become involved." In fact, the report outlines a reform agenda containing 20 detailed recommendations designed to guide presidents in these efforts. For instance, SI could find "no indication that consideration was given" to several remedies "which have been suggested by tougher-minded reformers." The first such remedy (according to SI): "Deny admission to athletes who are unqualified to do college-level work." In fact, the report recommended that admission of athletes "be based on their showing reasonable promise of being successful in a course of study leading to an academic degree." The report further recommended that "athletes in each sport resemble the rest of the student body in admissions, academic progress and graduation rates."
CREED C. BLACK
President, Knight Foundation
From my experience as president of Ohio University (1962-69), I make the following suggestions for college presidents:
Make certain that you have an athletic director of unquestioned integrity.
Have him report to the president.
A final candidate for a coaching job should be interviewed, thoroughly screened and finally approved by the president.
From time to time, the athletic director should invite the president to meet with coaches as a group for candid discussion.
Monitor closely the relationship between the admissions office and the athletic department.
Review annually with the athletic director all athletic income and expenditures.
To carry out all of these recommendations will take precious time from the schedule of a college president. But the athletic program is so vital to the reputation and fiscal responsibilities of an academic institution that the president must give it his personal attention.
VERNON R. ALDEN
I am disappointed in the lack of coverage your magazine gave to the NCAA wrestling championships. I am insulted that in the same issue in which only two pages were devoted to these championships (Real Fire Brands, March 25), you gave the World Wrestling Federation seven pages (Wrestling with Success). College wrestlers do not wrestle to be wealthy or famous, they wrestle for the sake of the sport itself. There are readers who are interested in "real" wrestling.
A First-Class Final
It was nice to see our jazz ensemble mentioned in Shelley Smith's article A Tale of Two Springfields (April 1) about the Division II and III basketball championships. I am the director of that "band on loan from a local high school" from South Hadley, Mass. We have been honored to be involved with the Division II title game since 1983. Our student musicians are as serious about their jazz as they are about their academics and their sports. The photograph above shows our lead trombonist, National Honor Society member and starting center Richard (Chode) Johnson, playing the national anthem before a recent South Hadley High home game.
The Division II championship game in Springfield, Mass., has always been a first-class affair. Congratulations to the University of North Alabama, the University of Bridgeport and all of the people of Springfield for their fine game.
T. THOMAS BOATES III
South Hadley, Mass.
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