"Fewer athletic scholarships will allow a few tuition-paying students to get into games. What an amazing concept."
ALLAN R. SILVERSTEIN, MILFORD, CONN.
The 14th Scholarship
I couldn't agree more with Alexander Wolff's POINT AFTER (Jan. 24) on the black coaches' threat of a boycott. The coaches don't realize how lucky they are to have 13 scholarships. I am a cross-country and track athlete planning to compete on the Division I level, but it is hard to find a school with enough money to bring me in, because track and cross-country get a total of only 12.6 scholarships. Somehow this doesn't make sense. Track has 21 events, plus cross-country; basketball typically uses only eight players a game. If the basketball coaches really cared about black youths, they would give their scholarships to track or other needy sports.
JIM VANCE, Indianapolis
The Black Coaches Association (BCA) should apply its passions to helping as many young men as possible achieve a better education. The whole point of giving a scholarship shouldn't be to rack up wins or Final Four appearances but rather to ensure that these young men graduate from college. It's appalling that not all of them graduate. Don't these coaches care about their players' futures?
ALLAN F. GUTIERREZ JR., Los Angeles
I am a black graduate of UCLA and a second-year law student at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law. After listening to the BCA's threats of a walkout, I was disturbed by the apparent contradiction between its means and its ends. This contradiction became even more apparent after reading Wolff's article.
The BCA wants access to the decisionmaking process. But it would apparently argue that this can be accomplished only through additional scholarships and the reduction of academic standards for the benefit and ultimate empowerment of our underrepresented race. I know the BCA is concerned about its exclusion from the process. However, there is no reason, racism and exclusion included, for advocating the proposition that athletics and lower academic standards for minorities will lead to empowerment. Only knowledge will bring that. In a world that has traditionally excluded our race because of its supposed inability to make the grade, we must be better than average to succeed. Any argument that lowers the standards and expectations that we must set for ourselves is not only hurtful but dangerous as well.
MARTIN R. BOAGS, San Francisco
I would be willing to see more scholarships given—say, 15 or 16—if they were connected to graduation. I suggest that if a student gets a free ride, then that scholarship should be used by him until he graduates and cannot be turned over to another athlete until he does so.
JOHN D. OWENS, Eugene, Ore.
I was disappointed by Wolff's attempt to undermine the issues behind the proposed boycott by the BCA. I contend that the BCA's actions are justifiable. With each new year the college presidents talk more and more about cutting scholarships, cutting coaches and raising academic standards. Many of us in the black community perceive these actions as an attempt by the presidents to limit the number of blacks involved in college athletics.
While this can be dismissed as speculation, the perceived threat is very real to blacks. I applaud the decision of the BCA to make a stand.
MEL SANDERS, Ames, Iowa
Your jocular tone in SCORECARD about Lenny Dykstra's oafish antics in a restaurant (Jan. 17) calls for a response. Wearing a hat in any restaurant is a statement of social ignorance or, more likely, appalling ego, and the loud swearing in the establishment in suburban Philadelphia reinforces my impression of this lout. Your flip conclusion, in which his $24.9 million contract is mentioned, was inappropriate. There is still such a thing as class, just as there is a lack of it.
JOHN KELLEY, Winthrop, Mass.
Isn't SI the publication that ran Karl Malone's June 14 POINT AFTER saying Charles Barkley should recognize that he is a role model whether he wants to be or not? So why doesn't this pious injunction apply to Lenny Dykstra, six million bucks a year or not? One reason that people go to nice restaurants is to get away from jackasses like Dykstra.
ROBERT H. PASCHALL, Bishop, Calif.
Please tell me it was a horrific mistake. Tell me that the layout was complete and that it was somehow misplaced. Or even tell me that managing editor Mark Mulvoy's dog ate it. But please don't tell me that the only mention you planned to give the retirement of the greatest player ever to set foot on a football field was a photo caption in a one-page article (NFL Playoffs, Jan. 24). Lawrence Taylor made football what it is today. His unparalleled excellence forced offenses to utilize the double team, which in turn reformed the game.
THOMAS GRACE JR., Worcester, Mass.
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.