My advice to today's players and coaches: Look at Celtics-Lakers
films of the '80s. The game was more exciting to watch.
Eric Givner, Omaha


Regarding Phil Taylor's suggestions for boosting offensive
production in the NBA (Clang, Clang, Clang Goes the Ball, Dec.
16): He is right in saying that moving the three-point line back
would increase shooting percentages, but he fails to note that
it would decrease scoring. In point value, the league's 35.7%
shooting from behind the arc (at the time of your article)
equates to nearly 54% from two-point range, which is higher than
the league's current percentage from that distance.

Also, coaches like the Cleveland Cavaliers' Mike Fratello don't
milk the clock simply to limit the number of possessions but
also to maximize the percentage of half-court possessions, a
tactic that favors teams like the Cavs, whose execution is
better than their athleticism.

I disagree with the notion that shortening the time a team has
to shoot would increase scoring. This would force players to
take worse shots and thus make an even smaller percentage. A
better suggestion would be to reduce the 10-second-rule
violation from 10 seconds to seven seconds. This would encourage
the team on defense to press and cause the team on offense to
push the ball up the floor, and the tempo of the game would go up.

The NBA needs to take a page from the college game and increase
the shot clock to at least 30 seconds. With coaches emphasizing
better defense and with that defense being played by taller,
quicker, stronger athletes, shooting becomes more difficult.
Give NBA shooters a chance to set up their offense, and higher
field goal percentages and more points will follow.
DON RAINES JR., Oak Harbor, Wash.

Why doesn't the NBA mandate that fouls be called the way they
are in the NCAA? Players would adjust to the stricter limits on
rough play. Now all they're doing is beating each other up and
restricting offensive creativeness.

In the opening paragraphs, you go on about low field goal
percentages and the complexity of the illegal-defense call.
However, later in the article you oppose the use of zone
defenses because they would shut down the lane. Wouldn't
shutting down the lane force players to sharpen their outside
shooting? Once that happened, defenses would be forced to cover
the man outside, lest he hit three-pointers all night, thereby
opening up the lane again. Bingo! Higher shooting percentages
because of more skilled shooters and no complicated
illegal-defense rules.
J.R. ZIRKELBACH, Clinton, Iowa


Richard Hoffer's article concerning Brigham Young (Stiffed!,
Dec. 16) highlighted what is wrong with major college
football--a focus on the big bucks that can be earned in the
postseason. Hoffer spends most of the piece discussing financial
gains and losses rather than the Cougars' season and the
sporting reasons why BYU should have been in a major bowl game.
Eight million dollars on one field goal certainly shows football
to be the big business it is.
FRED THOMPSON, Schenectady, N.Y.

In the outcry over the exclusion of Brigham Young from the
alliance bowls, the common lament was "BYU is 13-1! It's a
travesty!" The real travesty would have been to reward the
Cougars for playing the weakest schedule of any of the Top 25
teams. Had BYU gone undefeated, it would have deserved an
alliance invitation. But the college season often boils down to
one game for many teams, and the Cougars' only loss was a
nonconference game against nationally ranked Washington, 29-l7.
RANDY TIMI, Arma, Kans.

The only thing genuinely questionable about the alliance this
year was the rule that forced a major bowl to take 8-4 Texas
just because the Longhorns won the biggest game of their season.



I was impressed with Rod Woodson's two-way stats in Purdue's
17-15 victory over Indiana in 1986 (Letters, Dec. 16). Equally
impressive were the numbers of Vic Janowicz (above, with ball)
when he played two ways in Ohio State's 83-21 defeat of Iowa in
1950. He ran for two touchdowns, passed for four, set a Big Ten
record with 10 extra points (out of 11 attempts), punted twice
for a total of 84 yards and played solid defense.
DON WRIGHT, Gahanna, Ohio