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October 09, 1995
Scholarly young men are capable of playing excellent football.MIKE GORMAN, PENNSVILLE, N. J.
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October 09, 1995


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Scholarly young men are capable of playing excellent football.

National Champs
Having just read your annual college football preview issue (Aug. 28), I wanted to offer an easy solution to crowning this year's national champion.

It became obvious in 1994—especially to Penn State fans—that the college football national champion is no longer determined by strength of schedule, strength of conference or opponents' winning percentage. Rather, the team dubbed champion is the one whose coach is the sentimental choice of voters because he has suffered the longest without a national title. Witness Bobby Bowden and Florida State in '93 and Tom Osborne and Nebraska in '94. In '95 the sentimental choice is Hayden Fry of Iowa, the only active coach with more than 200 victories who hasn't won the crown. So let's make this easy for everyone and not have a controversial ending to this season. Congratulations, Hawkeyes!
DAVID HALL, Elysburg, Pa.

The Ivies
In Tim Layden's article on the academic quality of the athletes being admitted to the University of Pennsylvania (Winning Ways, Aug. 28), the Quakers' quarterback says, "I'm sure we're bending some rules...." The coach says the financial-aid department is "in his corner." Penn athletes aren't flunking out, but they are displacing students who should be there, who earned the right to be there, who may be brokenhearted not to be there.

Penn now dominates its league in basketball and football. Given the above views on athletic admissions and financial aid, Penn may end up moving to a different league.
ROBERT SANNER, Palo Alto, Calif.

In the sorry semipro world of the NCAA, the Ivy League has been one of the last places where student-athletes were actually students first and athletes second. Your largely sympathetic story on how Penn is gleefully subverting this honorable tradition was painful to read.

When Penn's football team was 2-8 in 1991, none of the Big Three (Harvard, Princeton, Yale) complained. When new coach Al Bagnoli, with fundamentally the same players, went 7-3 in '92, was it coaching or bending the rules? It's an old, bogus refrain: When any one of the Ivy schools beats up on the Big Three in any sport, it must be cheating.
MICHAEL T. HARRIGAN, Darnestown, Md.

By focusing on big-ticket sports, the article overlooks less popular sports in which other Ivy schools have exhibited similar dominance.

As a recent member of Penn's crew, I am aware that Brown has aggressively recruited rowers from all over the world, including Olympic medalists. Thus, Brown began to beat traditionally strong opponents by large margins; in fact Brown went undefeated for 2� years. During that time, Brown won numerous major championships, even a Henley title.

Was Brown wrong to use such practices? Of course not. Layden should note that these are the same methods used by Penn to recruit star football and basketball players. To single out Penn is not telling the whole story.
HAL REES, Philadelphia

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