Bob Huggins should be commended on his ability to recruit and "father" many of his players.
JEFFREY WACKSMAN, CINCINNATI
I am one of the so-called "pretenders" who played for Cincinnati during Bob Huggins's first year as the Bearcats' coach (Breaking Through, Dec. 2). The article points out Huggins's consistent method of player acquisition. He has recruited players based on their athletic ability, with little regard to their academic capacity or their moral character. Kids deserve a second chance, but that chance should be used as an opportunity to improve, not reinforce, old habits. Without question, Huggins has been a father figure and mentor to many kids, but I just wonder if he is teaching them enough to sustain them after their stint in the Queen City. By the way, this pretender received his MBA from Rice last May.
BRADY HUGHES, Houston
Cincinnati's recruitment of drug dealers, batterers and classroom slackers to boost its basketball program is yet another example of our society's warped sense of values. The more the system tolerates bending the rules and winking at crime, the more we can expect America's youth to do the same. As other teams go through Cincinnati on their way to Indianapolis and the Final Four, look for their players and fans to hold their noses from the stench.
ROBERT W. HUTCHESON, Judge
Greene County Juvenile Court
Your suggestion that Cincinnati has no problem offering scholarships to athletes of questionable character in the same issue as your sunny portrayal of Richie Parker and his debut at Long Island University (SCORECARD) confuses me. I have nothing against Parker's being given a second chance; ditto for the Bearcats' Nick Van Exel, Art Long and Dontonio Wingfield. The gray cloud you say hangs over Cincinnati actually hangs above big-time college athletic departments everywhere.
JOHN P. WISE, Cincinnati
A better article would have examined the question of where the Van Exels, Blounts, Wingfields, Longs, Flints and Fortsons would be today without coach Huggins.
TAMMY FISHER, Terrace Park, Ohio
The Blue and the Gray
In his Dec. 9 POINT AFTER, Gerry Callahan was man enough to admit he had erred when he suggested two years ago that Army and Navy scrap their football programs. While it was an admirable gesture, it just wasn't enough. I suggest that he drop down and give us 50 push-ups.
JOE YASHAROFF, Bethesda, Md.
Not so fast, Gerry Callahan. I'm not going to debate whether Army and Navy should be Division I-A, but I don't think you should let one good season make you yield any ground. Division I-A is big and expensive. It requires significant resources that the academies, and the American taxpayers, shouldn't expend. So cheer on the Blue and the Gray for their efforts and achievements, but keep them in perspective.
JULIE RIM, Silver Spring, Md.
Did I miss something? Where was the article to go with the picture of the Army-Navy game on the Contents page (Dec. 16)? This was the greatest comeback in the game's history, a real heart-pumping fight, and you didn't cover it. Not a word about Army quarterback Ronnie McAda's performance in which he set two offensive records for Army in its games against Navy. And not a mention of the great role models we saw in these fine young men. The respect they displayed to their opponents should be an example to all.
DEBRA DONNELLY, Honeoye Falls, N.Y.