I have known college trackmen to practice in the early hours of the morning, in rain or snow, because their academic schedules prevented them from practicing at the regular hours. These men give up their weekends, holidays and summer vacations. These men are devoted athletes, far from being soft.
WILLIAM A. HUNTER
?For an answer to Avery Brundage from superstar Dave Sime, see page 26.—ED.
FOOTBALL: PAST AND PRESENT
Avery Brundage's claim that our colleges are ruining track and field, as well as participant athletics in general, finds a wealth of documented evidence in the same issue. Twelve of our big schools plan to form a coast-to-coast football conference (Football's Jet-age Secret, SI, Feb. 2). Its purposes: to attract bigger crowds, to influence " NCAA-type legislation," to make recruiting athletes easier and to present a "tremendously attractive TV package." Exactly what do any of these have to do with education?
Just how is it going to help build character? How is it going to improve the deplorable physical condition of our youth? As Captain Slade Cutter says, "It would give the sportswriters something additional to write about," but once again the connection with education is difficult to see.
Next year I hope to play 150-pound football at the University of Pennsylvania. At the risk of sounding "Ivy," may I say that I will not bring glory to Pennsylvania, I will not play before huge crowds, nor will I give sportswriters something to write about. But I will have a lot of fun and I am certain that I will be the better for it, both physically and morally—which is, after all, the only justification for intercollegiate athletics.
V. RICHARD MARIANI
Captain Slade Cutter of the U.S. Naval Academy says that "by forming a conference of schools with uniformly high academic standards and uniformly good football teams we can prove that academic excellence and football strength can go hand in hand."
Captain Cutter's thinking is only three years in arrears. While a number of more urgent problems (e.g., how to keep attractive young women from invading the academy grounds and masquerading as Midshipmen) undoubtedly have taxed the abilities and energies of the academy authorities severely, I would point out, for Captain Cutter's edification, that just such a conference has been in existence since early 1956. Its academic standards are unexcelled anywhere in the country; its football championship in three seasons of official league competition has been won, chronologically, by Yale, Princeton and, most recently, Dartmouth. The very fact that, in its three seasons of competition, the Ivy League trophy has been won by three different members testifies per se to the quality of play.
As for the "uniformly good football teams" with which Captain Cutter apparently is deeply concerned, I'd be willing to bet my copy of Captains Courageous that when conference play in the new jet-age league begins, each year one of its 12 member teams is very likely to finish last.
GILBERT S. OSBORN
TURF: TECHNIQUE AND TWO BUCKS
Enjoyed John Hislop's article A British View of U.S. Tracks (SI, Feb. 2), since it brings to light some points of constructive criticism about American horse racing. Hislop is a well-qualified critic. He has been an amateur rider in England for over 25 years, and was leading amateur rider-for 13 years, having ridden over 100 winners, a record.
He is quite right in "observing the inadequacies of the acey-deucey seat of American riders. Last summer Ex-jockey Jimmie Stout, who is now a patrol judge at the New Jersey tracks, remarked that there are very few good apprentices these days because they ride too short and have no leg control to drive their mounts.