STICKS AND STONES
Accolades to Dan Jenkins on his magnificently perceptive article (One Point Six, Pick Up Sticks, March 21). It has long seemed wrong to me that those colleges with good student-athletes (and they represent the vast majority) must continually meet teams with boys that do not read or write very well. The NCAA's One Point Six rule is a brave effort to reduce this kind of thing.
JOHN A. LUCAS
University Park, Pa.
Jenkins says the basic issue is simple: "Should the NCAA try to insure that every varsity athlete is a student?" I agree that it should. But certainly the One Point Six rule is not the way to do it. It only insures that Stu Fingerlace will have to switch his major from biochemistry to the fox-trot to keep his athletic scholarship. Rather than eliminating the "tramp athlete, the transfer type, the snap-course clod," the One Point Six rule may encourage the very things that the NCAA hopes to curtail.
If the NCAA is concerned about the academic respectability of some of its championship participants, its "gym-shoe" and/or "life of the mind" committees should try to persuade all members that it is best for intercollegiate athletics if an athlete "has to survive strictly on his academic merit." If a member college certifies that her athletes are students in good standing, what more can or should the NCAA demand? Perhaps the NCAA should be more discriminating.
PHILIP G. PRATT
Surely the fact that a student athlete may take courses in basket weaving or the foxtrot is just as great an abuse of the system as the fact that he is permitted to play football while maintaining an average of less than 1.6. If this is so, is not the next logical step for the NCAA to dictate what courses a student athlete may take as well as what average he must maintain? And after that, what next? While the NCAA certainly has a point, I don't believe the Ivies are as "dead wrong" as Mr. Jenkins would have us believe.
In light of the recent Ivy League- NCAA conflict, I think everyone has been remiss in one thing. How can you hope to compare a 1.6 average at a school like Cornell or Harvard to a 1.6 at a school such as Texas Western or Kansas? It just can't be done. The U.S. Government realizes this, and that is why they are not drafting students by their rank in class alone but by a specific test geared to separate the brighter students from the others by means of a direct comparison rather than a grade-point average. Why doesn't Mr. Byers make up a test designed to make all athletes meet a certain academic standard? It wouldn't be any more ridiculous than his One Point Six rule!
As a 1960 graduate of Dartmouth, when the One Point Six controversy was first raised, I immediately sided with the Ivy League and muttered things like, "They won't ram this down our throat," and, "We don't need them anyway." But, dammit, we do need them.
To think that teams like Princeton's 1965 basketball team or Yale's 1966 swimming team might never get an opportunity to demonstrate that they're the best in the country rather than just the best in a supposedly glorified intramural league sickens me.
Jenkins' extremely lucid and well-reasoned article has not only led me around to the other side of the picture but completely converted my thinking. Clearly, if the Ivy League insists on maintaining its Albert Schweitzer-type attitude, it will become an inbred, sheltered intramural league, which is maybe what it wants after all.
RICHARD V. PHILLIPS
If the NCAA wants to get into the business of measuring aptitudes, what's wrong with using the nationally accepted Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT), the downfall of many an athlete trying to enter an Ivy school?
I am mindful of your March 7 story on the Baron: "It seems that Mr. Rupp, who has never been encumbered by modesty, used to teach a basketball course at UK, and he would always give all of his students straight A's. Rupp's reasoning was simply that no one could learn basketball from Adolph Rupp and not get an A."