Thank you for calling attention to the plight of Gary Freeman, Oregon State University basketball player (SCORECARD, Sept. 15). Freeman hoped to play professional basketball and then to coach high school teams. He represents that segment of college students who do not take disruptive action, are studious and plan to take their responsible places in society. His future is jeopardized by the NCAA action. The irony is that he was aware of the strict NCAA rules and thought that he had complied with them. Who would blame him if he feels that the "system" has not treated him fairly?
As your editorial indicates, the thrust of the NCAA rule might be valid: protecting college basketball players from gamblers and long off-season schedules. But who can assert that a lettermen-club-benefit high school game, such as the one in question, should be within the purview of such a rule?
I am concerned about the Freeman issue, and I hope that the NCAA will see the true perspective: a college athlete and his future, as well as the faith in the NCAA by all athletes, must be paramount.
The NCAA council meets in October. It will have an opportunity to rectify this injustice. The old adage, "to err is human...," deserves a new ending: "To rectify is fair."
MARK O. HATFIELD
ON THE LINE (CONT.)
My letter concerns some remarks made by Dee Andros in Part 1 of your article The Desperate Coach (Aug. 25 el seq.). I am that "son of an Air Force colonel" he was so appalled by. I feel that quite a bit of the story related to you by Mr. Andros needs to be put in proper perspective.
I had talked with Rich Brooks, one of Mr. Andros' assistants, the week before spring break and told him that I was not going to return in the fall and therefore could see no reason to go out for spring practice. I didn't feel I could play football for Oregon State because of conflicting beliefs between myself and the coaching staff concerning the importance of individuality and self-identity.
I did not see or talk with any of the coaching staff again until registration day for spring term. At OSU an athlete's fees are paid with a credit card that is enclosed in his registration packet. My credit card was not enclosed and neither was that of another athlete who quit at the same time. We decided to go see what had happened.
We talked to Mr. Brooks, who said he had thought we both "weren't coming back spring term" and had taken our names off the scholarship list. I didn't believe this because I had made a point of telling him and Mr. Andros that I was finishing the year at OSU. At that point Mr. Brooks became angry and said that "we couldn't really expect to keep our scholarships if we weren't going to play football in the spring."
Mr. Andros was even less professional than Mr. Brooks. He told us that we couldn't "expect something for nothing" and that he reviewed each athlete's scholarship every quarter and could "cut any scholarship at random." Jim Barratt, the athletic director, was no more helpful than the coaches, although he did promise to "see what the situation was" and told us to come back the next day.
I spent the rest of the day trying to enlist the help of several deans and a legal advisor. The school legal advisor was "out of town" and a phone call to the athletic department office by a trembling dean got no results. A person just doesn't get in the way of the athletic department at OSU if he can help it.