I am a former college football player and one of millions who appreciates the idea of amateurism in the college game and the unsullied enthusiasms it brings to participant and spectator alike. Robert Vare's article lays bare the hypocrisy that is undermining the college game. Woody Hayes, super recruiter, sets the tone nationwide for many a regime in college athletics. As Vare makes clear, coaching alone has little to do with putting the same teams in the Top 20 year in and out.
Yes, there are those who would destroy college football, as Woody so ironically points out. The game is smothered in exploitation and commercialization. The day of the young man who worked his way through school, studied with the rest of the student body and still had enough talent and enthusiasm to block and tackle on Saturday afternoon is fading fast. Fading with it is the admiration of many for an institution that is being bankrupted of its integrity.
As usual, the NCAA fiddles while its empire burns. Congratulations to SI for at least turning in the alarm.
Your story on Ohio State recruiting simply shows how low colleges—all colleges and universities—will sink to get top athletic prospects.
Wildwood Crest, N.J.
Well you've done it again, fearless prognosticators (SCOUTING REPORTS, Sept. 9). Last year you gave us Texas, this year Ohio State. How do you guys keep coming up with these fantastic predictions?
Oklahoma was the best team in the nation in 1973 and will be No. 1 in 1974. Luckily Ohio State doesn't have to play Oklahoma or it would be another embarrassing disaster for the (ahem!) No. 1 team and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, as it was last season-when Oklahoma demolished Texas 52-13. Boomer Sooners!
Oklahoma No. 2? You've got to be kidding. Let's remember that Oklahoma is still on probation because of serious recruiting violations—violations that have helped make the Sooners the strong contenders that they are.
F. MATTHEW HOFFMANN
In the space of a few paragraphs on Ohio State's football team, there were the following gleeful testimonials to mayhem: 1) "We're going to kill people"; 2) "We make sure we hit somebody...I like to smash them"; and 3) "There's nothing I enjoy more than hitting a halfback...especially when he doesn't see me coming. It feels the best when he hits the ground and you have your helmet stuck in him."
Isn't that a bit much? Such an open display of brutality is the "spirit" of a seething street mob, not a football team. No matter how intense a team's competitive zeal, there is no room in the true definition of sport for such blood-chilling callousness. Unbridled violence appears to be a permanent way of life in this country—even in such otherwise appealing pursuits as college football. It is an unfortunate development that is disheartening, ominous and not a little unsettling.
ROBERT L. HELERINGER
Evel Knievel landed in my lap. What luck and what a show ("We Shoulda Run One More Test" Sept. 16)! It wasn't luck that put me there but careful planning. For months, in order to avoid the $25 ticket, I had intended to sneak onto the Snake River and be under the jump in my kayak. Then, the day before the jump, I scouted the site and the Sky-Cycle and realized I had a good chance of meeting Evel face to face.