As a member of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, I voted for the penalty imposed on Oklahoma and have no doubt about the appropriateness of that penalty, given the nature of the violation of which Oklahoma was by its own admission guilty (The Best Team You'll Never See, Nov. 4).
On the other hand, I think it is utter nonsense for the football coaches who are voting in the UPI poll to pretend that Oklahoma does not exist. Under paragraph 7 (a)(8) of the NCAA Enforcement Procedure, the NCAA could have prohibited Oklahoma from playing intercollegiate football for a specified period. It did not do so, and Oklahoma is competing. Since it is allowed to compete, it seems wholly illogical to pretend that it is not competing. If it is the best team in the country it should be so rated.
I thought that Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer displayed real class in the game against Texas. Oklahoma recovered a fumble deep in Texas territory in the final minute of play. In a year when the only thing that Oklahoma can compete for is its ranking in the AP poll, a 10-point victory would have looked better than a three-point victory, and I think it is to Switzer's credit that he did not take time-outs in an effort to score another touchdown that would have meant nothing to the game but might have impressed those who vote in the AP poll.
CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT
Professor of Law
University of Texas
Should probation prevent Oklahoma from claiming the national title? Yes! Yes! Yes! To crown a probationary team national champion would be to openly condone the transgressions involved and, at the same time, reward a lawbreaker for having broken the law. The No. 1 diadem belongs to the deserving. Awarding it to a probationary team would make it a tarnished thing of no luster or consequence.
I am not an Oklahoma fan, nor do I have any opinion on whether the Sooners should be ranked in the polls while on probation. I feel very strongly, however, that the probationary penalties that exclude a team from telecasts and bowl games unjustly penalize the football fans and, in the case of Oklahoma, players who were not responsible.
As I understand it, the object of the probation is to penalize the school financially. This could easily be done by allowing the team to be televised and/or go to bowls with its share of the money being given to charity. Additionally, as has been proposed elsewhere, a line could be levied on the university.
W. ROBERT WATSON
Your article Don't Send My Boy to Harvard...(Nov. 4) gives fans a progress report on young Moses Malone and, at the same time, warns of an emerging trend in professional basketball: that of highly touted high school phenoms foregoing college and signing professional contracts. Malone's surprisingly successful transition will set the precedent.
This hardship thing has gone too far. The next thing you know pro basketball teams will be after junior high dribblers. Moses Malone will learn the facts of life. That elbow in the ribs was just a sample of what he is going to get in the future. He'll be manhandled by more experienced players. And he'll be subject to the bench jockeys of the other ABA teams.
If only the Utah Stars had had more sense. Why give a kid fresh out of high school a multimillion-dollar contract just to learn the techniques of a three-point play? I can see Malone's point. But couldn't he have gone to college first? I call a big personal foul on the Utah Stars and the ABA. I hope they won't do it again.
JAMES P. MANNING JR.
It's hard to believe that in today's world of sports spectaculars, SI would take the time and effort to report on Lake Placid (Back Where the Games Belong, Nov. 4). I, for one, wholeheartedly agree with the concept of keeping the Olympic Games small and conducting them for the athletes, not the officials, the press or the quadrennial medal-counters.