Congratulations to John Underwood for his fine article on Notre Dame (Casting a Special Light, Jan. 10). I was very impressed by his unbiased and honest approach to the story. As a former varsity hockey player at Notre Dame who never really saw any action—I was a walk-on—I can attest to the fact that athletes there do not receive any special privileges and are not treated any differently from the rest of the student body. As Underwood said, being able to schedule our classes so that they didn't conflict with practice was the only so-called benefit. We were allowed to sign up for courses before the rest of the student body and before the courses in high demand became full.
With the type of student-athlete that Notre Dame attracts, it was no surprise to see football players in my organic chemistry lecture class and lab. As I have now moved on to graduate school at the University of Oklahoma, I've seen a different side of college football. For instance, going through an Oklahoma football program, I couldn't help but notice that of the 60 or so Sooners pictured, about 25 had listed either recreation or communications as their major. I'm not trying to single out Oklahoma as the only school where football players seem more concerned about becoming professionals than earning a college degree, but when I was there, Notre Dame didn't even offer a course called recreation!
MICHAEL P. MORRISSETTE
"If you cheat, you'll be out of here before midnight." If every college president had the guts to give his coaches the same two-minute speech Father Hesburgh delivers to Notre Dame coaches, intercollegiate athletics would not be in the mess they are today.
Congratulations to Notre Dame and SI for showing that athletes can live with regular students, take non-jock courses and earn degrees while excelling in a first-rate college sports program. Long live the student-athlete!
Many thanks to John Underwood for his insightful article on Notre Dame. It was refreshing to read about an emphasis on academics and strong leadership from the top in a major-college athletic program. Coincidently, your cover story in this same issue highlighted the first national football championship for Penn State's Joe Paterno, or as John Papanek appropriately described him, the most deserving coach in America. Paterno has developed another football program that has succeeded while remaining beyond NCAA reproach. In his 33 years of coaching at Penn State, including 17 as head coach, he has stressed academics, and he remains prouder of his team's graduation percentage—according to the Penn State football guide, more than 90% of his scholarship players have graduated—than his own remarkable winning percentage of .824. Paterno's commitment to academics was evidenced this season by Penn State's having three student-athletes on the Academic All-America first team. Penn State was the only university to have as many as three.
It hurt me to read that an intelligent and sensitive individual like Alan Page has "no nostalgia" for our common alma mater. However, it comes as no surprise. A review of the roster of Notre Dame's 1966 national championship team reveals that he was the only black on the team. This reflects a fact not touched upon in your article on Irish athletics, i.e., Notre Dame's Utopia doesn't have much room for those who make up the cream of the athletic crop, the disadvantaged black poor.
I only hope that the subsequent generations of black Golden Domers have been made to feel more a part of the tradition. If they have, then Father Hesburgh's Utopian dreams might really be true.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
?When Notre Dame announced in the fall of 1969 that it had decided to accept an invitation to play in a postseason bowl game for the first time since 1925, Father Edmund P. Joyce said, "The crucial consideration was the urgent need of the university for funds to finance minority student academic programs and scholarships. Notre Dame's share of  bowl-game proceeds will be dedicated to this pressing university need." The fact that 25 of the 95 scholarship players on the 1982 Notre Dame football team were black—the figures are eight of 13 for the basketball team—would indicate that the school has had some success in its quest. However, Notre Dame officials readily concede that the recruiting of minority students—who constitute 8.8% of the overall enrollment—is a matter of continuing concern.—ED.
The article made me feel very proud to be the unofficial president of the Notre Dame Subway Alumni—especially because it was written by the fault-finding king, John Underwood, who found the Irish faults to be few and far between. Yes. academics are important, but I sure wish the football team would win a few more games.
You've proved to me that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is soft on Notre Dame. In the prime time of college football recruiting, the sometimes fighting Irish spent another New Year's Day watching the bowl games from the sidelines of their living rooms. No record. No exposure. No free publicity.