ENLIGHTENED FOOTBALL (CONT.)
Finally, a positive commentary on college athletics (Casting a Special Light, Jan. 10)! As a high school coach and college admissions counselor, I had been waiting in vain for some positive public statement about collegiate sport. How appropriate that Notre Dame was chosen by John Underwood as an example of an institution that comes close to reaching the ideal that many of us in the coaching and education fields still believe in.
Fathers Theodore M. Hesburgh and Edmund P. Joyce are to be admired for what they've achieved, and John Goldrick's admissions staff must be commended for being unbending in upholding Notre Dame's standards. Those of us who have worked with Notre Dame over the years know that what you have published is true. In fact, I'm convinced that Notre Dame is an even better academic institution than Underwood's story indicated. Thanks for an optimistic, yet balanced and objective view of a great school and its athletic program.
Director of Counseling Services
Fenwick High School
Oak Park, Ill.
Another superb article by John Underwood. Educated athletes and integrity in sport should be the norm not the exception. Congratulations to Fathers Hesburgh and Joyce for their leadership in this regard. Now is the time for the other "good, strong, enduring, effective" leaders at other institutions to come to the fore.
MONTE J. KLOBERDANZ, PH.D.
I'm sure many students and alumni from various schools across the country took exception to the comments of John Underwood's "coaching friend" when he said that "for overall prestige in academics and athletics, [Notre Dame] is in a class by itself." Underwood was quick to dissociate himself from his friend's comment, but in the rest of the article Underwood implied that Notre Dame was the closest thing that exists today to that ideal balance of academics and athletics. While we at Stanford respect Notre Dame's academic and athletic integrity as we do our own, we also feel that excellence in only two sports—and men's sports at that—doesn't make for a model athletic program.
Stanford's faculty rates as one of the top five in the nation, and its students rank among the top 5% of all college students upon entering. Like Notre Dame, Stanford has no "jock major" or athletic dorms. It is as common to see an Olympic swimmer in one's dining room or thermodynamics class as it is to see John Elway on the football field. In fact, about 90% of all athletes graduate within five years, and of those who graduate, some 85% go on to graduate school.
Yet, unlike Notre Dame, Stanford has successful, competitive teams in almost every men's and women's varsity sport. In my VA years at Stanford, Cardinal athletic teams have finished in the top five in the nation in baseball, water polo, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, women's track and cross-country, and women's volleyball and have won six national titles along the way. Of course, the ability of Stanford's football team to beat the best—or lose to the worst—team in the nation is well known. With names like Hank Luisetti, Bob Mathias, Pop Warner, Frankie Albert, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Tom Watson, John McEnroe, Marybeth Linzmeier, et al., in its past, Stanford's heritage as a premier athletic institution is assured for many years to come.
Like Notre Dame, Stanford has never had problems with the NCAA. Therefore, if Underwood is looking for the school that best combines academics, athletics and integrity he should hold Stanford up as his example.
ANOTHER LOOK AT '82
Photographer Brian Lanker's Pieces of '82 (Dec. 27-Jan. 3) was a magnificent pictorial essay capturing a splendid array of sports images: the hands, the eyes, the smiles, the medals and the legs of some very special and outstanding athletes. You forgot one piece, however, and I'm disappointed.
Jimmy Connors had a tremendously successful year, winning the two most prestigious tournaments in tennis against many odds, age being one of them. He's a gutsy, determined champion.
Admittedly, photographing "the guts of Jimmy Connors" might have been difficult, but eliminating him altogether was disconcerting at best.