Congratulations on Bob Ottum's article about Brigham Young University (When the Latter-Day Saints Go Marching In, Dec. 8). I appreciate SI's recognition that differences in convictions and religious beliefs are a precious right we enjoy in this country, and that being different isn't necessarily wrong. "Mormons" and BYU Cougars are proud to have a style of their own, and we thank you for pointing it out without pointing a finger of scorn at what we value so highly.
We agree that in today's world "...purity gets you no points," but we'll stick with our standards just the same and let the Cougars continue to score the points. They seem to have a knack for it, don't they?
PAUL J. BLANCHARD
My compliments to Bob Ottum for an excellent article. However, baseball was one sport not mentioned. Under the coaching of Dr. Glen Tuckett, now athletic director, the BYU baseball team won 10 consecutive Western Athletic Conference Northern Division championships between 1967 and 1976. During this time, BYU won two NCAA regional titles and twice appeared in the College World Series, in 1968 and 1971. Under Gary Pullins, the current coach, BYU has continued its Northern Division dominance.
Two fine American athletes, Mike Render and Stan Younger, who, incidentally, are black, recently contributed greatly to the success of the BYU baseball program. They experienced the same challenges and opportunities to excel as did Homer Jones and Eric Lane, who pioneered in football. Mike and Stan met or exceeded the required standards of excellence. This was done at a price, but as a result they are a cut above their contemporaries at other universities and have gained adult survival skills that will sustain them throughout their lives. They also helped win the WAC championship in 1979.
Finally, although Render is not of the Mormon faith, he is a brother in Christ and a terrific human being.
Ignorance, like fear, lives in two places: in the dark and in the mind. BYU is courageously trying to eliminate them in both places.
After reading the profile of Brigham Young University, I came to the conclusion that Mormon life is dull, plastic and racist. How can BYU expect to attract outstanding black student-athletes when it offers a backward social/cultural environment that was typical of the 1950s?
South Bend, Ind.
I found it interesting that the university doesn't allow beards when old Brigham himself wore one.
Brigham Young Athletic Director Glen Tuckett was mistaken when he said only BYU and Indiana finished in the Top 20 in football and basketball last year. North Carolina and Ohio State also appeared in the final football and basketball polls of both the AP and UPI. In addition, Missouri and Purdue were each included in three of those four final rankings.
Sports Information Director
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C.
William Nack's coverage of the Sugar Ray Leonard- Roberto Duran rematch (The Big Bellyache, Dec. 8) was sensational, emphasizing the brilliance of Sugar Ray's performance. That was vintage Leonard in New Orleans. But let's not write off Duran. A third Duran-Leonard match would be in order if Duran first stopped Thomas Hearns—and as quickly as Roberto lost his well-deserved macho image, he would regain it.