The stated reason that ABC didn't air its Clemson report during its telecast of the Clemson-North Carolina game was that the network wanted to talk to other sources. The most notable other source to appear in the report was Tates Locke. Locke was forced out as basketball coach at Clemson nearly seven years ago at a time when his basketball program was being investigated for recruiting violations. Did ABC expect him to say anything relevant to the current situation? His news, which didn't amount to a hill of beans, was old news indeed.
You stated that the claim by the chairman of the Orange Bowl's selection committee that ABC was trying to promote the Sugar Bowl was "far-fetched." Why, then, during the rout of Pittsburgh, did the announcers not mention No. 2-rated Clemson? This was either extremely sloppy reporting or an intentional omission. Either way, it was unbecoming and unprofessional.
Granted, ABC has the right to investigate whatever it pleases. It also has the responsibility to make an accurate and fair presentation. In this ABC has failed. And that is what the uproar is all about.
I was outraged upon reading your editorial approving of ABC-TV's airing of the now infamous nine-minute report accusing—in my opinion, just short of convicting—Clemson of recruiting violations. ABC's report was deplorable journalism, and SI's backing of it was just as bad. In light of the fact that it is the policy of the NCAA not to comment on unsubstantiated charges and that the member school, in this case, Clemson, cannot comment because these charges are under NCAA investigation, ABC-TV was left with but one-third of a story that was old news at best. The audience got the players' side of things, but couldn't hear the NCAA's or Clemson's views. To my mind that doesn't make for a quality investigative report. If ABC-TV is so determined to uncover, investigate and report recruiting violations of NCAA member schools, where was it during the recent Miami and UCLA investigations?
Your support for the media investigating alleged violations, your suggestion that our university president, Dr. Bill Lee Atchley, was denying the press its right to examine ethical transgressions and your implication that this incident compares in some way to Watergate are certainly below your usual high standards of sports journalism.
The innocence or guilt of Clemson and SI's and ABC's right to investigate alleged violations are not the issues. The issues are whether a news organization has the right to broadcast or print partial stories that tend to imply guilt and the possible use of such a story to promote one network over another.
JOHN C. LEMACKS JR.
As an avid University of Florida football fanatic and alumnus, I found it heartwarming to see your Dec. 14 cover. Cris (Cadillac) Collinsworth not only deserves that honor but he also deserves to be NFL Rookie of the Year.
No other rookie has contributed as much to his team this year as Collinsworth. For four years Gator fans had enjoyed and benefited from his leadership and talents, and now we're getting to share one of our finest products with the rest of the nation. The orange and blue's loss was definitely the orange and black's gain. Here's to Collinsworth's continued success as a Cincinnati Bengal.
REY A. PALMA
Merritt Island, Fla.
Judging by the way Cris Collinsworth handles the press, one would think he was an NFL veteran instead of a rookie. It's good to see a man become successful and be able to deal with his success in the manner Cris has.
That was a great cover and article on Cris Collinsworth. But as for Ronald N. Campbell's untimely slam at the Bengals' new helmet (ART TALK, Dec. 14), don't knock the stripes. They seem to be working!