NEW MEXICO'S SCANDAL
I read with interest your article on the University of New Mexico basketball scandal (Now New Mexico Feels the Heat
, Dec. 10). You quoted UNM President William E. Davis as saying it was "lack of leadership and discipline for the past several years that allowed things to deteriorate so badly." This and other statements by Davis quoted in your report indicate that he had no knowledge of what was going on in his university's basketball program.
If the NCAA seriously wishes to prevent these all too frequent abuses of collegiate athletic standards, there is a very simple step that could be taken: make the university president directly responsible—in fact, not just in name—for the conduct of his athletic department. Knowing that they could lose their jobs would be a great incentive to college presidents to make certain that they are aware of what is going on in their athletic departments. In all other organizations, be they governmental or industrial, the president is ultimately responsible for the conduct of his subordinates. I do not see why it should be different for the institutions governed by the NCAA. With interest in collegiate athletics reaching an alltime high, it is extremely unfortunate that we are finding more and more excesses occurring in areas like the recruitment and eligibility of athletes.
PATRICK J. MCBRIDE
La Porte, Ind.
John Papanek's account of the New Mexico basketball scandal was very well done and exposed the facts of the situation in a surprisingly stark fashion. However, Papanek touched on one subject that he didn't fully explore: where was Craig Gilbert when all the transcript-fixing was going on. and how come he wasn't involved in the process of getting himself enrolled in school?
As a student-athlete at Pacific University. I'm aware of the difficulties involved in competing in a sport and going to classes at the same time. But if Gilbert, as he was quoted as saying, didn't even know how many credit hours he had completed at his college, then something is terribly wrong with that college, its administrators, its coaches and Gilbert himself. After all, an athlete is a student first, isn't he?
Forest Grove, Ore.
"And the fourth one had to be the one that was taped," Coach Norm Ellenberger is said to have sobbed as he told of the conversations that broke the scandal. If this is so, Ellenberger must have studied the zone defense under Richard Nixon.
JOSEPH P. KAHN
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Without a doubt, the most spectacular attraction in all of sport is the Pittsburgh Steelers' Lynn Swann on the receiving end of a football thrown high and wide (Champagne, Roses and Donuts, Dec. 10). Furthermore, the athletic ability he displays in one of his cross-country runs can be duplicated by no one. Whether his ability is called poetry in motion, beauty in combat or something else, it puts Swann in a class by himself. Not since Gale Sayers has that class had a member.
Frank Deford's article on Lynn Swann was something special. Deford quotes Swann as saying of Pittsburgh, "It's a pretty place, isn't it?" Pittsburgh is beautiful, not only because of the scenery but also because it's lucky enough to have the Steelers, Pirates, Penguins and Major Indoor Soccer League Spirit. Many great teams and many great people—that's really what Pittsburgh is all about.
The only thing that saddens me about Swanny is that he doesn't reside in Pittsburgh (I'm a native) 12 months a year.
DAVID M. BONGA
Perhaps it's time for Pittsburgh to cast aside its image as a shot-and-a-beer town and emulate Lynn Swann in his affinity for champagne, because the Steel City is becoming Title Town. U.S.A.
RON BEVANS JR.
Frank Deford wrote that Lynn Swann is annoyed because the Dallas Cowboys have "anointed themselves as ' America's Team.' " It might interest you to know that Steve Sabol, executive vice-president of NFL Films, suggested that title in recognition of the Cowboys' national following. Dallas is America's Team. For example, of the items licensed for sale by NFL Properties that are available in 28 different versions—each bearing the insignia of one of the NFL's 28 teams—those with the Cowboy emblem account for 29% of the business.