THE COLLEGE ATHLETE
In the May 23 issue, Jimmy Jemail has me saying, "All big-time college sports are subsidized. Players go to the highest bidder." While the statement is a fair but abbreviated paraphrase as far as it goes, it does not reflect my entire position as I presented it at a meeting of educators in Chicago and subsequently; I do not believe many colleges and universities violate the existing NCAA rules. However, I think the rules themselves should be revised so that an amateur is rightly defined. Anyone who accepts any kind of compensation for becoming a player should be declared to be what he is—a professional.
The implication that I am in any way opposed to college sports is unfounded. I feel intercollegiate athletics of the amateur variety have a high degree of educational value for young people. Nor am I opposed to "big time" college sports for institutions which wish to pursue such programs.
What I do oppose, however, is the practice of maintaining commercialized sports under the guise of "amateur" athletics. My position is a very simple one. Let those colleges sincerely interested in amateurism select athletes after matriculation, without advance effort of any kind to induce athletes to go to their institutions instead of to some other. Such institutions could form an amateur league and play each other.
The rest, those which recruit players with various inducements such as athletic scholarships, should eliminate the hypocrisy from their position and call themselves the National Collegiate Professional Athletic Association or some similar name, and restrict their schedules to members of this league.
To those college authorities and alumni who argue that athletic scholarships get a lot of boys a college education who wouldn't otherwise get to college at all, let me ask this:
If a student is worth a scholarship and is just as worthy academically as any other aspiring applicant, why demand athletic skill as a prerequisite for helping him? And if he isn't equally worthy on academic merit, why do him the injustice of exploiting his athletic ability for the financial profit of a college from which the student cannot profit educationally? The scholarship available "for athletes only" is nothing but play for pay and should be clearly labeled as such.
The only legitimate reason for enrolling a man at a college or university is that there is some foundation for believing he can benefit from the educational opportunity offered. Out of those who ought to be in college on that basis, many will have athletic skill and interest and will form fine amateur teams. As for those colleges which want to continue hiring players with scholarships and other devices and thereby fielding professional teams, let them do so openly and without guile.
BUELL G. GALLAGHER
City College of New York
THAT LITTLE FLY AND I
What I like about SI is that it doesn't care much for me. This sometimes produces wonderful results. I am a "major sports" man: what's good for the season is good for me. Baseball when the days are long, football when the sky is gray, and hockey for the long winter nights. My weekly meeting with SI is therefore a somewhat breathless occasion, full of wondrous suspicions and dark mutterings. Bullfighting. Bear hunting. Badminton, anyone? No, sir, no one here but us oafs. But on occasion I musingly dive into my freshly minted copy and find myself floating in a world of such pure, unsuspected pleasure that I come up knowing myself for the lumpish square I am. Such a story was Sparse Grey Hackle's piece on the trout fishermen of the Beaverkill (SI, May 23). Trout flies, as far as I am concerned, belong in dentists' waiting rooms encased in lucite cigaret boxes. Fly fishermen I detest as unclean hermits who have parlayed their parlor game skills into pure gamesmanship. But the world of Sparse Grey Hackle, as seen by him and so very obviously lived by him and the 19 members of that most delightful of all clubs, I must admit is a world far removed from the clumsy, noisy clamor that I call living. To read him is to know for a short while the pure, wholesome, noncompetitive communion with oneself, a little fly, a lot of water and the dim, pleasant, unimportant possibility that one of these hours something nice might happen—a totally satisfying experience to the reader, even if nothing in the world could drag me in the flesh to that riverbank.
SI, I love you. Not with the craving of the hashish devotee for the pipe, but with the puzzled passion of a father toward a wayward child, who only seldom, but then so gloriously, fulfills his parents' dreams of a better, richer, finer life than his old man's.
J. S. ADAMS
WHAT'S THE SCORE?
At last you run a story on hunting the largest carnivorous beast on earth, the Alaska brown bear, display fine pictures and state this was the biggest kill of the season (SI, May 23). But not a mention, not a hint of the bear's dimensions—its weight, its height, size of its paws, breadth of its skull or any of a dozen other vital statistics, which are the central interest of such an article to many of your readers. I knew Jim Nash was going on this hunt for a long while and am eager to learn the lowdown.