Diana certainly combines the qualities of physical and mental toughness. Her accomplishments are objects of awe and inspiration to me and to the other swimmers who know her. Her friendliness, good nature and sense of humor have brightened many a glum workout. Intelligent yet sensitive, she can relate to all ages and all backgrounds. Thus, she is equally praised by the world's finest marathoners and the campers at Ak-O-Mak.
Diana Nyad is a winner because she dares to be; she has the courage to explore the limits of her capabilities. Dan Levin's story presents a pro athlete in one of the hardest of sports, who is more than a swimmer, who is a person of great depth. Thank you for letting more people know about her.
THERE HE IS...
Thank you for your fine editorial on TV's tasteless way of announcing the Heisman Trophy winner, Pat Sullivan (SCORECARD, Nov. 29). Is anything happening today without TV making an Academy Award production out of it? The way in which it was done cut down on the drama of this fine award. I feel sorry for the fine recipient, Pat Sullivan, because of TV's mockery of his finest collegiate hour.
Cornell's record-breaking running back, Ed Marinaro, may or may not have proved he was the best college football player during the 1971 season, but his remarks about the Heisman Trophy award ceremony on national television indicate he does not have the most important quality a great athlete should possess, sportsmanship. After all, isn't that what it's all about?
According to the article Buried Under a Sea of Troubles (Nov. 15) by Ron Fimrite, the NCAA seems to have based a good deal of its case on the erasures that Jim McAlister's ACT contained, the inference being that someone (yet unnamed) corrected his answers in order for him to achieve a passing score. Yet Eugene Jones' and Kermit Johnson's tests had 65 and 35 erasures, respectively, and they both failed the test. Why in the world would anyone make all those changes in the tests of Jones and Johnson and McAlister and not make sure that the other two also passed? To risk loss of eligibility for the athletes and NCAA censure for the school, the gain would need to be very worthwhile, would it not? What was UCLA's possible gain? Freshman eligibility, that's what. Hardly worth the risks involved. Johnson failed the test and he played varsity football as a sophomore. McAlister passed the test and he lost a year of varsity eligibility. Strange, indeed!
CHARLES B. KENDALL
Mr. Fimrite did a fine job in reporting the problems of the Pacific Eight Conference but, as a student at Santa Monica College, I cannot sit still when it is implied that Dr. Arthur Verge was guilty of tampering with McAlister's exam. Anyone connected with Santa Monica College who has known Dr. Verge will tell you that he is incapable of such an act.
Another point. Dr. Oluf Davidsen said the chances of the exam being changed in Iowa City were "one chance in a billion," since they are machine-graded. How does the exam get from the incoming mail onto the grading machine?
Santa Monica College Corsair
Santa Monica, Calif.
On the basis of my current 3.5 GPA at San Diego State, I feel I can qualify as a "superior student," and when I took the ACT I conceivably made 63 erasures. This was not due to changing my mind, but due simply to the fact that I had intended to leave an answer space blank and return to that question. But by mistake I had put my answer to the succeeding question in that blank, making an entire row of answers incorrect and needing to be erased. This type of error, most often caused by concentration on the questions, can be a natural source of a gross number of erasures.
I must agree with Dr. Verge when he says the NCAA is trying to get itself off the hook.
Spring Valley, Calif.
SHADES OF MARIS
In Whitney Tower's excellent piece on Jockey Laffit Pincay (He Has Them over a Barrel, Dec. 6), he mentioned that among Laffit's 1971 accomplishments were his 106 victories at Hollywood Park, which beat Johnny Longden's 105 set in 1948. He probably did not have the space to note that this is an asterisk-type record. Longden set his mark at a 50-day meeting, averaging 2.1 victories per day. Pincay's 106 were scored at a 75-day meet, his daily average coming to 1.4. Also, in Longden's era Hollywood Park ran only eight races per day as compared to nine a day during LaFeet's feat, thus making the new record even more deserving of an asterisk.
Lake San Marcos, Calif.