Three cheers for America's track and field stars and their coaches for having the guts to stand up to the AAU (The End of the AAU, Sept. 25).
A gold medal each to Tex Maule and to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Your story hit the nail right on the thumb. However, there are a few facts you overlooked.
Item: You failed to mention that the AAU annual budget averages slightly under $100,000 a year for supervising about 20 sports in all, whereas it's not uncommon for a college to have a track budget alone of over $30,000.
Item: When it comes to running a major meet, the AAU, with all its shortcomings, has it all over the NCAA, as anyone who saw the meets that were run by each of them this year can attest.
Item: Two of the authorities you cite are suspect themselves. You yourselves called the NCAA's Walt Byers one of those "ultimately responsible for the [basketball] recruiting tactics that corrupt young athletes while they are still in high school" (SCORECARD, May 8). And another of your heroes has been called, in my presence, by more than one top trackman, "the worst thing that ever happened to athletics."
JAMES O. DUNAWAY
New York City
After 27 years of coaching swimming and diving in Texas I can honestly say that our AAU (the South Texas Association) has done nothing inspirational or financial to help swimming or swimmers. On the other hand, the annual dues and fees paid to the association by our youngsters have gone to send delegates to the national AAU conventions, buy fictitious memberships for voting power and pay noncoaching officials' expenses.
Many college coaches welcome out-of-school athletes to their practice areas and work overtime to further amateur track. But others work overtime recruiting and won't schedule meets with club teams or strong colleges when they think such meets might jeopardize their won-and-lost record.
The article justifiably finds many faults in the AAU but fails to give credit to the many people who do the organization's work with little reward.
It is commendable that so many individuals donate their time without compensation, but philanthropy cannot be made an excuse for inefficiency at the expense of America's amateur athletes.