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Top 10 Letters

The BCS, the ACC, it's a football jamboree; plus more mail on the Army's mail; and more.

12:00 AM, May 19, 2003
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.

*1*

I respectfully submit that Brigadier General Sean J. Byrne is wrong (Top 10 Letters). I am in Iraq and have not received any mail in over a month. My family has sent numerous letters and packages, but I have not seen any of them.

--Colonel Steve Gouge

*2*

Fred Barnes's conclusion about in Bigger Is Better has a major weakness: He contends that "big time" college athletics don't affect the academic quality of the school at large--res ipsa loquitor, Fred! The students in the pre-med program and the engineering school aren't populating the football and basketball teams.

The group that gets shafted is the "student athletes." The coaching staff begins the high school recruiting process with a statistical lie--attendance at this school means a better shot at the pro level. Post "matriculation," academics are immediately forgotten, with boosters and alumni paying regular students to write papers and take tests for the athlete. What does free tuition accomplish for the guy who goes to a total of 20 classes in four years as an undergrad?

Has Barnes seen the raw statistics on jumping from 1-A to the pro level? The probability is remote. Every big school has a massively dumbed-down alternate track academic program for athletes that still requires third-party paper writing and test taking. Big schools recruit academically incapable brains in gifted bodies, and then intentionally de-emphasize academics for four years. Players finish their eligibility and are cut loose.

--Jason O'Connell

*3*

I don't think the expansion of the ACC is good for either the conference or college sports on the East Coast. I have always loved the inter-conference rivalry between the ACC and Big East in basketball. As so far as football goes, neither of them will ever be able to compete, team-by-team, with the SEC or the Big 10 and Big 12. They each have two consistently top-flight programs on the gridiron; Syracuse and Miami for the Big East, and FSU and Clemson in the ACC. (Although Virginia Tech is a top flight program now and I guess you could count either BC and UNC some years.)

We all know there will never be a 1-A football playoff. There is too much money at stake for schools like Auburn, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, my beloved Tulane, and Barnes's beloved Cavaliers for them to risk giving up the Peach Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Liberty Bowl, et al.

--Ned Lewis

*4*

Fred Barnes asks "Would Florida State be the Harvard of the South absent its powerhouse football team? I don't think so."

Is he implying that Florida State is the Harvard of the South? Or that, having a football team is not what's keeping it from being the Harvard of the South? I can't tell.

But, I can tell that it's silly to think FSU is the Harvard of the South when the REAL Harvard of the South is Rice University. George F. Will acknowledged as much in a column he wrote sometime between 1988-1990. Not only that, Rice Football is the Harvard Football of the South as well.

FSU is more like the Oklahoma of the Southeast.

--Keith Winkeler

*5*

As Joel Engel writes, spam may be annoying, like telemarketing calls, but to deny an outlet as big as the telephone or Internet to people hocking their wares would be against everything we stand for (For Whom; the Spam Tolls).

It's not very difficult to organize your e-mail address. Dozens can be obtained for free. Use one for friends and family, another for business, and another for signups to The Weekly Standard.

As for telemarketing calls, I don't understand why people don't just stop answering the phone. I'm not so conditioned that when the bell rings I salivate.

--Greg Barnard

*6*

Hugh Hewitt overlooks one of the more outrageous things the Los Angeles Times op-ed page has done (Bad Times at the Other Times). Last August 14 it ran a piece by Jonathan Turley matter-of-factly stating that Attorney General John Ashcroft had a "plan" to set up "internment camps" for U.S. citizens he determined were "enemy combatants." They would be like the ones used for Japanese Americans in World War II. The "only" difference was that Ashcroft was "thinking smaller."