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."

It was very scary. It was also bogus. The plan was entirely a product of Turley's imagination. (The supposed source was an Aug. 8 Wall Street Journal article--but it made no such claim.)

Some people probably still think its true.

--Sean Higgins


*7*

Never mind the news, Hugh Hewitt, get a load of the funny pages! Doonesbury, Boondocks, Non Sequitur, and a passel of others regularly peddle the liberal line and lambaste the Bush administration, while B.C. was canceled a few years back for putting forth an explicitly Christian point of view. Makes you want to say !@#$!!#@#!

--Andrew Klavan


*8*

One of the notable things about the last third of the 20th century, the Baby Boomer section, is the bareness of its art. (David Skinner, The PSAT's Genius Grant) Painting, poetry, fiction, and serious music, which had erupted (Gershwin, Copland, Diamond, Pollack, Wyeth, Klein, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Williams, Stevens, Frost and Sandburg) in the first two-thirds of the past century became "interesting," "experimental," "politically correct," and "well done" . . . but not memorable.

The clot of liberal intellectuals that run our cultural institutions has blitzkrieged our art as well as our society.

How odd that we now are the ones who need Solzhenitsyn.

--Gus Owens


*9*

Actually, the scenario Fred Barnes hopes for is the last thing the BCS conferences want. This will be especially true if the Big East breaks up.

As I write, there are roughly 117 Division I-A schools. For the moment, 62 of them are in BCS conferences. This is a voting majority. If the Big East breaks up, there will be 57 schools associated with the BCS. Schools in the MWC, WAC, and C-USA are all disturbed, to one degree or another, about their exclusion from BCS bowls. To them, it is a case of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. The BCS series is not an official NCAA championship. It is merely an agreement between the various bowls, the Big East, ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10, Notre Dame, and ABC. Theoretically, an outside school could be invited, but it has never happened.

If the non-BCS schools get control of Division I-A, it is conceivable that they could force an official NCAA playoff. This would require all the conference champions from that division to be given bids. This would require a 16-team field, with 9 automatic berths (assuming the Big East is dead) and 7 at-large seeds. This would be a cash cow, but the conferences would no longer control the distribution of revenues. The NCAA would.

The BCS conferences won't like that. Additionally, just as when the NCAA basketball tournament expanded in the '70s it created the impetus for Div II teams to move to Div I, and for independents to come together to form conferences, an NCAA football tournament would give reason for the better Div I-AA teams to make the leap to I-A. If new conferences form, the number of at large bids available to the former BCS schools decreases, and they lose more money.

The BCS system isn't about crowning a national champion. It's about money. A lot of money. And just as importantly, it is about who controls that money. If the ACC expansion goes through, look for the remnants of the Big East and some of C-USA to form another BCS conference. This will keep control of that money in same hands as now. The last things the current BCS schools want is a playoff format where they have to share the loot.

--D. Hunter Armstrong


*10*

Just a thought for David Hackett: Perhaps the Clintons are on opposite sides on purpose (Let's Play the Feud!). Bill will be good cop to Bush and Hillary will be bad cop. That way Bill assures the Dems will lose in 2004, and Hillary will be positioned to run against an untested Republican in 2008 while maintaining her anti-Republican stance. Triangulation, anyone?

--Deborah Durkee

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