Negative columnist should lay off Billick I am so tired...

LETTERS

April 28, 2002

Negative columnist should lay off Billick

I am so tired of reading Sun columnist Mike Preston's negative diatribes regarding the Ravens' front office and Brian Billick in particular.

It is abundantly clear that Mr. Preston has nothing positive or insightful to say about Coach Billick, who has done nothing but take a franchise that was going nowhere prior to his arrival and lead it to a Super Bowl win in 2000 and a playoff win last season.

Mr. Preston seems to fancy himself an expert on the game, apparently having participated in some capacity at Towson, and loves to reiterate that the Ravens won a Super Bowl largely on the back of Ray Lewis and the rest of the defense - a not so subtle attempt to devalue Coach Billick's contribution to the team's success.

While Coach Billick's reputation in Minnesota was that of an offensive genius, his great strength is his ability to organize and motivate men from different backgrounds to pursue a common goal (winning) with passion.

Mr. Preston should consider a different line of work - perhaps typesetting the obituaries.

James G. Davidson

Baltimore

Don't believe the spin on Ravens' draft picks

Well, the Ravens' director of college scouting, Phil Savage, got his wish in the recent NFL draft. He was quoted in The Sun on March 26 that he was glad the Ravens didn't have a top-10 pick in the draft because of the difficulty choosing the best from such a talented group.

Luckily, the Ravens didn't have any agonizing decisions to make when they got to make their first pick, 24th overall in the first round. All the exceptional talent had already been selected, and the only thing the Ravens had to do was take the top leftover from the meager scraps that were left. It was easy and didn't require any thinking or decision-making on their part.

It's a good thing, too, because when they did have to think, they chose a punter as their initial fourth-round pick, a guy who probably would have been available at the very end of the draft. Nice decision!

To listen to the Ravens' spinning of their draft selections, one would believe that it went exactly the way that they planned it. The Bill Clinton spin-masters can't hold a candle to the Ravens' management.

I hope they can spin their way into contention for the Super Bowl next season.

Ron Parsons

Glen Burnie

Penalize programs for graduation failure

In the wake of Maryland's Chris Wilcox and others bolting for the NBA, it occurs to me that something is terribly wrong in the college basketball world.

With the exception of Duke's Mike Dunleavy, no established premier players with pro skills will return to school for next season. Most of the players leaving early will see little action next season, so clearly money is the determining factor regardless of what other excuses are made.

From a fan's perspective, we wonder why a player would take a seat on the bench in the pros when he could be part of the excitement of college basketball as a starter, improving his skills and playing to win instead of to amass tons of cash.

I mean, who wants to see a bunch of millionaires play a game anyway? More important than my desire to see the best unpaid players play hard every play is the issue of scholarships. These guys get to go to school for free (often with tax dollars) and rarely graduate. How many kids are getting denied a chance to go to school in favor of these athletes who don't graduate and give nothing back to society?

It's time to start penalizing programs by eliminating scholarships if players fail to graduate in five years. If this ultimately ruins college basketball, then that is still better than the current system and will re-establish the emphasis on education, where it belongs.

Zach Parks

Leicester, N.C.

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