You've got to pay price to compete in NCAA I've been a...

LETTERS

May 12, 2002

You've got to pay price to compete in NCAA

I've been a Maryland basketball fan for 30 years. I had season tickets at Cole Field House, and I will have season tickets at the new Comcast Center.

Maybe my good fortune has clouded my perspective, but I've been completely amazed at the negative comments regarding the Comcast Center seat-assignment process.

It is true that in order to get seats at Comcast, you must make a monetary investment. It's also true that the more money you invest, the better your seats. This shouldn't come as a surprise to any fan of college athletics.

Maryland sports teams have had remarkable success recently, with the football team's ACC championship and trip to the Orange Bowl, and of course our first national championship in basketball.

This success is due in large part to the money the university's athletic department has at its disposal. Financial resources allow the school to hire and retain some of the best coaches in the business, like Gary Williams, Ralph Friedgen, and most recently Brenda Oldfield. And it takes a lot of money to build state-of-the-art facilities like the Comcast Center, and in the near future a new football stadium.

Having great coaches and great facilities allows Maryland to attract some of the best athletes in the country, and as a result our basketball team can compete successfully with schools like Duke, North Carolina, and Indiana.

I can't imagine any Maryland fan wishing for mediocre coaches, facilities and athletes, so that basketball tickets would be more accessible.

Andrew Niemeyer

Churchville

Column misses point on UM seating policy

As much as I have not cared for Mike Preston's columns in the past, I have not written until now because I was hoping that someday he would at least attempt to get his facts straight when writing a story.

He has proved, once again, that the words "journalistic integrity" are nothing more than an oxymoron. He did little research in preparing his column on the Comcast Center ["Loyalty has premium price for longtime Terrapins fan," May 3] or he would know that the 4,000 student seats that he calls "a nice cosmetic front" are more than the students had at Cole Field House.

The rest of the article displays his same level of depth he has shown on a regular basis for already too long a time.

As for Preston's buddy, Dana Davis, everyone is told when he signs up that family contributions don't carry over to the next generation, and given the choice of giving poor Dana a seat vs. paying the full scholarship bill with a larger contributor, I say, "Goodbye, Dana." Maybe Mike will give you his free press pass so you can join us "white-collar" folks.

If Dana showed the same level of commitment as his grandfather, he wouldn't be whining now.

Dana or Mike, it is simple: If you can't afford a little more for ticket rights so the total scholarship bill can be paid, then you really can't afford to buy tickets in the first place.

Mike Egan

Brookeville

Paper's recognition of crew is long overdue

Having spent four years rowing for the Roland Park Country School crew, I was beyond excitement when I heard about The Sun's May 3 article about the Baltimore rowing community ["For these crews, rowing's the thing"].

The athletes on these teams work incredibly hard and deserve the recognition.

I am currently a freshman on the University of Southern California crew, preparing for the Pac-10 regionals, and I understand the joy that these girls talk about when they are on the water. I learned to love the sport in the waters near the Baltimore Rowing Club and Canton and now spend three to four hours a day rowing in the port of Los Angeles.

Thank you for realizing that not everybody in Baltimore plays lacrosse. With your support, hopefully the rowing community in Baltimore can be as respected as its lacrosse community.

Carly Kahoe

Los Angeles

In long run, Wilcox will pay for early exit

What a shame. Chris Wilcox will never know what it feels like to be the star, the big man on campus.

While he was certainly an important member of Maryland's NCAA championship team, he was not the go-to guy. He did not have to learn how to deal with the pressure of being the team leader in the way that Juan Dixon did, and for this reason he will never be a leader in his future NBA career.

We only need to look at Joe Smith's disappointing NBA career to see what is likely for Wilcox. Smith was a much more polished player at Maryland, with far better statistics, and he has had a mediocre pro career.

Like Smith, Wilcox will never be an All-Star, never lead his team to a championship and, by the way, never will really make the big money.

In the long run, Wilcox's decision to leave early will cost him tens of millions of dollars, but youth is, if nothing else, always impatient.

Rick Webbert

Ellicott City

Sometimes, staying in school backfires

I read recently where a college junior from the University of Wisconsin who had set the single-season rushing record for the conference had decided to return for his senior year. Unfortunately, he blew out his knee on the first day of spring football practice, which possibly could end his career.

I wonder if those who criticize gifted athletes for leaving early (under the guise of the importance of a college degree as opposed to the real reason -- to help their team win) would help these athletes in the case of career-ending injuries. Or would it simply be, "Oh, too bad, did you hear about so-and-so. Next."

Additionally, the monies generated by these athletes directly and indirectly for the school become far more important than the possible denial of a few kids being able to matriculate.

Does one have any idea of the financial bonanza the University of Maryland reaped in its NCAA title run? It's all about the money.

Rick Marcel

Woodstock

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