Column on UM policy offered no solutions I was...


May 19, 2002

Column on UM policy offered no solutions

I was disappointed in the column by Mike Preston that appeared on May 3 regarding the issue of Comcast Center seating ["Loyalty has premium price for longtime Terrapins fan"].

While I agree with Mr. Preston that the corporatization of sports is a factor in modern sports, there's not much that can be done to roll it back.

Aside from debating whether college sports as a proxy for minor-league sports is a worthwhile endeavor, it's difficult to argue the validity of the individual aspects of it.

However, Mr. Preston's arguments regarding the seating plan make no sense and offer no solution.

First, there is a limited numbers of seats that have to be distributed to demand greater than the supply. How else does he propose they dole out the seats? First come, first served? Whoever's grandfather was a bigger fan? Strictly based on most money given? Strictly based on tenure as a holder?

While Mr. Preston makes no suggestions of his own, the athletic department settled on a system combining those last two (obviously) relevant factors. That way, the system encourages future giving, but also rewards past support.

The system takes into strong consideration the number of years a fan has owned his or her season tickets. Logically, given the limited supply, some people have to be on "the bubble" as far as the cutoff in who would get those last few tickets.

The athletic department informed them that they were on the bubble and told them how they could ensure they would not be on the bubble. At this point, the fan could do whatever he or she wanted with this information.

I just don't really understand the point of Mr. Preston's extravagant charge that the Maryland athletic department is engaged in "extortion."

Extortion exists when a person faces no alternative and has reason to fear for his or her safety or livelihood. Here, the customer can just watch the games at home (like me!) or not at all.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure Mr. Preston's charges have much more support than his own hyperbole.

Doug Mintz New York

Let's support Maryland for support's sake

After reading Mike Preston's May 3 article on the season-ticket problem at Maryland's new Comcast Center, I felt I had to respond. Because of UM's recent athletic success, I am swelling in school pride.

As a recent graduate, I joined the Terrapin Club a few years ago. I did this not for tickets to football and basketball games, but to support my school. Ever wonder why Wake Forest and Duke are perpetually in the football cellar? Go to their stadiums.

UM is finally looking forward and building a new facility before it is too late. For those who choose not to support their university by joining the Terrapin Club, I say good riddance. I will enjoy your seat.

Rhett Hesprich Atlanta

Penalize the players for early departures

In a letter in the April 28 editions of The Sun ["Penalize programs for graduation failure"], Mr. Zach Parks wrote (and I paraphrase): "Why would a player go to the pros and sit on the bench to amass tons of cash?"

The answer is quite simple: money.

I agree with Mr. Parks when he says, "Who wants to see a bunch of millionaires play a game?" Here, I assume he is talking about pro basketball. I think pro football should be included.

However, rather than penalize the college programs for graduation failure, penalize the defecting player. If he does not honor the free scholarship to its full term, make him pay the school for the one or two years he attended. At his pro salary, I don't think it would be a burden.

Then the school could recoup its losses to invest in another defector.

Tom Conroy Catonsville

No wonder attendance is down in baseball

Baseball attendance is down.

Is this a big surprise? No!

Without a spending cap, such as other professional sports leagues have, big-city teams dominate.

People attend sporting events when both teams have a chance to win.

Can you imagine what size audience the Preakness would draw if one horse was a 10-to-9 favorite and all the others were 50-to-1?

Charles Johnson Pasadena

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