Letters

LETTERS

February 23, 2003

It is always sad when someone as young as Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler dies, but the reaction to his death is surprising in that blame is being assigned to Major League Baseball, the Orioles, the Food and Drug Administration; in short, to anything and everyone except Mr. Bechler.

Organizations do not need to try to forestall every bad judgment that could be made by their employees.

Mr. Bechler knew, or should have known, the risks of taking ephedra; he also knew, or should have known, that he was over his proper weight before he went to training camp. If he had a stubborn weight problem, then he could have worked out a safe weight-reduction plan with his physician and the Orioles' training staff.

Blaming MLB for not banning ephedra is an emotional rather than a logical response. You may as well expect professional sports organizations to ban pain relievers because they can cause ulcers or liver damage, or jay-walking because an athlete could get hit by a car.

Kathleen A. Roso Catonsville

Players' `tossup' stance on ephedrine troubling

After reviewing the comments in Thursday's editions concerning ephedrine use in athletes ["To O's, ephedrine use still deemed a tossup"], I was exasperated to see that several Orioles believe that the usage of drugs, such as ephedrine, is warranted secondary to the demands of their job as a professional athlete.

This is just the type of information that our young athletes do not need to hear.

As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports injuries, I believe there are many of us in all walks of life who have to be at the "top of our game" to compete and do not depend on drug usage. This is not the message that we should be sending our young athletes, that in order to compete, you may have to take supplements.

Yes, the book is open on the use of ephedrine, but I believe it is in the best interests of the Orioles' organization and the players to critically examine the statements they are passing on to our young players who are trying to make it successfully to the next level of competition.

Dr. C. Philip Volk Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Don't forget: Football foots the bill in college

This letter is in response to an interesting column by Laura Vecsey regarding Hood College basketball [" `Challenge' takes on new meaning for Hood coach," Feb. 15].

The column was well-written until Ms. Vecsey decided to interject Title IX into the article by taking a stab at Division I football. This had nothing to do with her column and simply revealed her lack of knowledge about the economics of big-time college football.

Her solution to Title IX compliance by cutting football scholarships is misguided and shortsighted.

Ms. Vecsey, in order to serve her own agenda, failed to point out that several successful football programs help to fund women's athletics. For example, during the 2001 football season at Penn State, the varsity football program made a $15.6 million profit. This money went into the general athletic fund. The women's programs at Penn State lost $3.3 million during the same year.

In addition, 71 percent of Division I football programs generate a profit. On the other hand, 1997 stats show that 97 percent of women's basketball teams lose money on a yearly basis.

Finally, during the 1999 season, the top 100 women's basketball teams lost $65 million, while the top 100 men's programs generated more than $150 million.

If Ms. Vecsey would like to cut scholarships to solve the Title IX compliance problem, perhaps she should consider cutting from programs that are less financially successful. Then again, those cuts wouldn't fit with her agenda.

Jimmy Grant Bel Air

Sorenstam has skills to compete with men

While no one should expect that Annika Sorenstam, a frequent winner on the LPGA Tour, would win in her first attempt on the PGA Tour, certainly she has the right stuff to be a future competitor.

With an off-the-tee drive equal to most male golfers on the tour, with a disciplined approach and an exposure to male competitors and their play, she should be able to win some money on the much-richer PGA Tour.

Nelson Marans Silver Spring

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