November 18, 2006

Graduation article, headline misleading

Mike Klingaman's article, "Graduation Study: UM is 10th in ACC" [Nov. 10] significantly mischaracterized the latest NCAA graduation rate data for Maryland student-athletes. Because the academic progress of our student-athletes is a foundational tenet of our program, we feel an obligation to provide a more complete picture.

The headline, at best, is misleading, as it omits any qualification for the statement. In fact, the writer failed to include any of the following findings:

1. The 76 percent graduation rate for student-athletes is the highest since such records have been recorded by the NCAA.

2. The University of Maryland student-athlete graduation rate of 76 percent, cited in the NCAA Report, ranks first out of all eight public ACC institutions and third overall out of all 12 institutions.

3. The University of Maryland is tied for first out of all 12 ACC institutions, when comparing the difference between any institution's general student body graduation rate to its student-athlete graduation rate. Maryland's general student body graduation rate of 77 percent, compared to our student-athlete graduation rate of 76 percent, is only a 1 percent difference.

The article cites the 67 percent graduation rate for male student-athletes at Maryland (the basis for the headline), but fails to provide the proper context. The fact is that all Division I male student-athletes in the country graduated at a federal rate of 56 percent. The Division I male general student body graduation rate is 58 percent. The University of Maryland male student-athletes graduated at a federal rate of 67 percent, which is significantly higher than both national rates.

Klingaman also cites the 49 percent graduation rate for African-American male scholarship athletes. Although this rate compares favorably with the national rate of 49 percent, we recognize we must improve in this regard and are determined to create new initiatives to do so.

Clearly, the misleading headline and narrowly focused use of the study's findings do not reflect the overall positive progress made by the University of Maryland student-athletes, coaches and staff.

Deborah A. Yow, Dr. Charles Wellford The writers are, respectively, the director of athletics and the faculty athletic representative at the University of Maryland

R. Lewis wrong on McNair issue

After hearing about Ray Lewis' racial comments directed against the Tennessee Titans handling of the Steve McNair situation, I patiently waited for atleast one of The Sun's sports columnists to respond with a criticism of Mr. Lewis.

I can only guess that you are letting discretion be the better part of valor.

The remarks made by Ray, accusing the Titans management of racist behavior toward McNair were totally off base, unfounded, and uncalled for. At one time McNair was the most valued member of the Titans organization. Steve was replaced by another African-American quarterback (Vince Young). What transpired between McNair and the Titans was none of Mr. Lewis' business.

If race did play a factor during Mr. McNair's final days in Tennessee, then it could have been made public by Steve, not Ray. Ray Lewis is a well-respected man inside, and outside, the NFL, but this time he was wrong.

Gerry T. Deba


R. Lewis' comments are troubling

To say that Ray Lewis' comment is unfair to the Titans and the people of Tennessee would be putting it mildly. His babble to ESPN that because McNair is black he was not allowed to use the Titans facility while they were working his contract and his claim that this would never happen to Brett Favre or Peyton Manning (one would guess that would not happen because they are white) are unsubstantiated.

The situation about McNair's status was not the same as Favre's or Manning's. It has been proved over the years that people that make statements like Ray Lewis did are "racist" themselves. He contends this is not a black-white issue. If not, then what is it?

R. Ruhe


McNair's situation was hardly unique

Here we go again. Another column about how cold and heartless sports franchises dispose of their star players after they are deemed ineffective and/or too expensive.

This is not in any way a disparaging letter aimed at Steve McNair. From all accounts, he has been a gentleman on and off the field, and, I would also agree, a real warrior on it for Tennessee. However, Steve McNair is not the first sports star who has been released by his primary team, and he will not be the last.

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