Slam Dunks

To the Editor,

Regarding "Welfare $ports" (Tucson Weekly, January 25): What? The UA sports program is big business? Say it ain't so! If this is earth-shattering news to anyone, take off your blinders, rub your eyes and get real! University sports are merely a form of minor leagues for pro sports. Sports scholarships are paychecks to play.

Mailbag And don't give me the old argument that sports scholarships are some students' only chance to go to college. Hogwash! Yes, I realize some student athletes take advantage of their free rides and earn their degrees and go on to join the non-sports work force. But what about non-athlete students who've indebted themselves up to their eyeballs in loans in order to attend universities? You don't see any cover stories about that.

To all you student athletes who got the shaft, it's really a shame, but you should know that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

And unfortunately, the relationship between college sports and profits does not appear to be improving. Is anyone else concerned about the sponsorship of bowl games and the shoe and equipment contracts between conglomerates and universities? Perhaps this relationship would have made a more worthy cover story.

--David Schaenman

To the Editor,

Regarding "Welfare $ports" (Tucson Weekly, January 25): The sentiments expressed by those involved with the University of Arizona Athletic Department as well as those of its critics are by no means isolated to those groups within the school. And while there are many among the non-athlete student body who support the teams and attend games, be assured there are plenty who do not.

As an undergraduate student at the UA attracted by its reputation as a "research" institution, and not the record of its football team, I'm one of many who feel as though I've been essentially "ditched" by the school in part because I'm a liability and not a direct part of any UA money-making effort.

The vast majority of students I'm familiar with here feel the same way. Thus, neither the article itself nor the quotes from Eddie Basha that the program is "in part exploitative," nor Mike Fisher's remark that the athletes are more or less contracted to "perform for the university" comes as any surprise to the UA community.

This shining little gem unearthed by your investigative team is merely symptomatic of the general behavior and actions of the University. However, judging by attendance at the major UA sporting events, either the Tucson community supports ICA policies, or is simply unaware of them.

Bringing this situation to light only makes me feel bad for each and every aspiring student who was refused entry to the school in favor of a student on an athletic scholarship. They, ultimately, are the ones who suffer most from these policies.

--John Barentine

To the Editor,

Regarding "Welfare $ports" (Tucson Weekly, January 25): It's unfortunate Jim Livengood and others have to defend Intercollegiate Athletics with such schizophrenic comments as: "I would never say it's a business, 'cause it isn't...(it just) needs to be run like a business," and, "We consider the athletic department as one of our athletic units.... We have the responsibility to try to make (the athletes) go to school."

The argument that such athletic programs are an important part of higher education has never been persuasive, and the assertion an institution needs the Big Sports for national recognition betrays the institution's academic inadequacies.

It would be more honest to accept that sports are only distantly related to academe, at best. We should set aside special "universities" for the pursuit of excellence in nationalized sports: the "UA of Athletes" and the "ASU of Athletic Pursuit," for instance, wherein the fun and profit of sports can come out of the closet, so to speak, and wherein intellectual achievement is not compromised because there is no such pretense. This would also allow athletics to be run as a truly profitable business, without any parasitic attachment to the reputation of an otherwise academic institution.

And, the athletes would be free from those irritating classroom-related requirements, which, after all, are not career-related.

--Dewaine McBride

Failing Grade

To the Editor,

Tucson is a remarkably naive and nearsighted entity. Margaret Regan's story on Arizona International Campus, the new university campus in Tucson, brought that fact right into the spotlight ("Takin' Care Of Business," Tucson Weekly, January 18).

Basically, what the University of Arizona is doing--being the mother of the AIC--is creating a glorified trade school to turn out the maximum number of students in the minimum amount of time with a minimal amount of effort and education. (Could this be the reason why they are not offering tenure?) Calling it "international" and a liberal arts school is simply high gloss to make it sound more promising than it is. The AIC has little to do with academia and more to do with big business. Why else would Don Diamond be involved?

Kudos to Regan for hinting that perhaps the AIC should go into Tucson's downtown. What would you think, Don? Ten-thousand students and professors learning, working, playing and living downtown? It's a win-win situation. And we save that much more virgin desert from being leveled...for now. Oh, sorry Don. Certainly, the AIC investors stand to profit much more from the IBM site being used, but the reality is (listen up, Pacheco) it would cost just as much to renovate and have new construction downtown as it would at the IBM site, and it would be much more profitable to the entire community. Downtown already has everything to sustain such a proposal--all it's missing are the people. Hopefully, AIC's lease on the IBM site as its temporary location is a short one--likewise, the momentary lapse of reason that put it there.

--Aaron Katz and Misti Weaver

The Remains Of Eighth Day

To the Editor,

I certainly hope that a major effort is being made to talk Hannah Glasston out of her decision to abandon her Eighth Day column. She writes with a combination of passion, strong beliefs and clarity that no one else seems able to achieve. Much as I enjoy watching The Skinny take potshots at TUSD, for example, Hannah's comments as a TUSD parent are always so much more poignant. And nobody on The Weekly staff writes about many of the women's issues that she covers.

Hannah, on behalf of all of your warriors, please reconsider this decision! The Weekly needs your warm, soulful and compassionate voice, as do we all. We'll miss you terribly...

--Bill Greenberg

Hey, So Did Nintzel!

To the Editor,

There are two reasons why Jeff Smith makes all those literary errors: 1) He majored in creative writing; 2) He graduated from the University of Arizona.

--Sean MacGiolla

On The Bus

To the Editor,

Regarding Kelly G. Reese's letter "Ticket To Rant" (Tucson Weekly, January 18): Reese claims to have experienced shock while reading your Skinny item "Busman's Holiday" (Tucson Weekly, December 21). I found the piece hilarious and inspiring. Reese, who expresses disappointment with your mean and uncalled-for comments, doesn't have the sense of humor to see that sometimes part of the challenge of coexisting with the rest of society is finding a way to avoid it.

--Michael Kotas

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