Vanderbilt's Gee is academic man
TO THE EDITOR:
I applaud Vanderbilt University Chancellor Gordon Gee's stance in the face of NCAA tradition. The power and control of college athletics has, more pointedly in the last 10 years, usurped the goal of college as a whole: to prepare young minds academically, socially and culturally for their entire future.
Of course, athletics makes up the shocking majority of revenue for larger schools, but that should not be the driving factor toward decisions that affect minds. It is truly unbelievable that a SEC head coach should make 35 times what a calculus teacher makes at any university. Or that some teachers will let a star running back basically coast to a passing grade so that he can fill the stands on Saturdays.
Ever wonder what the University of Tennessee would be like if it funneled all of that extra money into minds rather than Nike shoes and sports complexes? What if it took that extra money and put it toward scholarships or research grants, new buildings and better teachers? Maybe then we wouldn't need a lottery to supplement the education of our children.
It's about time that someone said enough is enough with collegiate athletics and looked at it from a different perspective. Gee is the man, and I only hope his next stop is to the University of Georgia, Athens.
Gossip column veers to politics
TO THE EDITOR:
I usually scan Liz Smith's "Grand Dame of Dish" column to see if anything catches my eye, which it usually doesn't. But Sept. 11 was an exception (p. 30).
Smith reflected on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and lamented that the only sacrifice she and the American people have had to make in the ensuing two years is to rubberstamp anything and everything that President Bush and his cronies have wanted to do about it. There was no statement of sympathy for the families of those who were lost, both that day and in the subsequent war on terror; no applause for the unselfish heroism of so many that day and since.
Smith's comments composed a poorly placed political statement that belongs on the editorial page, not in a gossip column. They revealed a very deep and definite political agenda. Because she opposes everything that President Bush stands for, Smith feels that every motive must be questioned, every dollar justified, and every action politicized.
Smith said she is looking for "Americans