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Byline: The Register-Guard

Dollars carry a cost

It is stunning to see the UO athletic department force the "resignation" of Martin Smith as head coach of the very successful track and field program.

This action was apparently undertaken to satisfy the whims of a select group of alumni, and not for the good of the program or its outstanding crop of current athletes.

Smith has built a program that is truly a stellar example of a track team, with stars in distance, middle distance, hurdles, jumps, vaults and throws. His critics want the UO to return to a distance-only program and sacrifice any chance of an NCAA team championship.

Concerns about sources of funding for the construction of a new basketball venue appear to have led to this decision, not any action of coach Smith or his record of successes, unmatched by any current UO coach.

Dollars may flow into the UO coffers, but it will be at the expense of track athletes and fans.

Any questions should be directed to the UO athletic department, c/o Nike, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon.



Track article unfair

Ron Bellamy's article (UO track coach Smith resigns, March 19) about Martin Smith's sudden departure from the University of Oregon is a very biased, unprofessional piece of journalism. The article begins by quoting a number of people - all critics of Smith - who deny that anyone other than Mr. Smith is at fault for this split. Certainly not the cozy relationship between Nike, its co-founder Phil Knight and the UO's track program. Everyone quoted denies it; so it must be true.

The article has a real agenda, and it isn't to tell the whole story fairly. There is no real attempt to explain what caused the real friction between Smith and the university. Mr. Smith, a native of Alexandria, Va., clearly did something right as a coach. But you wouldn't really know that from this story.

It make me wonder if The Register-Guard doesn't take money from Nike, too, in the form of advertisements maybe. Or maybe the paper is simply afraid to upset their cozy relationship with the university's athletic department. Whatever the reasons: Such reporting is shameful.


Alexandria, Va.

Money drives UO bus

Bill Moos, athletic director at the U of O, stated the resignation of Martin Smith was not related to any comments made by Phil Knight regarding the Oregon track program.

Moos was being truthful, but must think that alumni of the U of O are so naive, when in fact we know that Smith's resignation had everything to do with Phil Knight.

It's not what Knight said or did, it's what he communicated to the athletic department through Nike employees and, more important, what Knight did not do, which is open his pocketbook for the Oregon track program because he did not like the direction it was taking despite the enviable record of Oregon's track team in the past four years.

Moos should enroll himself in Business 101 at the U of O, which will teach you a business should not put too much reliance on a single source for its cash flow, and college athletics is one of the largest businesses in the country. He would learn that this heavy reliance in effect makes the source the de facto owner. The U of O already received a lesson from Knight when he withheld his funds and construction was delayed at Autzen Stadium due to a political stance taken by students and faculty.

I have never forgotten a phrase from one of my professors in my master's program at the U of O: "Always know who is driving the bus." We all know who is driving the bus in the Oregon athletic department, and it is not president David Frohnmayer or athletic director Bill Moos. Welcome to big-time college athletics.



A sign of the times

A week after the upset of Michigan, I stood outside Autzen prior to the Washington State game displaying a placard that read: "Welcome to Knight U." on one side, and cautioned: "Don't sell your soul for a sole" on the flip side.

Perhaps I should give that placard to Bill Moos to hang in his office.



UO critics misguided

There will always be another critic, trying to make us fall. My daddy always told me: "Bobby, if you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." Although the Ducks finished near the bottom of the Pac-10, coach Kent is a class act. He is a winner. He will go down as one of the greatest coaches in Oregon history. Not just basketball, all sports as well.

Ernie Kent was one of the top high school basketball players in the nation. They called him "Million Moves," but he was so quick he only needed one move. He could take anyone to the hoop.

I was lucky enough to play ratball with all the Kamikaze Kids. They were all very competitive when playing ratball. I remember Ernie taking Ronnie Lee to the hoop and actually angering Ronnie. They would go back and forth and everyone would take notice. Even with his bad wheels Ernie could still take on all critics and take their tails to the hole.

As for Oregon opponents chanting "Daddy's Boy," well, Jordan Kent is a "Daddy's Boy." He is Ernie's pride and joy. You can see it in his eyes. Daddy's Boy won more gold medals for the Churchill Lancers at the state track and field championships than anyone, ever. He is a winner, too.

This is what is called a rebuilding year. Look out for the Ducks for years to come. As for the critics: If you can't say something nice about Ernie Kent, you probably have a hard time saying anything nice about anyone. That is why you are called critics.




UO not stepping backward

This statement by Bob Clark kills me: "This (season) was, by any measure, a step back for Oregon basketball."

A step back for Oregon basketball? What I was watching was the first year of the best basketball team the Ducks have ever assembled. How is that a step backward?

You'd have to be blind not to see the tremendous talent, skill, desire, hustle and great attitude of this team. This year they lacked seasoned players to be the glue that can hold a team of inexperienced players together.

But, guess what, next year they'll be a group of experienced players.

My prediction: next year they're in the tournament, the year after that a No. 2 or 3 seed, which means chances to win the tournament. Step backward?



Basketball needs changes

I have enjoyed the game of basketball ever since Creswell High School played against Crow, Lorane, Mapleton and Siuslaw. I watched the Oregon "Tall Firs" parade down Willamette Street in convertible automobiles after winning the first NCAA title in 1939. That was 66 years ago.

I have a complaint about the game today and find some of the "March Madness" games to be boring instead of exciting. I believe interest in the game will dwindle in the future with so many games determined by free throws and deliberate fouling near the end of games.

I have some suggestions worthy of consideration. Reduce the player eliminating limit to two or three fouls, but officials should stop calling fouls on slight brushing against the opponent. Let the players play their fast-moving, exciting game. It was a mistake to go to five fouls years ago.

I do not like to see giants with eyes almost at rim level dunk the ball. It is too easy. Reduce the dunk to one point and move the three-point line out farther.

We have a great game with terrific talent, but to see it go down to marches to the free-throw line and deliberate fouling is hurting the game.



Golf tourney ignored

One of the most dramatic finishes in golf occurred at the recent Bay Hill Invitational tourney, yet The Register-Guard sports section carried not a single word about it.

In what should have been the main sports story, Vijay Singh finally caught up with leader Kenny Perry on the l7th hole, only to watch in agony as his drive plunked into the water on the final hole.

Is it true that local (Eugene) sports fans want to read only about the Ducks and Beavers?



Hunting for an explanation

I don't understand these macho types who refer to themselves as hunters. They go hunting for creatures such as deer, elk, bear and cougar. The first question that comes to my mind is, why are you hunting for something that isn't lost?

Wouldn't it only be fair to call it what it really is - killing? The hunters venture into the wild and not so wild clad in orange vests in order to avoid shooting each other in their zeal for the hunt.

What further puzzles me is why The Register-Guard prints material glorifying this blood sport. When are we going to start receiving the latest statistics on the bull fights, the cock fights and the pit bull fights?


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 27, 2005
Previous Article:Ducks double up BYU with Pac-10 slate on deck.
Next Article:Beaver gymnasts third at Pac-10's.

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