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Byline: The Register-Guard

The Register-Guard sports department welcomes letters on all sporting topics. Our length limit is 250 words; all letters are subject to condensation. Writers are limited to one letter per calendar month. Because of the volume of mail, not all letters can be printed. Letters must be signed with the writer's full name. An address and daytime telephone number are needed for verification; this information will not be published or released.

Mail letters to:

Sports Mail,

P.O. Box 10188,

Eugene, OR 97440-2188

Fax: 687-6674


Law of gravity wins again

Just like the football team, the basketball team is just like a shooting star. Up it goes and down it comes. Seems to me that in spite of all the early hype, they are all sweatband (read hat) and no cattle. For those of us with no expectations of the outcome Oregon men's sports (basketball and football), we are never disappointed.



A matter of what matters

Since when does experience count for nothing? Am I the only one who thinks this reeks? The sitting athletic director gets summarily booted - with a $2 million severance package. That alone was unprecedented in the academic world, and it stunk to high heaven. But the buzz back then was that we had to be seen as treating Moos well so we could, get this, attract a qualified candidate! Whatever!

Now they're trotting out Dr. Kilkenny to take the helm. What, no doctorate? No master's or bachelor's, either? You mean he doesn't have a degree in anything at all? Oh well, I guess his complete lack of advanced academic credentials in anything related to this job, like sports, marketing, finance, accounting or journalism (although it was noted that he did drop out of both the business and the journalism school in the mid '70s - hey, that's gotta count for something) will probably be offset by the enormous depth of his experience in college athletics. What? No experience at all as an athletic director? Assistant? Nope. Towel boy? Nope.

Experience and credentials used to matter at Oregon. Don't we have one of the nation's highest-ranked college programs offering advanced degrees in sports marketing and administration? Oh yeah. So what does matter? How well connected you are? Are you a `good old boy,' a `member of the club?' How well do you know Phil Knight? That's gotta count for something. What really matters now is cronyism.



Litmus test for hypocrisy

Weeks ago, syndicated columnist George Will raised the question: "Just what is the role of sports in college?" Little did Will realize how soon that issue would become a burning one at the University of Oregon, where former heads of the Faculty Senate verbally "went to the mat" with President Dave Frohnmayer.

Two former Senate presidents, Nathan Tublitz and James Earl, wrote in The Register-Guard that overspending on football was financially crippling and diminishing the academic goals of the university. Frohnmayer responded in a guest commentary that he felt both areas could achieve excellence without sports detracting from academia.

It was a familiar debate that would have remained just that - except an uncomfortable fact intruded. In order to make another big TV paycheck, the university chose to waive a policy agreed to by Oregon and Oregon State that no game would be scheduled the weekend leading into final exams.

It was ignored because ESPN wanted to televise the Oregon-Arizona game this fall on Thursday, Nov. 15. That meant the UCLA game set for the 17th had to be moved to Nov. 24. It could be done because OSU agreed to move its game of that date against the Ducks to Dec. 1, two days before final exams begin.

The final exams agreement and Frohnmayer's assurance that athletics would not detract from academia? Apparently no problem, so long as there was another bonanza of football money to counterbalance administration hypocrisy.



View from top of The Pit

Over the past few years I have heard about the need for a new basketball venue for the Ducks. I watched the games on television and all looked well to me. Last night we went to our first game at The Pit, and I knew how desperately the Ducks need a new arena for basketball.

We were with friends who were somewhat handicapped, and it was very difficult to climb to the third level, where our seats were located. Once we were in place, it was out of the question for our friends to go to the restroom or get some refreshments from the only facilities on the first floor. There was not an elevator option for them, according to the people with whom we spoke. Our seats were not identified as having a compromised view, but we were looking through scaffolding, duct work, etc. It was a surprise to us since we have been watching televised Duck games from Portland for at least eight years, and we had no idea just how antiquated the facilities were.

It is time for the Ducks to have an updated arena to make it habitable for fans and to equalize the recruiting for potential players.



Kudos for the swim splash

I'd like to thank journalists Curtis Anderson and Steve Mims for their nice features last week on high school swimming. The local swim community is knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and these two fine writers captured that spirit in their pieces. Keep up the good work!



Pac-10 needs neutral site

As a fan of college sports and alumnus of the University of Oregon, I would like to point out that I am very displeased with the scheduling with some of the Pac-10.

For instance, the Pac-10 men's basketball tournament is always held at the Staples Center. Does that sound like a neutral court to teams outside of Los Angeles? I think not. There are professional arenas in every other state in the Pac-10, so why is the tournament there? If not in those places, how about Arco Arena in Sacramento? That would almost be a neutral site.

I do have to say kudos to the Pac-10 for the fact that in basketball the season seems to be very fair, in that each team plays one another twice.



Picturing herself there

This attaboy is long overdue for your awesome action shots of pigskins, hoops, coaches, cheerleaders and all Oregon teams who make us proud.

I am unable to attend the games; however, Brian Davies, Kevin Clark, Thomas Boyd and Chris Pietsch et al. bring them to me in thrilling, unforgettable photos. One of the best was a dynamic Duck with both feet in the air before he landed on his back in the middle of a mad scramble for the ball.

Although your fantastic photos may seem routine, to this armchair quarterback they are thrilling. You make me feel I am a small part of the games.

Your spectacular shots actually make me catch my breath and compel me to cut them out, always wondering how you got so close.

Many times, your super shots make me feel I, too, am diving for the elusive pigskin, even smelling the dust and sweat, or leaping for the hoop.


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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 18, 2007
Previous Article:Mohawk rallies past McKenzie for No. 1 seed.

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