Ralph Wiley's The Master Of The Key (Jan. 7) was an excellent and honest portrayal of Patrick Ewing. In the summer of 1981, as a ball boy for the East team in the National Sports Festival in Syracuse, N.Y., I had the opportunity to work with and live in the same dorm as Ewing. The most memorable moments were the after-dinner hours, playing pool or just talking in the lounge. I found that he is a funny, warm, intelligent person who cares a great deal about people. Thank you for doing him justice.

As recent graduates of Georgetown and ardent supporters of Hoya basketball, we read with interest the article on Patrick Ewing. As Ralph Wiley says, Ewing has been maligned by the press and taunted by opponents' fans. Through it all, he has kept his composure and never lost sight of his goals: 1) to get an education and graduate, and 2) to lead the Hoyas to basketball greatness. He is a winner as a student and as an athlete.
Arlington, Va.

An envelope containing my semester grades from Georgetown and the Jan. 7 issue with the story on Patrick Ewing arrived in the mail on the same day. I opened up my grades and was disappointed with the results. My hopes for a position on Wall Street or for a possible M.B.A. seemed dashed. However, after I read about Ewing, my dreams were renewed. His desire, intensity and hard work inspired me. If he can overcome so much and prevail, then why can't I? I decided not to let a temporary defeat set me back. My thanks to Ralph Wiley and to my classmate, Ewing.
Bristol, Conn.

I read in your INSIDE PITCH (Dec. 17) that the A's traded Rickey Henderson. Ray Burris and Bill Caudill to different clubs because the team was having "continued financial troubles." Certainly those fine athletes are worth a lot, but I'm wondering what the long-term goals of those trades were.

They won't help attendance. With Henderson stealing bases in New York, Burris throwing curves in Milwaukee and Caudill making saves in Toronto, who's going to be watching the games in Oakland?

The trades won't improve fan morale, either. A fan's identity with a team has a lot to do with its players. I like the guys who were sent away. Whom do I now root for, and with how much fervor?

Finally, I doubt the trades will improve the team. The A's needed to add a steady pitcher or two, not trade away their best. They needed to add punch to their lineup, not give it away to New York. Last season the A's had a chance to be contenders. Now they're going to be more like pretenders.

So what were the long-term goals of those trades?
Boise. Idaho

As expected, the crowning of BYU as No. 1 has caused indignant bellowing over the need for a major college football playoff. Unfortunately, playoff proponents fail to consider the flaws inherent in any such system. First is the inevitable unfairness of the selection process. Is an 8-3 Ohio State team more deserving or less deserving of a tournament berth than a 9-2 East Carolina squad? As co-captain of Lawrence University's 1979 Midwest Conference champions, who were 9-1 but snubbed out of the NCAA Division III playoffs in favor of a team with two losses, I can attest to the geographic and historic prejudices that bias the assessment of how "tough" a team's schedule may be.

Second, if a playoff is intended to resolve beyond dispute the issue of which team is best, it's doomed to failure. Witness, for example, the legions of fans, sportswriters and coaches who continued to insist that Nebraska was No. 1 in 1983, despite the Corn-huskers' one-point loss to Miami in the Orange Bowl. The effects of fluke plays, injuries and officiating mistakes give rise to the truism that the best team does not always win.

Last, and perhaps most important, what on earth is wrong with a little controversy over who's No. 1? Why the childish obsession with crowning an undisputed champion? Will we eventually sink to the level of demanding a punt, pass and kick competition for the Heisman Trophy? A little healthy argument adds interest to the game. I, for one, enjoy the postseason bowl games as they are now and dread the prospect of seeing my beloved college sport turned into a junior version of the NFL.

As I read William Oscar Johnson's insightful article, A Rich Harvest From A Sea Of Trouble (Dec. 24-31), about the awarding of the Olympics to Seoul, I was impressed by his humane approach in revealing the little-known personality of South Korea.

Having lived in Korea (1980-82), I remember vividly when the news of Seoul's being awarded the '88 Games was first broadcast over the radio in September '81. I was riding on an extremely overcrowded bus in downtown Seoul, and I was somewhat awestruck as all of the Koreans on the bus burst into cheers and frenzied excitement the moment the announcement was made. I was caught up in the celebration and vowed to return in '88 to witness what I believe will be the most successfully hosted Olympics to date.
Logan, Utah

William Oscar Johnson's article was very interesting. However, it is difficult to believe that Seoul can have an economically successful undertaking at a cost of $3 billion, six times what it took to put on the profitable Los Angeles Games. Peter Ueberroth said of the 1976 Montreal Olympic debt of $1 billion: "You know, there are Canadian children not yet born who will pay all of their lives for the cost of the Montreal Games." How does Seoul plan on avoiding such a loss?

I couldn't help but notice Mike Dunleavy's hand in Michael Jordan's face in a photograph (above left) accompanying your July 23 article about the series of practice games played between the U.S. Olympic team and several NBA all-star teams (Hooray For The Red, White, Black And Blue!). And when Jordan made the cover of your Dec. 10 issue as a pro, I noted that he was again pictured with Dunleavy (above right), only this time Jordan seems to have the upper hand.

It was only a matter of time before Michael Jordan stuck that jumper over Mike ("I didn't come out here to not play hard") Dunleavy. Jordan is a Bull as in Chicago, and Dunleavy is a bull as in the china shop. Now I know why Dunleavy works for Merrill ("We're bullish on America") Lynch when he's not playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Albany, Ore.

I refer to a letter written by Ed Faught (19th Hole, Dec. 17) concerning the bulge in Doug Flutie's sock. Faught said that Flutie's not wearing a mouthpiece—his was tucked in his sock—was a violation of NCAA rule l-4-4d. Is there such a rule in the NFL? If so, does the bulge in Chicago quarterback Steve Fuller's right sock (LEADING OFF, Jan. 7 and below) indicate he disobeyed a rule?
Nazareth, Pa.

•The NFL has no such rule. However, according to Jack Reader, assistant supervisor of NFL officials, most pros use a mouth guard because it helps to cushion the impact of jarring head blows and thus prevent concussions. The Bears say the bulge in Fuller's stocking isn't his mouthpiece, though, only the lower part of his knee brace.—ED.


Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building. Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.