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Basketball Thugs

Letters published April 4, 2002

When sacred cows take the court:

The trouble with CSU basketball is that there's no accountability for either program's actions ["Bad Blood and Basketball," February 28]. Unfortunately, basketball is held up as the sacred cow of CSU athletics, and any action on or off the court is acceptable, even if it's hazardous to Cleveland State's reputation.

The problem is that the athletic department does not operate with clear, enforced standards, and that generates inappropriate acts by basketball coaches and staff. It also produces the ineffectiveness that has taken place on the court this year. Someone in the athletic department needs to stop bowing down to the basketball gods and start holding them responsible for their actions. Until then, secondary sports, such as swimming and wrestling, will have their budgets slashed because the main athletic revenue source is faltering.

Matt Leavitt
Oakwood Village

New data shows we ain't all that bad:

Discussions comparing Cleveland and Columbus can be useful, but Pete Kotz's puff piece ["Cowtown Rocks," February 21] was merely ridiculous. Both cities are large, complex places, and while I don't think many people are searching for guidance on which is the more hip, I do think that hipness is in the eye of the beholder.

I've been impressed by Columbus on the few visits I've made since moving to Cleveland five years ago. Like Indianapolis, it's dynamic and engaging despite its flat, featureless setting in the middle of nowhere, and I defend Columbus to friends who dismiss it as "white bread."

Pete's twisting of the facts and inane comparisons, while disturbing, are in keeping with the spirit of the article. It's true, for example, that the city of Cleveland lost population in the 1990s, but metropolitan Cleveland gained population between the last two censuses. And as far as major league sports are concerned, there is no comparison: Over the generations, Cleveland has wasted far more money and attention on this pursuit than Columbus has, and we have the infrastructure to prove it.

Cleveland is a city with many problems, yes. Like all Clevelanders, I feel that it is my responsibility to endlessly point this out, but I draw the line at saying Columbus, of all places, has us beat. To make a few comparisons of my own, we have a more interesting waterfront, we have an entry in the World Almanac's listing of the world's tallest buildings, and we do not have a trendy neighborhood with the word "Olde" in its name. How cool is a town in which you can't even take the train to work?

Visitors to Cleveland are not likely to mistake the place for the set of Friends, but who cares? We have a sitcom image of our own to live up to. Mimi, we love you.

Vince Reddy
Cleveland Heights

A stellar review of a mediocre fest:

Finally, a great review of a local music event. Jason Bracelin did a great job reviewing the Cleveland Music Festival [Soundbites, February 21]. He represented the positives and negatives of the event with an unbiased pen. I agree with him on many of the points in his article -- especially about how the showcase backfired.

Vince Riha

It's time to ease up on the Elstons:

I have a dream for C. Malloy: Let these humble citizens [Hal and Billie Elston] live next to you, and they will benefit the good folks of Chester Township [C. Malloy's February 14 letter was in response to "The Lepers of Chester Township," January 3.]. You see, this lovely, caring, sharing couple can help other human beings by giving them a place to live, so they don't have to be worried about their parents being on drugs or whether Mom paid the rent.

Dennis DeGraves

Intelligent design is worth 10 minutes:

In his letter ["God Fails His Lab Test," March 7], Roger Laushman presents a flawed argument for keeping intelligent design (ID) out of high school classrooms [Laushman's letter was in response to "God, Man of Science," January 31]. His main argument is that scientists only deal with certain theories -- those that are supported by considerable evidence -- so ID doesn't qualify. This is ridiculous. Scientists often present theories based on little observable evidence or no experimental evidence at all. What about Einstein's theory that gravity bends light? In any case, ID has lots of evidence -- the great complexity of nature -- and thus meets Laushman's requirements.

Actually, the best reason for keeping ID out of science courses is that it is so easily refuted. Birth defects and extinct species force one to admit that the intelligent designer is not perfect. The imperfect designer argument alone would be so dismaying to ID supporters that one wonders why they want their idea brought up in the first place. ID does not merit more than 10 minutes in a science class. In the name of freedom of thought, I say let ID into schools. As for any abuse stemming from the ulterior motives of ID proponents, I think that the parents and students will be intelligent enough to stop it.

Harvey M. Weiss
Cleveland Heights

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