College coaches are paid too much
Regarding the May 26 Focus story “Time to play for pay in college?”: When I was a graduate student and adjunct teacher at the University of Texas between 2000 and 2005, we used to “joke” that the highest-paid employee at UT was head coach Mack Brown. I used to see some of his assistant coaches, some of whom were my age at the time, driving around the campus in expensive SUVs, while I was living hand-to-mouth.
Needless to say, college football is a deeply rooted tradition, and is not likely going anywhere soon. But this Dickensesque “Tale of Two Universities” needs to be dealt with in a sensible manner, and not just for aspiring athletes but for the improvement of our university system in general. First, how about ending this oxymoronic concept of “athletic scholarships,” and make athletes pay tuition or apply for financial aid like everyone else? Second, given that a university’s mission is primarily education, how about a congressional law stating that university coaches, as well as university administrators, have to be paid less than the faculty?
Accept smart changes to grammar
In response to the May 12 One Week article “Apostrophe apoplexy”: We should all welcome changes to punctuation and spelling that make language easier. Some punctuation doesn’t make sense, and the English spelling system is by far the worst of any alphabetized language in the world. Written language is supposed to represent the sounds of speech. No one uses apostrophes in speech, so why write them? Hanging on to useless old rules is just the human mind’s unreasoning resistance to change. It’s natural to move to more sensible ways of doing things, and modern technology encourages it. Similarly, reasonable spelling changes, such as “nite” for “night” and “thru” for “through,” should be encouraged and standardized. The United States should have a language academy, which could make intelligent changes in the language when needed.
Ralph W. Emerson