‘Flutie’ Mooted

To the Editor:

In “Do They Really Want to Be Like Rutgers?” [April 9], Terry Golway wrote: “More than 20 years ago, dozens of colleges and universities around the country tried to take a page from Boston College, birthplace of the so-called ‘Flutie Effect.’ As writer Murray Sperber, a retired professor of American Studies at Indiana University, has noted, Boston College saw a flurry of applications and donations after Doug Flutie won the Heisman Trophy in the early 1980’s. But Mr. Sperber, in his book College Sports Inc., showed that the move to big-time sports was ruinously expensive and never delivered the promise of bowl-game riches.”

Actually, Boston College applications and donations had been on the rise for years. Had your newspaper spoken with Boston College officials, I believe they would have told you that there really was no “Flutie Effect,” but rather that Mr. Flutie found great gridiron success at a university that was already experiencing unprecedented growth. The analysis cited in your article was overly simplistic to the point of being frivolous.

Major college athletics provide unprecedented national exposure for universities that are able to run such programs. If a school follows the path that Boston College charted—good market research, alumni volunteers, financial aid, and improvements to residence halls and academic facilities, together with an attention-getting sports program—it can likely find similar success. If it chooses to support sports without building the foundations on which a university must rely, it is perhaps doomed to the “ruinous expense” that Mr. Sperber described.

Robert B. Vanasse

Washington, D.C.

Not Your Father’s G.O.P.

To the Editor:

I read with interest Azi Paybarah’s story on the Queens County Republican Party’s annual gala [“Supermarket Guy Wades Into Local G.O.P.,” April 9], at which we honored John Catsimatidis. We appreciate the coverage of this event as we look to spread our message of a revitalized, reinvigorated Queens G.O.P.

I wish, however, to correct for the factual record statements made by Mr. Paybarah in his article. Firstly, as I personally devised the seating arrangements and guest list for the dinner, I can attest that there were approximately 300 in attendance (well in excess of previous years), and about half of the attendees were, in fact, women. The crowd was not “mostly male,” as Mr. Paybarah claimed.

I write not to nitpick or to take issue personally with Mr. Paybarah. However, it is important not to perpetuate the false image that women are not sufficiently represented by and in the Republican Party. As evidenced by the prominence of female vice chairs, executive-committee members and district leaders, such is certainly not the case with the Queens G.O.P.

Lastly, Mr. Paybarah’s description of our attendees as “gray-haired locals” is inaccurate and could be taken by some as disparaging. It should be clear to anyone who was there that the crowd was representative of Queens County on the whole, with individuals present from all age groups. The image of the G.O.P. as an aging party, which Mr. Paybarah’s statement could convey, is refuted by the fact that our gala showcased members of the next generation of Republican leadership, such as our vice chairman, Vince Tabone, and our director, Daniel Egers.

Gloria Piekarski

Executive Director, Queens County Republican Party Queens

Trickle-Down Education

To the Editor:

The cost of housing in Manhattan is astronomical, but so is the cost of schooling [“The Crisis of the Upper-Middle Class: Big Pay Is Piddling in New York,” April 9]. Unless first-time buyers expect to remain childless forever, the overwhelming majority will likely deem neighborhood public schools unworthy of their high standards and, therefore, be forced to consider private schools.

The trouble is that tuition is rapidly escalating at the limited supply of elite schools. When the cost of tuition, books, uniforms and associated expenses is factored in, only the most affluent can afford to enroll their children. For the merely rich, it is out of the question.

That’s why it’s vital to improve educational quality at public schools—not only in Manhattan, but throughout the entire city. Until today, the upper-middle class saw no need to concern itself with the challenge long confronting parents of less means. Maybe they will now.

Walt Gardner

Los Angeles Letters