My season in exile

By Murray Sperber



Salon Staff
September 15, 2000 11:15PM (UTC)

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As a graduate of Indiana University, MA '73, I read with interest Murray Sperber's piece on the demise of Coach Bobby Knight. I applaud the decision of I.U. President Myles Brand to hand Knight his walking papers, admire the courage of I.U. player Neil Reed and former assistant coach Ron Felling for standing up to Knight's abuse of power, and thank Professor Murray Sperber for his outspokenness on this issue. No doubt Knight has done wonders for I.U. and basketball in general, but at what cost? Did the ends justify the means? I'm sure there are hundreds of untold stories of the harm inflicted upon innocent students, staffers and colleagues by a man whose ego outperformed even the best players in the NBA.

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-- Jan Carl Park

I'd hate to say anything to defend Knight at this point, or to defend those here on the campus of the school I attend who crossed the line from "demonstration" to something a little more, well, rowdy. But I must object to Sperber's version of this Sunday's events. Where exactly he got his information (since we all know he wasn't in town) I can only guess, but I can firmly reject his statement that "many" of the students who were out on campus that night were drunk.

According to an article the day after in IDS [www.idsnews.com] (our student-run newspaper -- and a fine one at that), University police only made three arrests (state and city police made others, but none for alcohol-related issues) and only one of them was alcohol-related -- for possession.

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I was among some of the more peaceful observers Sunday -- despite the fact I'm not at all upset to see Knight leave campus, and despite the fact that I agree with Sperber's statements on the University's academic distraction. I saw no one under the influence of alcohol, nor did I see or hear any students speak of its use at the time. Many of my classmates felt, and continue to feel, strongly about their Coach's dismissal -- and they were expressing their opinion, as is their right to do, despite the fact that some expressed themselves more maturely than others.

Back here on campus, we have enough trouble with the athletic department making an unsightly fuss in the press, without having to worry about the English professors doing the same.

-- Ben Hubbard

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It is disturbing to hear that Murray Sperber has received death threats over the Coach Knight crisis. Since the vast majority of the I.U. players, students and alumni love and support Knight (and more generally, the priorities of the University vis-`-vis sports and academics) perhaps those who disagree would be better served by finding an institution that more closely parallels their interests and values. In short, if you don't like it there, leave. There are literally thousands of other institutions of higher learning, with a wide range of cultures. Find one that suits you and go there. Stop trying to cram your values down everyone else's throat.

-- Susan Hayden

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