Fall 2003
Lost empires, forgotten kings
Unforgettable professors
Q & A with Eric Hyman
Taking death out of the equation
Alma Matters
Memīries Sweet
Riff Ram
Class Notes
Back Cover
Back Issues

TCU Magazine "Letters"

Send your letter with a click...


What about faith?

In an otherwise illuminating portrayal of Chancellor Boschini in the summer 2003 issue, nothing was said about religion. Readers learned about his academics, his job history, his self-effacing manner, his family, his dress, and even what he eats for breakfast, but nothing about his faith. I realize the Chancellor may wish his religion to remain a personal matter but readers would like to know what role he thinks the Christian faith should play in the intellectual and social life of TCU.

Robert H. Boyte '52 (MA '53)

Editor's note: You're right. This should have been included. Chancellor Boschini and his family are practicing Catholics and are now attending Saint Andrews Parish in Fort Worth.

Not ringing true

Sorry, folks, but I think the new class ring design is as stupid a move as the one in the '70s when the yearbook went from a "yearbook" to a couple of chintzy magazines that got stuck into an equally chintzy-looking plastic holder. Yeah, yeah, I know, the new format was ground breaking, got some kind of recognition award, blah, blah. But printing it on toilet paper and issuing it in a roll would have been a ground breaking new format, too. All of the students I talked to about the subject at the time shared my low opinion of the format change. We wanted a hardcover, regular-size yearbook.

So with the ring, what were you thinking? What happened to tradition? The vast majority of class rings, except for those at Texas A&M, have always consisted of some sort of cabochon or faceted stone that generally reflected one of the school's two colors, and have included high-relief representations such as the name of the school encircling the stone, the year of graduation on one side along with a reproduction of a significant campus structure, and the type of degree with the school crest on the other side. Now, we have a drab little thing with some black printed words and a black printed crest on it.

Look, change for the better is a good thing. Change for the sake of change is sometimes a good thing. But changing a tradition simply for the sake of change is just plain stupid. Exactly who decided on this new ring design? A committee? A vote conducted by the students who will wear the things? A salesperson with Balfour's? An individual of high rank within the university? Some art teacher who thinks that wearing anything other than black is just so passe and that things simply cannot remain unchanged without becoming stale?

As for me, I guess I'm going to finally change one of my traditions, too. I'm going to quit contributing money to the university. The place, and its most visible graduates' symbol, just aren't the kinds of things I want to support anymore. This ring was the proverbial stick that broke this camel's back. And, speaking of sticks, I'll stick to wearing my graduate school ring. At least it's got a stone in it.

Craig Merrell '74

Quiet professionals

I am 1st Lt. Starr-Renee Corbin '00, a Signal Corps officer proudly serving in the United States Army at Fort Hood, Texas. I want to say thank you, finally, for acknowledging the often unknown and unrecognized student body that is centrally located within the university: the ROTC cadets and the leaders that the TCU ROTC programs produce that serve and sacrifice for our country. This is the first time that I have seen an article dedicated to these quiet professionals, and I am still in awe, and proud to have read about fellow classmates that I went through the program with. Thank you for finally acknowledging us, our commitment to our country, and the sacrifice that these great individuals make for the better of our country. Don't forget us.

1st Lt. Starr-Renee Corbin '00

Good works

I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge a TCU student-athlete for generously giving his time to a group of first-graders in Richardson. On Saturday, May 31, TCU baseball player and senior finance major Chris Osentowski came to Richardson to speak to my son's first-grade boys' baseball team. I had initially contacted Chris in January to see if he would be interested in speaking to the boys, as they attend elementary school in the same school district where he attended high school. Chris promised that after the TCU baseball season had ended, he would come talk to the boys. Chris not only kept his promise, but he also showed up to the baseball field early and watched the end of the boys' game before his speech. He very patiently autographed their baseballs and caps after his speech, and even showed them how to throw a fastball. We could not have asked for a better experience.

The University, Athletic Director Eric Hyman, and Coach Lance Brown should be proud of Chris Osentowski for his merits on the baseball field, his accomplishments in the classroom, and for his character in representing TCU to the community. He has made me very proud to be a Horned Frog.

R. Keith Bunch '95

Change the system

As the TCU football program and its fans gear up for the upcoming 2003 season, the sports media around the state and the country are showering the program with the odd combination of high expectations of an undefeated season and, paradoxically, our exclusion from the pinnacle of the collegiate football postseason, the four major Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games.

The fault for this seemingly contradictory situation lies squarely on the corrupt and exclusionary BCS system, which has effectively limited access to the lucrative BCS postseason purses and television revenue to only those schools in one of the six BCS "power conferences," plus Notre Dame. The exclusion of all non-BCS schools (including TCU) from this pot of gold is threatening to starve out many schools who are finding they can no longer afford the costs of competing in Division 1-A football.

All of this is certainly not news; it has been the reality of college football since the inception of the BCS in the late 1990s. However, more often than not, the powers that be, along with the media, have dismissed the complaints of non-BCS schools with much derision. For them, the solution is easy: if non-BCS schools want inclusion and access to the BCS postseason, then they should either improve their strength of schedule and try to qualify for a BCS bowl by achieving a top 8 computer ranking, or they should try to maneuver themselves into one of the established BCS conferences. The latter idea can be simply disregarded, because there has been no instance to date of a BCS conference expanding to include a non-BCS school. In other words, TCU should not be waiting for the Big 12 to come calling anytime soon.

The first claim is also entirely invalid because the BCS schools have effectively conspired to make it nearly impossible for non-BCS teams to qualify for the BCS bowls. Non-BCS schools that prove themselves capable of beating the so-called "big boys" of college football often find that the BCS schools they most need to play to raise their profile and strength of schedule rating will no longer return their phone calls for regular season games. Thus in 2003 TCU is playing a schedule remarkably devoid of schools such as Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Miami, or even mid-level BCS teams such as Wisconsin, Oregon, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, etc. The fact that instead our schedule contains low-rated teams like Navy, Arizona, Vanderbilt, and SMU in addition to our Conference USA schedule means that even with a 12-0 record, our chances at a BCS bowl, much less to actually compete for the national championship, are slim to none.

This result is entirely unjust, because TCU has spent the past five years proving that we can compete with the best teams in the country. In 1998, we shocked many in the college football world with our upset of USC in the Sun Bowl. In 1999, we scored another bowl victory over an East Carolina team that had defeated BCS schools Miami and West Virginia during the regular season. During the outstanding 2000 campaign, TCU pummeled a Northwestern team that went on to win the Big Ten (yes, THAT Big Ten) in a 41-14 rout. In 2001, TCU earned respect by playing eventual national runner-up Nebraska to a standstill for three quarters. Finally, in 2002 the same Louisville team that scored a national TV upset of Florida State was no match for TCU, as the Frogs prevailed 45-31. Nor was nationally ranked Colorado State any match for TCU in the Liberty Bowl (a 17-3 Frog victory).

As it stands, TCU's non-BCS status also handicaps our ability to keep successful football coaches. Many of us are still smarting from the departure of Dennis Franchione to BCS-member Alabama three years ago, but the reality is that with one more great season, the phone will start ringing for Gary Patterson as well.

Currently there is not a more pressing issue facing TCU athletics than this one. In light of the recent expansion controversy involving the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East, the national atmosphere finally seems to be right for a significant challenge to the BCS. Tulane University President Scott Cowen, who recently oversaw a significant inquiry into the financial feasibility of competing in Division 1 athletics at his own school, is leading the most publicized of these efforts. TCU should do everything in its power to become a leader of this movement against this flawed, unfair system. TCU football has paid its dues and earned respect on the field. Now, off the field, it is time to fight for our just rewards.

Brian Estrada '02