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November 14, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-14

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A

4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 14, 2002

OP/ED

U~be £kbimun j~uilg

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Iraq will not have
any mass destruction
weapons. So we are not
worried about the
inspectors when they
will be back in the
country. Iraq is clean."
- Mohammad Al-Douri, Iraq's
ambassador to the United Nations
on why Iraq is not concerned about
weapons inspections in a letter read
to the United Nations as reported
yesterday on CNN.

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

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Take the money and run
DAVID ENDERS WEIRD SCIENCE

I

S ince sugar daddy
Ed Martin came
clean and the sky
started to fall on Michi-
gan basketball, only one
person has said any-
thing remotely intelli-
gent about the situation:
Former Martin scholar-
ship recipient and current Houston Rockets
forward Maurice Taylor.
"The NCAA uses kids all the time," he
said, after the University announced last
week it would erase the Fab Five from its-
records. "The NCAA gets paid off of every
major guy that is in college. It's definitely
hypocritical. How can you be making
money off somebody else and not giving
anything to them?"
I'll start believing it's more than a
rationale for taking Martin's money as
soon as Taylor begins spending his NBA
salary in an egalitarian manner. But he's
on the right track. The distribution of
wealth that took place during the Fab Five
years is a perfect example of what is wrong
with NCAA football and basketball.
There is no debate they are a business
proposition that exploits its players.
That should be evident when the man
selected as athletic director has a back-
ground in real estate development and
experience as chairman and founder of a
bank.
It should be evident when the Univer-
sity athletic department is forced to nego-
tiate solely with Nike for an apparel
contract because it is the only company
large enough to outfit all varsity teams
and pay more than a million dollars each
year for the advertising exposure and
licensing rights. These guys were taking
their share, it doesn't matter where it
came from. How many jerseys do you
think Webber sold? The rest of the Fab

Five? How many pairs of baggy shorts
and black socks?
It should be evident when the football
coach makes about $1 million a year, with
less than $300,000 being his base salary.
Maybe I'll change my mind about all
this when I get a piece of that multi-mil-
lion dollar football practice facility I can
only look at. (My neighbor was once told
he could not observe the actions on the
other side of the wall from a second-floor
balcony across the street.) What are they
hiding in there?
Taylor also took aim at the farcical
notion of "student-athletes," an oxy-
moron of which the NCAA is particularly
proud.
"If you look at anybody that can play
nowadays, coming out of the top 20 to 25
(recruiting wise), they look at college as a
pit stop," he said.
The NCAA is a farm system for foot-
ball and basketball. Look at the 2002 six-
year graduation rates for Michigan: 55
percent for football, zero for basketball.
(The corresponding graduation rate for the
entire student body is 83 percent.) The
national averages are 52 percent for foot-
ball and 42 percent for basketball.
I almost changed my mind about the
whole thing after talking to some Michigan
State football players about the firing of
coach Bobby Williams last week. I was
surprised by their commitment to their
team - some of the underclassmen talked
about winning the season's last three
games so they could send the seniors out
the way they would like to be sent out
themselves. Then I asked former Heisman
candidate and junior wide receiver Charles
Rodgers if, after the season Michigan State
has had, he would be more likely to con-
sider sticking around another year; to go
out on a good note.
"I'm more likely to leave," Rodgers

said. "Bobby was part of my plan."
Rodgers probably wouldn't stay at State
if Williams hadn't been fired. Regardless,
note the difference: everybody else says
"Coach Williams." He's "Bobby" to
Rodgers. Everyone is well aware who is
lucky to be at a school and who the school
is lucky to have.
The saddest thing is that Michigan and
Michigan State rank above a number of
teams and there is often a correlation
between graduation and ranking. Take
Tennessee, Michigan's opponent in last
season's Citrus Bowl: Eight percent grad-
uation. Or Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 in the
Associated Press poll until last week: Six
percent.
Fortunately, people are missing the
point.
"This isn't exactly a valid measuring
stick," Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer has
said. "Those players who leave early to
play pro football and don't get a degree
count against the school when figuring out
the graduation rate."
The Knight Commission (University
President Mary Sue Coleman is a member)
has been critical of the NCAA, but their
recommendations for reform have been
widely ignored. The NCAA is more inter-
ested in putting its resources into punitive
solutions to problems instead of address-
ing why they exist.
It is up to schools to raise standards on
their own, but that won't happen until
some school decides to bite the bullet and
risk some losing seasons. It's tough to be a
trendsetter, but somebody has to do it.
Coach Carr? Are you reading? It's OK if
you don't make it to a good bowl this
year. I'll still root for the football team, as
long as more of them graduate.
David Enders can be reached at
denders@umich.edu.

The Islam that I know
BRENDA ABDELALL THE TOKEN GEM

ts no coincidence
that I have the flat-
tering nicknames of
Fat Kid and Fatty. Food
is my hobby - I literal-
ly love to eat. I was the
only kid on the play-
ground that didn't want
to be a doctor or engi-
neer rather I wanted my
own cooking show. What better occupa-
tion than to get paid to cook and eat?
Despite my bon vivant lifestyle,
Ramadan is my favorite month of the year.
My friends still ask me, "How can you not
eat or drink for the entire day?" They ask as
if it is some torturous punishment that God
has besieged upon the Muslim community.
Let me tell you something - if I can fast,
anyone can. In the midst of shortening
days, Ramadan has been relatively easy.
Sunrise is at about 6 a.m. with the sun set-
ting at about 5 p.m. Those of you who are
like me and emerge from the house at about
noon, this means a mere 5 hours of fasting.
Ramadan isn't just about abstaining
from eating and drinking all day. It is a
month-long spiritual journey that involves
deep introspection and reflection. Over the
past year, one looks back on where they
have gone with their lives, where they
seek to go, as they spend their nights in
prayer. Throughout the month, one con-
stantly seeks to purify their hearts and
rejuvenate their spiritual minds. The Mus-
lim has been likened to a battery being re-
charged during Ramadan, after a year
worth of wear and tear.

You learn an incredible amount of self-
discipline during Ramadan - especially
when you are cooking while fasting. The
other day I was making dessert for my
family when I instinctively stuck my fin-
ger into the cake batter and stuck my fin-
ger in my mouth. I found myself battling
with my inner Devil on my rush to the
sink to spit out the batter. I didn't realize
how strong I let that little Devil get over
the past year - it's a good thing I still
have three more weeks of Ramadan to
charge my worn out battery. Fasting is an
extremely personal venture. No one really
knows that you are besides yourself and
God. I could secretly hide in the basement
and nibble away on Slim Jims and every-
one would still think I was fasting, muha-
haha. This is where all the other aspects of
Ramadan come into play: Discipline,
piety, self-improvement and humility.
Aside from the personal aspects, the
deep sense of community and family is
exemplified during Ramadan. In our seem-
ingly hectic college life, sitting down for
dinner every night with friends and family
is a rare occurrence. I look forward to
Ramadan for the brotherhood and sister-
hood that is exemplified on this campus.
Every night, the Muslim students on cam-
pus get together and break their fast with
one another. Everyone breaks his or her
fast together and then heads to the local
mosque for evening prayers.
Amidst my enjoyment of Ramadan, has
been disappointment at the recent attacks
against Islam. Evangelist Jerry Falwell stat-
ed a few weeks ago, amongst many disgust-

ing comments, that Islam is an "evil and
wicked religion." Just yesterday, author
Dinesh D'Souza, stated to the Peoria Area
World Affairs Council that, "Islam today
produces two things: Oil and dead bodies."
One cannot claim that Islam is a monolithic
entity. These enormous generalizations are
not only inaccurate but do a severe injustice
to the 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide that
do not follow a violent path.
These sorts of comments are aimed at a
perversion of Islam, not the Islam that I
and the majority of Muslims know. Striv-
ing to spend the month in reflection and
prayer, breaking my fast with my fellow
brothers and sisters, abstaining from foul
language and uncouth talk of others, feel-
ing the plight of the hungry, donating
money to the poor, spending time with my
family and most of all revitalizing my soul
is what Ramadan means to me and most of
all, what being Muslim means to me.
Try fasting for a day, I promise it
won't hurt you. It will help you feel com-
passion for the less fortunate, have a sense
of greater appreciation for the things you
have in life, build up your sense of will-
power and self-control as well as experi-
ence the sense of spirituality and
community that Muslims look forward to
every year.
Let me know if you want to try fasting
and we can break our fast together at one
of the campus dinners and I promise Fat
Kid will share her food with you.
Brenda Abdelall can be reached at
abdelal@umich.edu.

"A

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

MSA posters kill trees,
make litter, pose lawsuit
danger, create fire hazard

of the posters the whole first floor and the
stair ways will go up in flames. I wish there
was a way to make them stop.
DANIEL GILBERT
LSA freshman

tinues to worsen its track record. The article
entitled, Israeli Prof. Speaks of difficulties?
(11/13/02) seems to follow logically in the
Daily's progression of inciting ads and per-
jurious editorials against the Palestinian
cause. The claims in ads that Palestinians do
not exist and editorials slandering pro-

r

w. ;>

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