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New Center Alone Won't Remedy Poor Athletics

I applaud the move by MIT to create a new athletic facility ["MIT Maps Out Plan For Athletic Center," Dec 3] but feel that this only begins to address the problem of poor sports resources within the Institute. Having been a participant in many intramural sports and one varsity sport and a user of most of the athletic facilities MIT has to offer, I see that many areas within the Institute are still in dire need of improvement.

First and foremost is the Institute's support - or lack of support - for varsity and club athletics as witnessed by budgetary constraints. Many teams now have to play limited schedules because the Institute's re-engineering efforts have reduced budgets based upon cost- effectiveness measures.

A case in point is the men's varsity hockey team's inability to participate in the National Championships last year because the required cost of the trip would have exceeded their budget. What makes the situation more outrageous is that the team was undefeated with a 140 record, ranked first of all club teams in New England, and it was probably the last opportunity for many of the team members to compete for a hockey title, all of which will - and should - contribute to alumni dissatisfaction. Budgets need to be evaluated not from a cost-effectiveness viewpoint but rather as a contribution to the physiological and psychological well-being of MIT students.

Secondly, the practice facilities on Briggs Field and the Jack Barry Omniturf are in need of repairs. Whether on a varsity sport like field hockey or football, playing intramural softball or ultimate frisbee, or even a pick-up game of soccer, we can all appreciate how dangerous the turf has become because of its unevenness and gaps in the playing surface. Measures must be taken to ensure the safety and convenience of athletes by replacing the existing field.

While the Institute should be recognized for its plan to construct a new athletic facility, not to mention reconstruction of the tennis courts, many other areas require immediate attention as well. If these areas are not addressed, many student athletes will continue to be dissatisfied with life at MIT.

Jonathon J. Grayson '97