February 26

Dwight S. Mears’s Feb. 24 op-ed, “West Point’s fumble,” was right on the mark. The win-loss record of the West Point football team matters not at all to the nation or its fighting soldiers. The U.S. Military Academy’s raison d’etre is to produce officers who will win wars. Is there some correlation between winning sports contests and winning battles? The so-called educated risk in relaxing admission standards to recruit better football players is nothing more than a euphemism for an effort to boost alumni morale and academy coffers.

Does it make sense to charge the academy superintendent with winning football games rather than producing competent military leaders? Recent incidents of wrongdoing by senior officers indicate that we have serious problems setting priorities.

A.B. Phillips, Frederick

As a plebe in the 1950-51 academic year, I watched some of the football players spend occasional evening study hours floating burning model airplanes out of top-floor windows in our dormitory. In 1951, the cheating that allowed many of the athletes to survive academically was revealed. Prominent among those expelled was the starting quarterback, Coach Earl Blaik’s son.

As a result of this, and the history briefly recounted by Dwight S. Mears in his op-ed, I wholeheartedly agree with his argument. Championship football should not be pursued at the expense of excellence at West Point.

Mark L. Reese Jr., Springfield

The writer is a retired Army colonel.