Insiders suck: Your piece about how the college football bowl game system robs universities ("Bowling for Chumps," Pete Kotz and Tim Elfrink, December 15) was terrific. While not taking away from the story, it should be noted that athletic directors are just as culpable as school presidents and the rest who live off this system. The ADs aren't "getting ripped off," as you write. The dollars aren't coming out of their pay. Check out what the average AD earns per year. Coaches make millions of dollars a year, presidents make a half-million dollars a year, and the ADs earn around a quarter of a million. No one earning that kind of pay is getting ripped off by anyone. Rather, everyone (except the players and the fans) is getting rich off this bullshit system. That's why no one will yell, "The emperor wears no clothes!" It is disgusting.
And still the schools act as if paying the players a grand a month would send the schools into bankruptcy court. It is OK to screw the fans with rising prices to attend games and then screw the players, but God forbid someone associated with a bowl or an employee of a university gets ripped off. Until they do, this fraudulent system will continue to burn those it claims to serve.
Schools should be rich: Disney and ESPN recently paid $500 million for four-year rights to televise the Bowl Championship Series. That's $25 million per game! The so-called losses that schools suffer over ticket sales are chump change in comparison.
Nonprofits steal: So what else is new? Everybody who is connected with governments, schools, and charities finds a way to get over on taxpayers. If there were no taxpayers, there would be no free rides on the taxpayers' backs.
Stealing home: Uncle Luke praises the Miami Marlins for throwing giant contracts at Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell ("Luke's Gospel: Federal Investigation Be Damned, I Love the Marlins," Luther Campbell, December 15), but he forgets that team execs came up with the millions for those three players by offering to pay nothing for their new stadium. They should all be sent to jail.
Bring back the dancers: With everything I keep hearing about this new stadium deal and after reading your report that the Miami Marlins are firing the Manatees, the team's fat-guy dance troupe ("Trimming the Fat," Gus Garcia-Roberts, December 15), I'm finding it harder and harder to support the Marlins.
Unique attractions: Maybe the Marlins think firing the Mermaids and Manatees dancers is an upgrade or improvement to the show at the ballpark, but I enjoyed these groups. Wait until those who were duped into tickets figure out that, in addition to getting screwed as taxpayers for stadium and parking, the rest of the event is a weaker and overpriced product. I guess baseball teams don't usually have cheerleaders, but that's what makes Miami stand out. How important is this to me as a fan ? Well, I haven't purchased any tickets for 2012. Maybe they don't need us in the stands to watch the Marlins.
Only thing worth watching: They should bring back all the dance groups. A lot of people (including myself) found it worth actually going to a game just to watch the dance groups. This seems to be another ploy the Marlins came up with to try to save money so they could have more for themselves. I find this very sad and disappointing.
Melissa Marie Alvarez
Money talks: You can make fun of Jorge Pérez for getting naming rights to the new Miami Art Museum ("MAM-oth Mistake," Michael E. Miller, December 15), but he put a larger portion of money toward the project than patrons at the Frost Art Museum or even the Adrienne Arsht Center. Maybe the new name should be the I Am Jealous of Mr. Pérez Museum. Pérez should be thanked for stepping forward during these difficult economic times and making such a significant contribution.
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Forgotten taxpayers: The taxpayers of Miami-Dade County are paying more than $500 million in the long run for the Miami Art Museum ($100 million for the prime waterfront land and $400 million in interest and principal on the bonds sold to pay for the construction). Jorge Pérez took advantage of a museum having trouble fundraising. The board members should be indicted for stupidity.