The plan of Athletic Consolidation has come under active discussion recently at Princeton, the party favoring it being mainly the graduate Athletic Committee, and other alumni, and those opposing it, many of the principal undergraduates. In fact, however, according to the editorial statements of the Princetonian, the two parties are not as sharply defined as this, opposite opinions being held among both graduates and students.
The plan proposed in the broadest application suggested includes all the athletic, journalistic and musical organization under one general musical head, the present financial officers of these being sub-treasurers of the "University" treasury. In its narrower and more practical form, the plan would include only the base-ball, foot-ball, lacrosse and track athletics.
The reasons advanced for this step are these: that, whereas some of the organizations are financially very successful, others are constantly in debt and are appealing to alumni for aid. The alumni looking out simply for the credit of Princeton do not feel like giving money, say for track athletics, while the foot-ball and lacrosse are declaring handsome dividends which are being divided among the members of those teams. The alumni think that all the financial resources of the various teams taken as a whole, should be exhausted before they are asked to contribute. Then, feeling that they were aiding the whole circle of athletics, they would step forward and make up the deficiencies in the gross amount.
The opponents of the consolidation are, as has been said, the principal undergraduates. Their objections seem to be sound from an undergraduate point of view. In the first place, there is doubt if a man of sufficient ability could be got to fill successfully the office of chief treasurer: and where ability was found, partiality to certain sports might make him worthless for the position. Again, supposing the man obtainable, the existence of a chief responsible in a lump for all expenditure would remove all feeling of individual responsibility from the treasurers of the different organizations, and extravagance would be the rule. Besides, while now many men support different teams liberally because they are fond of that particular branch of athletics, under the combination these men would grow indifferent, not desiring to support things in which they had no interest.
As may be seen, the merits of the plan rest mainly on the question, whether or not the consolidation would insure enough more alumni aid to cover the increase in expenditure, the decrease in individual undergraduate interest, and besides give materially increased help to the important non self-supporting organizations. It seems to the outsider as if this would not be likely to ensure and that more damage than good would come from "bunching" interests that are essentially independent.