At the recent meeting of the American Society for the Advancement of Physical Culture held in Philadelphia an appropriate recognition of his services for the interests of physical education, was tendered Dr. Sargent in the form of an appointment as presiding officer at the next meeting, to be held in Chicago during the World's Fair. Dr. Sargent's paper, prepared for the occasion, is one full of interest to all who are concerned in athletics, and particularly instructive to those who are not thoroughly informed on the athletic question. Unfortunately the want of space prevents the CRIMSON from doing any more than to report that part which shows the causes of our present system of athletic government and its possible outcome.
In speaking of the natural tendency towards a misuse of athletics Dr. Sargent said:
The first remedy is for the college Faculty to announce its policy and to define its position in regard to the question. With the object in view an intercollegiate athletic conference met a few years ago and drew up a set of resolutions which were intended to unite the colleges in a definite policy. They were adopted by Harvard and Princeton, rejected by Yale, and only partially accepted by the smaller colleges. The failure of this attempt at joint regulation and control of athletics resulted in the present system of athletic control at Harvard. The then existing evils were gradually checked and an official trainer who should be announced in the catalogue and paid by the corporation, was recommended by the committee. The report of '87-'88 was highly encouraging as to the moral and physical effects of athletics at Cambridge taken as a whole. Then in order that there might be a more harmonious working toward the end in view, the constitution of the committee was changed so as to comprise three undergraduates and three graduates, together with three members of the Faculty, this committee to have the entire supervision and control of all athletic exercises within and without the precincts of the University, subject of course to the authority of the Faculty.
Under this committee athletics have taken a much firmer stand, the number of students who were in active training in 1891 being 903.
Athletic sports have grown so rapidly during the last few years that it is now impossible for any one committee to keep thoroughly informed on all the details of all the sports, and without a knowledge of these details the committee would be incompetent to act as managers or advisors. In my opinion the very nature of these contests precludes any committee, composed of Faculty members and appointed to regulate athletics, from assuming to manage the practical affairs of the different clubs and associations. On the other hand few graduates can afford to give the time necessary, even if they have kept pace with the development of the subject. Experience has shown that the management of athletic organizations is too much for the students to assume without the council and advice of older heads, nor ought the sole responsibility for the practical working of the team to fall on the captain alone.
The crying need in our colleges today is the advice and instruction of experts. The whole subject has simply grown beyond the capacity of Faculty, students and graduates, and if athletics are to be pursued along the same line of other branches in education, that is with a view of obtaining the highest degree of excellence, institutions must employ special instructors trained for the purpose. This is a conclusion from which I should gladly escape, for it will greatly add to the difficulty and expense of keeping up an interest in athletics, but it is the natural results of a failure to adopt the intercollegiate regulations, and I see no escape from it. College education will add much to the efficiency of such instructors as have been mentioned. If they have good sense they will work through the students, keeping themselves in the background and letting the honor and glory go to those who have participated in the victory. Moreover the appointment of such specialists in athletics will necessarily make the duties of a Medical Director more desirable.
A combination of graduate and undergraduate management, vested in the captain, is necessarily in order to have harmony and good results.