Any explanation of Harvard's attitude toward Yale in athletics is unnecessary, if by that it is implied that any modification of Harvard's policy has been made since the reply was sent to "Captain Thorne's letter" Our athletic authorities,- who, it will be observed, have assumed the full responsibility of their position in name as well as in fact, in all official correspondence-have pursued a course which has been eminently consistent, and which will appeal as such to a large majority of those who are interested in college athletics. The history of the events in this unfortunate controversy, may be briefly stated as follows: Harvard was beaten by Yale at Springfield in the annual game last fall. Although there were certain features of that game which received adverse comment in practically all of the leading papers of the country, nothing happened which, in the eyes of the Harvard team, or of the Harvard athletic authorities, would prevent the teams of the two universities from meeting in friendly rivalry another year. Accordingly, Harvard, as the defeated team, challenged Yale to a game this fall. In reply Yale refused to consider a challenge unless the Harvard team would formally disavow certain statements made by a Harvard coach,- a thing which they could not truthfully do. Harvard then made the only possible answer to this demand, and assuming that Yale's position, whether reasonable or unreasonable, was taken in good faith, supposed that there was an end for the present of all athletic relations between the two universities. For it was impossible to see, considering that every intercollegiate sport at Harvard is under the supervision of one committee, how any further negotiations could be carried regarding any intercollegiate sport.
During the summer, an attempt was made by Yale graduates to see whether Harvard still held to her first position; but the only definite proposition advanced was the "correspondence" between Captains Thorne and Brewer, which, not to mention its artificial character, was an affront to Harvard in that it was but a disguised repetition of Captain Thorne's letter, and implied a total lack of seriousness in Harvard's reply.
As Harvard took Yale's letter in good faith, and answered in the same spirit, the result was that the athletic relations between the two universities lapsed. Obviously they could only be restored by the party that broke them off. Here comes the whole question at issue. Which college really took the initiative, the one that made a demand which public opinion has adjudged it impossible to comply with without loss of self-respect, or the one that merely states its inability to accede to this demand? "Call black, white," says Yale, "or we shall not play." "We cannot," says Harvard. Whose fault is it that there is no game this year?