We print this morning a communication which reiterates the ideas which, as far as undergraduates are capable, were thoroughly threshed out last year. We are unwilling to admit that our football situation must be regulated by the extremes which the writer offers. The many advantages of intercollegiate athletics so far outweigh the minor objections which are made to them that we need hardly review the arguments which justify and call for their continuance. Suffice it to say that the interest which intercollegiate contests arouse will never accompany any intra-college sports, no matter how carefully their status is worked out, and, if anyone objects to them on the grounds of too much enthusiasm, he surely would not care to see the indifference which would result from a few years of intra-college sports.
In considering the objections against successful football we can see nothing which is inconsistent with our ideals of sport. True, we do not wish to inaugurate recruiting stations in the preparatory schools, although there is no harm in urging upon our friends the advantages of this institution. We believe that Harvard can turn out winning teams with the material which naturally comes to us, provided that football coaching is so systematized that we can make the best of our resources. At present our object is to beat Yale in football, and as long as undergraduates are united upon that point, there is no need for digressions upon hypothetical instances whose accomplishment we cannot yet welcome even if they were practically possible. Let us strive to attain the end which appeals to the great majority, and let any reforms work out gradually, if the need of them is generally felt.
This discussion brings us to the middle course advocated by R. A. Derby '05 in the Outlook. For the present we can dismiss that article with the statement that it advocates a Utopia--in the opinion of the author--which we are not ready to enjoy, and which is so practically inconsistent with the present sentiments of undergraduates and graduates that its theories should be of interest merely as conjectures.
If intercollegiate athletics are assuming too prominent a place in our lives, their number can be gradually reduced and the dormitory teams or other similar organizations can be given free rein to develop as their possibilities permit. But we are sure that abolition of intercollegiate contests will work greater harm to the cause of general participation in athletics than its advantages would compensate for. At present, let us use all legitimate means to bring success in intercollegiate contests, especially football--where the need is greatest--and at the same time afford every incentive to develop the more limited contests.