The annual convention of the National Collegiate Athletic Association held in New York on December 27 was a marked success, almost every phase and problem of college athletics receiving attention at the three sessions. Delegates from more than 100 universities, colleges, and schools were present, nearly all the states in the Union being represented. While the association is not one which demands recognition or which enforces its point of view, it has been steadily growing in strength and prestige until in the near future it will undoubtedly be an all-important factor in moulding the practice as well as the spirit of intercollegiate athletics.
At this meeting, while there was a generous representation of faculty opinion, the discussion took practical rather than theoretical lines, making the session the best that has ever been held. No previous one has been productive of such widespread interest.
The University was represented by Dean Briggs, Mr. Garcelon, and Dr. Dudley A. Sargent. Dean Briggs was elected president of the association to fill the place hitherto occupied by Captain Palmer E. Pierce.
Dean Briggs's Opening Talk.
After his introduction as temporary chairman, Dean Briggs opened the morning session by the customary informal speech. He pointed out the great importance of the proper direction of col- ledge sport, and the care with which all professional and ungentlemanly tactics should be avoided. Taking baseball as an example, he showed that there were many things considered ethical in the professional game which have no place on the college field. The methods of coaches on the sidelines, the rattling of pitchers, interference with double plays from second base, and blocking a runner of the base; all of these are things rightly enjoyed and appreciated by the fans of professional baseball. But they should be strictly avoided in amateur contests. The fundamental spirit is what counts, and the directors and coaches as well as the players themselves should aim to develop a higher ethical standard, in order that sport, in all its branches, may be made of the greatest possible value.
Report by Mr. Garcelon.
W. F. Garcelon read a paper on general athletics in New England, of particular interest because it dealt with a greater number of colleges and schools than any other sectional report. He found no abatement of interest in sport; an improvement in its administration, especially in the preparatory schools; and great progress everywhere in good sportsmanship.
Interest in hockey has doubled, many institutions taking it up, until it is now the most popular winter sport in New England.
A marked increase of interest is also noticeable in association football, several colleges having taken it up. Most of the preparatory schools are playing it, and it is being introduced into the public and grammar schools.
The behavior of baseball teams on the field was much better last year than before. There was much less of the so called "yapping" by the players, and a little publicity should almost eliminate what remains of this annoying custom. The worst evil connected with the game, from a sportsman's standpoint, is its direction by coaches on the bench, which makes it seem a game between two individuals rather than one between two teams. Some agreement should be reached between colleges providing for the removal of everyone but the players from the benches, and for the complete direction of the game by undergraduate captains.
Move Toward Uniform Track Rules.
Following Mr. Garcelon, it was reported that the association hoped to arrive shortly at an understanding with the Amateur Athletic Union concerning uniform rules for the conduct of track games. But at a conference three days later between representatives of the two bodies, no definite understanding or agreement was reached. It is expected, however, that something will be done in the near future. It was pointed out at the conference, that, while the differences are not fundamental and while radical changes are not needed, an athlete may now be obliged to compete under four different sets of rules.
The football rules committee reported that the game as played last year was highly satisfactory, and suggested no changes.
The annual "questionnaire" brought out many interesting points. Out of 147 colleges questioned, 28 per cent did not allow freshmen to play on representative varsity teams, and 60 per cent permitted no graduates to play. The training table has been abolished from 22 colleges with very satisfactory results, while no less than 70 per cent required physical examination of athletes prior to participation in university sport