N. Y. CRITIC CONDEMNS PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL
Perry Maintains that Disintegration of Intercollegiate Sport May Result.
Lawrence Perry, Sporting editor of the New York Evening Post, has taken up the question of professional football which is causing much notice at present. He believes that such an introduction of professionalism into the sport which causes most attention of any intercollegiate activity would materially detract from the college games. His article is as follows:
"Reports from Western cities indicate a movement to introduce professional football on a large scale East and West next season. It is said that certain major league magnates are considering a plan to employ their ball parks for football and to back the game financially, Professional football was played on Navin Field--the American Association grounds--in Detroit, last fall, and an agent of the Club is reported to have been in Chicago recently to enlist support for his undertaking from owners of major league clubs there. From Columbus and Indianapolis come reports of the impending formation of a professional football league composed of teams representing these cities; Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati. The Chicago report speaks of another circuit consisting of elevens from Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Columbus.
Future of Gridiron Game at Stake.
"If professional football becomes an established fact throughout the country a great intercollegiate sport will face disintegration. There are features associated with the game as it stands at present that do not appeal to our university authorities nor to the more thoughtful elements among the alumni; but they are elements that can be dealt with and eventually eliminated. But with the game roaring through the country on a strictly professional basis no great stretch of imagination is required to picture effects on the college game--the flow of players from university to professional elevens, and all the accruing scandal and innuendo, not to mention other features which will readily occur to the average follower of college sports. How long would any self-respecting university stand such a condition? How long would it be before in righteous wrath intercollegiate football at many of our institutions would be torn up root and branch and cast into the scrap heap? The future of football as a sport has suddenly assumed a portentous aspect.
"Spoladic reports last fall from Ohio--where commercialized football has taken deep root--gave hint of what might happen with the professional system flourishing on a large scale. Collegians, still in college, but having completed their three years in football, played under assumed names, and the fame of certain gridiron heroes was exploited with nothing but gate receipts in mind. One of the leading conference coaches recently expressed to me his theory that Wisconsin's chances had been injured by the fact of some of Withington's assistants running off each Saturday evening to play Sunday football with professional teams at Captain and elsewhere. If present reports develop into facts it would be well for our university and college authorities to take some radical stand against the innovation. It is not clear what they could do to protect their young men from the pernicious influences; but as least they could wipe out a feeding ground for the professional sport by abolishing the game altogether.