The Faculty, the Athletic Committee, the Student Council and various unofficial organizations in the University have all discussed the "athletic problem" at length, but it remained for the Board of Overseers to present the first recommendation on the subject worthy of the name. Although the wording of their statement has not yet been made public it is understood that the Board has requested the Faculty to investigate a system of compulsory athletics for Freshmen, after giving their general approval to such a plan.
There are few words more obnoxious to the average undergraduate than "compulsory"; it brings up visions of compulsory chapel, oral examinations, concentration and distribution and other features of Cambridge life which we would like to avoid--although we may at heart know some of them to be valuable. There has been a time when the cry against the possibility of compulsory exercise was loud and long, but we have come to believe that a partial adoption of this system is the one way to further the bodily development of the college man.
As the Alumni Bulletin points out in its current issue the physical condition of too many undergraduates is below the standard. When the United States Army can only use three out of every four college men who present themselves for service there is clearly something the matter. We do not leave to a student's decision the choice of the improvement of his mind--the regulations laid down by the Faculty are rigid--but the question of exercise we leave entirely to his own volition. The Athletic Association deserves credit for having done all in its power to make voluntary athletics universal in the University. It is not its fault that the present system operates only for the comparative few. But since everything possible short of compulsory athletics will not accomplish the result desired the one course open to secure that result is to follow the recommendation of the Board of Overseers.