AS WE WERE SAYING--
Our editorial of Thursday last entitled "Pre-Yale Games" was written with the purpose of arousing frank discussion. It did. It was generally construed to advocate substituting for pre-Yale games intramural contests. Our opinion is still that this would be an ideal situation. For the present, however, to make such a radical change is impossible. But at the same time it is painfully obvious that the condition which prevails today in football is harmful to the college both from the educational and the athletic point of view, because of the tendency to make football games public spectacles, means of advertising, and revenue producers. It is also obvious that a continuation of present tendencies is inevitable, and as inevitably will lead to a complete degradation of the sport.
Because of the grave danger now existing, and because of the impossibility of immediately jumping to the ideal, it is essential to consider what steps might be taken to remedy the situation. The most obvious is the elimination of training before the opening of the college term, and cutting down the schedule to make this possible. It may also be advisable to abandon such forms of advertising as have been seen on subway billboards, which rather vitiates any claim that revenue is not sought after by but is merely thrust upon the Athletic Association.
As soon as possible intersectional games should be eliminated from the football schedule, for several reasons. The first is that it is inevitable that the system of always playing at home cannot be adhered to without arousing a harmful amount of antagonism. "Well," ask some, "why not play return games?" The answer is to be found in the increasing demand, not from other colleges so much as from Harvard's own graduates, to play in every part of the country. If all the graduates are to be pleased the result would be that the team would play half its games away from Cambridge, tremendously increasing the emphasis on football, and emphasizing more than ever its advertising value and commercialism. Moreover, it cannot be denied that the demand on the part of the graduates arises from a commendable desire to have Harvard in good repute in the various localities. Plainly, this is using the football team as an advertising agent. The principle underlying the present policy of playing only one game a year away is that the football team be not used as an advertising agent; it is therefore evident that intersectional contests are not in accordance with this principle.
So much for immediate remedies. We would, in closing endeavor once more to make clear the principles which we believe are involved in this whole question. Harvard tradition, Coach Bingham has rightly said, is something we do not expatiate on any more than we announce to the world that we love our parents. It is older and greater than we can find words to express. For this very reason advertising, of a positive character, is not desirable; in the first place it does not pay and in the second it is incongruous with the idea of Harvard. And it is particularly undesirable when it is in the form of college athletics. Finally there is not only incomparability between advertising and Harvard but even greater incomparability between advertising and athletics. In one case the end is injured by the means and in the other the means by the end.