American journalists love to speak of "big threes" and "big fours" whether they are referring to the peace conference at Versailles or the football teams of Princeton, Yale, Harvard--and now Dartmouth. There is a certain glamor about it and what the "big three" in the East or the "big ten" in the West are doing furnishes excellent newspaper copy.
At the moment the newspapers are apparently convinced that the public has heard enough of the "big three" and wants something bigger. Hence they have obligingly produced it. But in this case, as in fact in the whole question of a special league between the three or four universities concerned, there is a profound misconception. Harvard has athletic relations with Yale and Princeton and Dartmouth, not because of any mythical or real association or league, but because of traditional rivalry, approximate equality in size, and similarity in tradition and point of view. The idea of a sublimated tennis tournament with schedules varying from year to year would be something entirely new and would destroy much of the old tradition and spirit. From the Harvard point of view it is perfectly preposterous.
The question of the schedules is, of course, always with us. Quite naturally there is some feeling at Yale and more particularly at Princeton that the present system gives Harvard, with two weeks between its major games, an exceptional and unfair advantage. But Harvard and Yale have always refused to consider any system which did not bring the season to an end with the traditional contest between the Crimson and the Blue. On this rock have foundered all the plans for rotating schedules and the like. However large some particular game may bulk in any specific year the contest with Yale is Harvard's big game and unless undergraduate and graduate opinion changes very radically it will always remain the last on Harvard's schedule. Any change in schedules, and most Harvard men are willing to admit the justice of some change, must start with this as a premise. If Princeton should choose to make a game with Dartmouth the last on its schedule, as some speculative correspondent has suggested, it might furnish the newspapers and the public another "big game". But neither this nor the inclusion of Dartmouth in any mythical "big four" would solve the question, even if it were really being considered in any place except publicity and newspaper offices.