Claiming that the seven minor sports, which President Conant plans to abolish in his endowment policy for the H. A. A., have an aggregate deficit of less than either crew, baseball, or hockey, four prominent Freshmen will circulate a petition toay throughout the College asking that a seven dollar assessment be levied on each student so that these minor sports may be maintained at their present level.
The four men, C. Russell Allen, president of the Class, William T. Glendinning, heavyweight wrestling champion, John P. Kennedy, Jr. a member of the 1938 football team and Smoker Committee, and Arthur Oakes, captain of football, claim that 20 per cent of the students, not 4 per cent as stated by President Conant, compete for minor sport teams, with 4 per cent being directly on the teams.
The petition also states that the number of men competing on the seven minor sport teams, fencing, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, and boxing, is larger than that participating in crew, baseball, and hockey.
The Freshmen are strongly in favor of President Conant's proposal to endow Harvard athletics, but they feel that the quality of the minor sports involved will decline directly if participants have to buy their own equipment and that the coaching staff will be ineffective.
The petition reads:
"TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE BOARDS OF HARVARD COLLEGE:
Feeling that the recent change in athletic policy at Harvard is both unnecessary and unfair, we, the undersigned, wish to make public the following resolutions:
"We are strongly in favor of President Conant's proposal to endow Harvard athletics.
"We feel that the seven minor sports involved in the new change will suffer greatly as the result of the alteration in personnel, and as a result of the curtailed finances. In view of the small salary coaches for our teams will receive in future, it will be impossible to secure men as good as those of the present staff.
"Men unable to purchase their own equipment in these sports will be denied participation, and as a result interest and the number of competitors will decrease.
"The new system is unfair to the incoming freshman class ('39), which, being unorganized, will have difficulty enough realizing what advantages the various sports offer, without the added problem of buying their own equipment. With such an informal aspect to their sports, the ultimate result can only be the abandonment of the sports involved, or at best, participation by a small minority.
"The number of men competing in these seven sports at the present time is larger than that participating in crew, baseball, or hockey, yet in each of these sports the deficit is larger than in fencing, cross-country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, and boxing combined. The mere facts that the sports which are being continued are major sports is no reason why the minor sports should suffer for a deficit which the major sports have incurred as well. The number of men competing in the three major sports mentioned (competing in intercollegiate competition) is less than 2 per cent of the students in college, and less than one half the number of those participating in intercollegiate competition in the seven minor sports.
The assessment of each student to the sum of seven dollars would more than cover the deficit in these sports and would eliminate the necessity for any changes in athletic policy other than the proposed endowment fund. Under such a plan the H.A.A. could retain its present staff of coaches and students could receive instruction, equipment, and coaching which are worthy of Harvard College.