AN OPEN LETTER TO THE STUDENT COUNCIL
Tonight when you meet to discuss the report of your committee on the recognition of swimming as a major sport, you will have before you the choice of three alternatives. Swimming can be made a major sport with no qualifications, as it is today at Michigan; it can be made a major sport with qualifications, as it is today at Yale; or it can be left as a minor sport, as it is in the remaining Ivy League colleges.
Today swimming at Harvard is one of the four most popular winter sports. Hockey, basketball and track are all in the major qualification. Interest in a sport shown by its participants and by its followers is the criterion by which it is classed as major or minor, and because of the number of people who use the pool and the number who watch the meets swimming deserves to be elevated to the level of hockey, basketball and track.
But above all is the need for definite and uncompromising action, and should the Yale plan of making the sport a "major with qualifications" be proposed, it is to be hoped that you will see through the fallacies of what might seem an easy way out and soundly defeat it. Last year when Harvard gave Yale its first defeat in thirteen years, it was the seconds and thirds that swung the balance for the Crimson. But under the Yale plan, only the outstanding stars could get letters, and team spirit and morale would tend to be destroyed.
So tonight by your vote you can help Harvard lead the way for a deserved recognition of a popular sport. There are strong indications that if you support the movement, the rest of the Ivy League will follow. But all the followers of the sport join to urge you not to compromise, by placing a premium on stars and a stigma on team cooperation. If you cannot see your way clear to make it a full-fledged major, then keep it a minor.