Passing the Buck
Sports at Harvard for the summer, and, in fact, for the duration, are still in the nature of an unknown, quantity. And until the Navy V-12 program gets set, they will have to stay that way, since College teams are dependent upon Navy material to fill out the rosters.
Despite all the vagueness and lack of any definite facts, however, it is possible to draw a general picture of the future of competitive athletics here. Note that the word is competitive; inter-collegiate sports are even hazier, although part of the same picture.
The story, roughly, is this. There will be an extensive program of intramural athletics. Most units already functioning have such programs already, and there will probably be no change in the athletic set-ups of these established groups. For the civilian College students, there will be more interhouse competition, along the same lines as during the spring. For the V-12ers, calisthenics, swimming, and similar Naval work will cut into the competitive sports, but Ensign Ray Adkins, former ballplayer with the New York Giants system, plans to let the men who will not need much straight body-building to spend a good part of their time in sports of their own choosin, while those less physically fit will take a more regimented program.
From here on, that picture starts losing clarity, but the outlines seem to show a growth from the intra-unit competition to inter-unit contests. A step in this direction was taken last winter when NROTC basketball teams played in the House league. V-12 teams will compete against each other, and probably against other unformed groups as well as the civilian students. Aside from a few very informal games between the WAVES and the Navy Supply School softball teams, these would be the first athletic, meetings between different service schools stationed here.
As Carroll F. Getchell acting director of the Harvard Athletic Association sees it, the idea, or ideal, would be to build up teams in a sort of pyramid. Start, for example with one company of the NROTC, and it will face the other companies. Then there might be an all NROTC team to play other groups in the V-12, as for example, the pre-Meds. It might even become a part of the House league. Then perhaps an all V-12 outfit to meet similar squads form the College, the Army Specialized Training Unit in Leverett House, and any other organization that might be interested.
After that, the next step would probably be a Varsity team which would include representatives from as many groups as regulations permit. This team, which would be on a par with Varsities of the pre-Pearl Harbor days, could have regular games with other colleges, Army camps, Navy bases, or just about anyone.
Now none of these things have progressed beyond the gleam-in-the-eye stage, and the above isn't even at attempt at a blueprint. It's simply what might happen if things work out nicely. No one has had time to do any real planning yet, because of the press of other duties, but two weeks time should see a good deal settled, or at least on that blueprint stage. At the end of his week, the V-12ers will have been classified as a result of the physical fitness test they will have taken, and that program will be rolling. Also, Getchell and the H.A.A. staff may be able to spend less time on organization details.
The H.A.A., incidentally, has had a terrific job recently. Mere figures illustrate that better than any words. Almost a quarter of a million people used the indoor Athletic Building during the fiscal year just ended, contrasted with 72,000 the previous twelvemonth. And Mr. Gatchell will be only too glad to show you the details, how many of what group uses what part of the building when, and that sort of thing. They make interesting reading.
Harvard's coaches, the ones that are left, are going to continue helping out with the uniformed students' athletic programs, in addition to their peacetime tasks. Hal Ulen and Frant Vaughn, for example, have done all the swimming instruction so far, and expect to in the future. Henry Lamar has been working with the ASTU's sports program. And so on down the line. Ensign Adkins and his four Chief Specialists will work with the College coaching staff on the V-12ers physical training.
During the month of June, the staff suffered another loss, although not directly to the armed forces, as Earl Brown, basketball coach and end coach on the gridiron, moved up to Hanover to take charge of Dartmouth's basketball and football Varsities. Dartmouth should be quite a powerhouse in the fall, with 2400 V-12 and Marine students eligible to play, since the Indians' unit includes a good number of experience gridders with a large contingent from Fordham.
Floyd Stahl, baseball mentor, simply doesn't know what sort of a team he will field this summer, but there will be a team. Several games have already been tentatively arranged, and practice is scheduled to start next week. Just who will show up depends on the Navy's policy as well as the actions of assorted draft boards.
As things stand now, the nine will be the only Varsity team this summer, although Jaake, Mikkola may get up a track team, and general statements are very unreliable things to make at this stage of the game. For example, it's safe to say that just about everyone wants to see some sort of a football team in the fall, but the limb gets pretty shaky after that.