When the 480 odd dilettanie football players from the Yale Colleges end the Harvard Houses walked off the fields after yesterday's games, another high point had been reached for the best two intramural athletic systems in the nation.
Harvard and Yale spend as much time and care on their intramural systems as many colleges do on their intercollegiate programs. Transporting eight football teams the distance from Cambridge to New Haven and playing eight football games in one afternoon would cause nervous and financial breakdowns in most American institutions where intra-mural sports are usually restricted to desultory touch football and basketball contests between fraternities or clubs.
But Adolph W. Samborski '25, director of Intramural Athletics at Harvard, and William H. Neale, his counterpart at Yale, take this as part of their regular fall programs. They are used to acting on the grand scale required by the House and College intra-murals.
The fact that Yale has ten upperclass living units as opposed to Harvard's eight--seven Houses and the Dudley Computer's Center--makes the intra program at New Haven slightly more expensive. The whole plan, including freshman dormitory sports, costs the Y.A.A. $25,000. Samborski says the inter-House program here costs $18,000, with the freshmen taking a couple hundred more.
Furthermore, each participant in any sport at Harvard is required to buy a $20 participation ticket, something unheard of down where Yalies live. Carroll Getchell, business manager of the H.A.A. says the the $20 fees "take up a large part of the load" in paying for the expensive set-up. Yale does not pay any of its coaches, while Harvard gives its football coaches $100 per season.
The sports in which the two colleges have intra-mural competition in are mostly the same except that Yale Colleges play soccer in the fall because that game became popular in New Haven during the war. There are approximately 20 men from each College on a soccer squad. Lack of playing fields prevents Harvard from having intra-mural booters.
Yale tends toward round-robin tournements, and has them in every sport except crew, where a system much like the Crimson's of placing boats in divisions is used. Samborski employs one large tournement or meet in wrestling, boxing, fencing, track, and cross-country. Yale has a regular inter-College round-robin schedule in the first two, and does not have competition in the others.
All in all, the Colleges are pitted against one another in 15 sports, while the Houses meet in one more. Volley ball is an exclusive at Cambridge, while only the Blue competes in handball. The Harvard champions meet the first-place Yale teams in touch football, basketball, hockey, squash, swimming, baseball, golf, rowing, and tennis.
The method of matching the Houses and College tackle squads is a little more complicated, and leaves three Colleges up the creek. This results from the fact that, except for the champions, a House team plays its corresponding "sister College." And since there are seven Houses and ten Colleges, three of the latter--Branford, Silliman, and Trumbull--do not get to play Harvard regularly Neale says, "They don't like it, but there is nothing we can do."
Hockey is one sport where it pays to go to Yale. Practice sessions for Houses teams are from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. each morning because of the scarcity of available ice-space. This year, however, Harvard games will be played in the afternoon. In New Haven the University rents the Arena from 3 to 6:15 p.m. and the College teams play and practice in the last 15 minutes of each day.
Popularity of the various sports is about the same at both schools, with football, basketball, baseball and crew getting top attention. Any number of men can be on a House football squad but Yale limits its teams to 30.
One of the best indications that an intramural program is well-run is the advancement of many men from an intra-squad to the varsity team. This happens regularly at both schools, almost always in sports that have small varsity squads. Occasionally a football player will move up. Two members of last year's Blue varsity moved up from freshman intramural football competition--defensive fullback Middleton de Camp and tackle Edward Emerson.
Rah, Rah and All That
This emphasizes the fact that Yale has a more extensive program for freshmen. First year men can compete in more sports than their Harvard counterparts, and can have more league rivalry. Fewer dormitory units make this possible by consolidating interest and money.
Forfeits, the horror of any intramural plan, are rare at both schools, but almost an oddity at Yale. The forfeit of a tackle football game, such as occurred this year between Eliot and Dudley, would be unthinkable at Yale. Nevertheless, in the 420 individual squash matches played in the course of last year's House league competition, only 20 were forfeited.
Pictures in the varsity football programs and gifts for members of championship teams are the reward of College athletes. This year's Dartmouth-Yale program ran squad pictures of every College squad, as well as a plan to the inter Collegiate program by the undergraduate athletic secretaries from each College.
The student newspapers give just about the same proportion of space to intramural sports. Incidentally, Harvard members of championship teams can get gold charms also, but only if they or the House pays for them. The Y.A.A. gives them away (if the Yale team beats the Harvard one the score is engraved on the charm; if not it is left blank.)
These facts support the claim that Harvard men, although they get the same facilities and program as Yale are slightly more apathetic about using them