Penn's Athletic System Shaken as Feud Grows
'College May Bolt Ivy' Is Latest Rumor in U. of P. Squabble
Pennsylvania may be considering a plan to leave the Ivy Group and form an association with stronger college football teams, Boston Traveler Sports Editor Arthur J. Siegel suggested yesterday.
At the same time, Pennsylvania President William DuBarry revealed that a full-scale investigation of the college athletic policies is in progress.
No confirmation for Siegel's story could be obtained yesterday from the Penn Athletic Association or Administration. Reliable sources within the Ivy group, however, said such a plan was completely unknown to them and that Penn's attitude so far has been in favor of more, not less Ivy League scheduling.
Siegel would not comment on the sources of his story. It is rumored, however, that representatives of Penn, Duke, Vanderbilt, Pitt and several other colleges attended a recent meeting in Washington to discuss the subject, although no official announcement has been made.
Several previous years have seen tentative, unpublicized proposals similar to this, if true. Most involved television; spurred by the lucrative possibilities of sale of TV rights, major colleges were said to have discussed forming a loose association which would guarantee "big" games every week. This would involve flouting the NCAA's limited television rule, but Penn Athletic Director Fran Murray has in the past opposed that system.
The possibility of Penn's leaving the Ivy League altogether is the latest in a series of headline events which started March 6. At that time, Penn football captain George Bosseler and manager John Dern released a letter demanding either the easing of Penn's 1953 schedule, or the return of spring practice. Penn next year plays one Ivy rival--Cornell--and seven other major teams which do have spring drills.
The resulting fracas led to a "harmony dinner" for coaches, officials, trustees, and players, called Monday evening by acting president William DuBarry. DuBarry later stated that Penn's athletes were "brave, courageous . . . willing to meet anyone."
Both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily Pennsylvanian immediately charged that players had been brought into line by "threats and innuendo"--that they would be branded "cowards" if they persisted in their attitude.
Yesterday, DuBarry announced that, prompted by the players' letter, he had instituted a "searching study" of the University's athletic policies. Meanwhile, it had been learned that Murray's dinner-table speech had implicitly attacked football coach "George" Munger, stating that "older coaches" had been exerting "improper influence on the handling of matters" pertaining to his department.
Both Murray and Munger are now "unavailable for comment," the Daily Pennsylvanian said last night, and the Philadelphia Press claims one or the other will soon be forced to leave his position in order to end the feud.
Under the Ivy Group agreement, each team must play every other once each five years; a recent presidential directive reportedly suggested a minimum of five games per year. For Penn to play round-robins with most other Ivy teams, however, would involve its dropping such long-established rivals as Army or Navy.
However, a spokesman at the Daily Princetonian said last night that the attitude of Pennsylvania trustees, faculty and undergraduates was favorable to more participation in the league.
The newspaper, in its editorials, has charged that Penn's scheduling is inconsistent--that Penn should either participate fully in the Ivy League, or else withdraw, to schedule big-time teams and allow spring practice.
The Pennsylvanian did not state which position it favored