Yale's New Game
Robert Hall's unexpected departure from the Yale scene is the end of a long battle between Hall and A. Whitney Griswold. In a way, it was more Griswold fighting against himself, since Hall, during his three years as athletic director, advocated and pursued a policy outwardly condemned by Yale's president. While Griswold sat with other Ivy League officials talking about lighter schedules and a general de-emphasis, Hall remained in his office blithely placing teams like Army and Navy on the Eli schedule. It was Hall, who contracted roly-poly Herman Hickman, as Eli coach, and it was Hall who fully endorsed Herman's beating the bush for athletes. One usually does not expect a mere athletic director to run roughshod over the president of a huge university, but Hall seemed to think that Griswold ought to stick to matters of alumni, faculty, and educational policy. There was very little contact between the president's office and the athletic office. And when Hall wasn't busy trying to push Yale back into the big time he sat at the head of the N.C.A.A. television committee, trying to force the rest of the nation's universities to keep up the fiction that football is a business, not a sport.
Hall's tricky maneuvers at Yale had Harvard going around in circles. The University had decided long ago that the only sane football policy was scheduling teams which were willing to keep football secondary to education. When Hall and Yale refused to go along, it seemed that Harvard must either hit the secondary schools for football talent or drop the sport altogether.
Now it seems that Griswold has finally made his decision to join Harvard in a football policy which has for so many years been advocated by Provost Buck. Griswold's alter ego Hall, who represented the N.C.A.A. position, is gone, and the prospect of an enlightened Ivy League seems a lot brighter. Harvard's decision yesterday not to sign the N.C.A.A. television agreement is another important move toward a practical football policy. One cannot de-emphasize football, and at the same time play it for revenue. The N.C.A.A. agreement was merely a business move which kept the necessary big time football apparatus polished. Damaging to any hopes for true amateurism, it was also probably illegal under the anti-trust acts.
During the past few years, Harvard and many other schools have watched football deficits near the half million dollar a year mark. There can be no let-up in these figures, unless colleges either recruit players wholesale or stick to a policy of complete amateurism. The teams won't be as good, and fewer people will want to watch them over television stations, but the games will be hard fought between equal opponents. There is no room in this picture for either the N.C.A.A. or any other group trying to coerce colleges into the entertainment business. If Hall's resignation means that Yale joins Harvard in this policy, there is still hope for football played not for some remote public but for the participants and student spectators.