Ivy athletic policy controversies--usually criticiams of the football situation crop up about as regularly as clouds in Cambridge.
Last week the Ivy League's nine-year-old policy of no spring football practice was put on trial again, as the result of a poll conducted by the Yale Daily News. Sixty-two Yale football players were asked if they would like spring practice.
Of the 62 polled, 55 said that they would favor organized spring drills, the accepted policy in every major college football conference in the country. Several sports news commentators in the East grabbed the results of the poll, and from this point of departure reminded the Ivy League Policy Committee that considerable disagreement with the present ruling on spring practice does exist.
Spring practice in the Ivy League was abolished in 1952 upon the recommendation of A. Whitney Griswold, President of Yale, who was faced with a formal protest from the football players that year. According to the players, coach Herman Hickman was demanding too much from them with his stringent spring football practices, and was depriving them of freedom to pursue off-season academic and extra-curricular interests.
Most observers agree that the initial act of abolishing spring practice in 1952, later entered in the formal Ivy League code of 1954, was more a move to provide student freedom than to check professionalism and overemphasis of football. The abolition later entered the realm of "football sanity," which today is the area from which the Ivy Policy Committee, composed of the eight presidents, removes itself only to be accused of defeating its own purpose by inspiring football professionalism.
The reinstatement of spring practice, which is now gaining momentum from undeniably strong student and public opinion, will probably receive more consideration than it has in the past from the committee. A compromise agreement--perhaps practice for non-lettermen or freshmen--is often considered the first step which the committee might take.
Crimson varsity coach John Yovicsin said yesterday that a mere reminder of the Ivy coaches' unanimous appeals to the Policy Committee in 1958 and in 1959 for spring practices serves as a sufficient statement of the attitude of the Ivy coaches on the matter.
Many players at Harvard who were questioned at random would welcome spring practice.