THE SPORTING SCENE
Assorted Tidbits--The Advance of Women, Olivar, Insurance and Yale, New Policies
The female sex has gained another victory in its fight to achieve equal partnership in the human race. A recent Associated Press bulletin advises us that the Southeastern Conference, one of the top athletic groups in collegiate competition, has decided to allow girls to participate in all intercollegiate sports. The ruling may have far-reaching effects.
While we are not opposed to the general philosophy of female emancipation, this new development is disturbing. As students in today's Gov 124 exam know, women probably should be entitled to equality before the law, voting privileges, special employment protection, and independent income, but complete lack of discrimination between the sexes in athletics seems to go too far. The Greeks, who were extremely wise in many respects, were quite rigid on this point. Any woman who even watched the Olympic Games was automatically executed. When the Romans reversed that edict, women apparently became great sports fans and were fond of spectacles such as gladiator fights and chariot races. The illusion of a tender sex has been completely shattered in modern times by the blossoming of female athletes in numerous sports. But up to this time, with the minor exceptions of mixed doubles in tennis and tiddlywinks, women have generally been restricted to competing against each other. There is great wisdom in such a policy.
It is hard to say just what will happen when the new SEC rule takes effect. Current speculations are that girls will probably participate on swimming, tennis, and golf teams, with perhaps a few trying track and field in mixed competition. These estimates, however, seem conservative. The schools of the conference have a combined student body of well over 100,000, and it seems more than likely that at least one girl will be zany enough to go out for football or basketball. There is nothing in the rules to stop them; the major difficulty might be arranging separate (but equal) locker room facilities.
Tough Girls Required
The SEC is reputedly the toughest football conference in the country, and it annually provides about half the teams for the major bowl games. A girl's chances of making these pro-like squads are slim, but if one should, we might witness some interesting new approaches. Girls could be used as decoys with devastating effectiveness. The option play and the belly series might take on completely different meanings., and uniforms would have to be re-designed. The range of possibilities stuns the imagination.
We have yet to hear of any move in the Ivy League to follow the SEC's leadership, but in view of the immense gains of creeping mergerism between Harvard and Radcliffe in the past two decades there is reason for concern. Radcliffe contains numerous athletic enthusiasts. Some girls, it is true, restrict their activities to pasting football programs all over their walls, but others are eager participants. Co-ed volleyball is gaining in popularity, and this year the 'Cliffe produced a hockey team. Its record against even such mediocre competition as the Lampoon was dismal, but we suspect that as the girls gain experience they will improve. Mixed softball is now an established tradition in the Quad.
One objection to Radcliffe participation on Harvard teams, of course, is the legal separation of the colleges. This, unfortunately, is a formal distinction that may disappear in the not-too-distant future. The distressing but undeniable fact is that the Ivy League is rapidly becoming coeducational. Cornell has admitted women students for a long time, and Yale has announced intentions to do so shortly. The relations between Brown and Pembroke and Columbia and Barnard are extremely cozy. The thought is appalling, but when we come back to see the Harvard-Yale game in 1984 we may find green book bags and cosmetic tables in the locker rooms, and a woman calling the signals for the Crimson.
Olivar and Insurance
We reported last October that Jordan Olivar had coached his last team at Yale, and stories from New Haven Monday confirmed our information. Faced with the option of leaving his lucrative California insurance business or resigning his coaching job, Olivar chose to devote himself to money making.
Despite the fact that Olivar was one of the most successful football mentors in Eli history, persistent rumors of alumni disenchantment have circulated for the past two years. While the Bulldogs were compiling impressive records, no one, as Olivar pointed out Monday, seriously questioned his winter-time insurance work. But with the collapse of Yale supremacy following the unbeaten season in 1960, there have been charges that Olivar's part-time dedication to New Haven's grid fortunes has materially contributed to the lack-luster quality of Eli teams. The last two losses to Harvard caused considerable pressure to be put on Oliver to devote all his time to football.
Some critics merely said Olivar was unable to keep in close enough contact with the development of the squad and that this had created numerous morale difficulties. At the close of the 1961 season Olivar himself acknowledged that considerable dissension existed on the squad, but attributed it to the disappointing season.
The main objection to Olivar's insurance business, however, was that it seriously interfered with his recruiting (or persuasion) duties. When the playing season ends, the recruiting season commences, even in the Ivy League. The recruiting season is often more hectic and frantic than the fall months devoted exclusively to football. Olivar's assistants were required to handle recruiting when the chief was in California, and there was a feeling at Yale that they couldn't do a complete job of selling high schoolers on the benefits of New Haven without the head coach.
Olivar was charged, therefore, with failing to win--more precisely, with failing to do all he could to produce a winning team. John Stiegman was released by Penn because he produced losers. These two actions, combined with the announced intentions of Brown, Dartmouth, and possibly others to intensify recruiting efforts, point towards an increased concern for better football in the League. There is growing reason to believe that the Ivies are deviating from their stated principles of intercollegiate athletics, which frown on heavy athletic emphasis. Hopefully, the trend is not permanent.
Appointment Due in Month
Harvard's position on the future of Ivy standards should become clearer in a month or two, with the appointment of a new athletic director to replace Thomas Bolles. Bolles, who was instrumental in forming the modern Ivy League, has long been a voice of moderation in athletic circles. Informed sources report that his successor will come from outside the University, and may bring with him a whole new policy. A new man certainly would be in position to change the thinking of the HDA, as well as some of its personnel. So far there have been no reliable indications about the selection committee's views of policy, although one source reports that some de-emphasis may be in order.
Some changes in administrative procedure may accompany the appointment of a new director. One plan, which has much in its favor, is increased power for the Faculty Committee on Athletic Sports. A more influential voice for the Faculty in athletic affairs might be a wise precaution, as well as a means for insuring that the department's actions are compatible with academic policy.