The National Collegiate Athletic Association decided last night to postpone for three months its collision with the organization that controls amateur track--and with eight Ivy League colleges.
The NCAA Council, the association's policy-making body, approved last night an amendment that would punish colleges whose track teams participated in meets sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union.
But the council also agreed that this policy should not go into effect until March 1. The full NCAA, currently meeting in Chicago, is expected to approve both decisions today.
The NCAA, which feels that it, rather than the AAU, should control the scheduling of open track meets, announced last year that it did not want its member colleges to participate in AAU-sanctioned meets. But the Ivy colleges, and a few other Eastern schools, decided last December to defy the NCAA and send their track teams into indoor meets.
"We do not intend to have our athletes used as weapons in this fight," said Yale athletic director Delaney Kiphuth, announcing the decision for the Ivies at that time.
The NCAA was expected to vote at its convention this month to ban the defiant colleges from NCAA championships in any sport, from NCAA-sponsored football bowl games, and from NCAA-sponsored television appearances.
This was the effect of the amendment proposed today--but by making it effective March 1, the association took the teeth out of its decision for a year. By March the indoor track season will be over.
Harvard track coach Bill McCurdy said he was "very happy indeed" at the NCAA decision. If the association had not put off its punishment, McCurdy and his track team would have violated the ruling by entering the Knights of Columbus Games in Boston Saturday. This would have made the team ineligible for the later NCAA championships; several track-team members won points in last year's NCAA meet.
McCurdy said he though the decision to postpone might have been affected by the large bloc of Eastern colleges whose indoor season consists mostly of big, AAU-sanctioned meets.
"They don't schedule any dual meets, and while many of them are behind the NCAA, they felt that asking them to drop out of all these big meets at once was just too much." The objections of these schools, like Villanova, Manhattan, and NYU, might be cleared up by the postponement, which will permit them to schedule dual meets for next season.
No one was saying immediately what stand the Ivy League colleges might take on the dispute next winter; it doesn't seem likely that any conflict will come up before then, since the Ivies don't participate in any AAU-sponsored meets in the spring.
But since the Ivies' stand last December was based on the principle that no one should forbid their athletes to compete in meets, it seems possible that the postponement will only put off an inevitable collision between the NCAA and some of its members.