(This is a copy of a letter sent to President Pusey and reprinted here at the writer's request.)
Dear President Pusey:
In one whom I have long regarded as a scholar and man of reason, it strikes me that you neither give, nor cause to be given, rational or open answers to those who ask, "Why not lease the Stadium to the Boston Patriots Football Club?"
While there may, in fact, be entirely valid and cogent reasons for Harvard's refusal to consider some such working agreement with the Boston Patriots Football organization, those reasons have not been made clear, and until they are made so and may be judged to prevail, a good number of Harvard's sons (including myself), and an even greater number of Bostonians-at-Large, wonder why such an arrangement would not be to the benefit of the City the Patriots, and of Harvard.
The almost-weekly appeals from Harvard to me (and to all Alumni) for financial support would suggest that the University can ill-afford to look gift-horses in the mouth, without great potential danger. And as an alumnus coming up for his 25th Reunion, I am reluctant to make the kind of contribution I am asked to give until I am convinced that the University is doing all that it can to make the best of all its resources, of which one of the most obvious appears to be the Stadium.
I have talked with other alumni and friends of Harvard, some of whom (particularly the lawyers), suggest, but do not describe, all kinds of obscure and "dangerous" entanglements. There is a chauvinistic and frankly-snobbish reaction to the notion of any part of Harvard being contaminated by "Professional Sports," with the heavy suggestion that, once this ogre gets his foot in the door. Las Vegas-in-Cambridge is only a step away.
But I ask in return, are there not sufficient legal and business talents at Harvard's command to negotiate an agreement that could serve both Harvard's and the City's needs without undue risk? I cannot believe that the University is so devoid of competence.
What do you have to Fear? And-if you fear it-are there not sufficient skills to provide the necessary safeguards? Have Boston College and its athletes been shown to have been subverted?
Please, Mr. Pusey (and/or any of the Corporation that may stand ready), give us some plain answers to these questions. I trust that the honest answers will not be embarrassing to the University, but even if they are, they could hardly be more so than Harvard's present position, which already invites serious questions which will not be put to rest by continuance of what might be called a "tactical silence."
On the face of it, the Stadium is an utter economic waste of resources, being in profitable and honest use only five to six days a year for football (exclusive of some Thanksgiving Day use by schoolboy football), a few track-meets; and, of course, nowadays, "ad hoe" use for participatory democracy, and other quasipolitical activity. And, Oh, yes-for lease to Miss Joan Baez (I presume and indeed hope that it was, leased, and that some money went to Harvard), for purposes were surely commercial in the end.
As a Freshman, in '41-'42. I used the under-stands area on rainy days to run lacrosse attack patterns with my coach and a few teammates, I suppose a few amateur athletes may use it thus today-but still and all, we could have used the Cage, and the Stadium leaked badly, even then; I am sure it needs even more repair now.
The Boston Patriots are an important part of the City's identity and heart in this area, and-as I again assume that Harvard has the available legal, athletic, and business talent to prevent its being gulled by the professionals (including their football organization). I cannot set anything other than mutual benefit to Harvard, the Patriots, and the City from an agreement to allow the Patriots' use of Harvard Stadium, if in return they offer to provide significant services in rehabilitation, rent, maintenance, and in building new parking and press facilities.
In short, with some imagination and expertise and some tough bargaining, Harvard could turn the Stadium into a real asset for itself, and perform a great service to the Patriots and to Metropolitan Boston.
Please do not tell me only that "it is not in the University's best interests." You must tell me-and a lot of other people, why, if, as it appears that is your belief. If you will not or can't, the entire question remains, and will remain open, and cannot reflect well upon either yours or the University's integrity and good faith.
I genuinely love both Harvard and Boston-and their sports, both amateur and professional, that seem to me to be part of a peoples' heart: that unite them often-or that can reduce their enmities to manageable dimensions, when enmities arise.
It bothers me when I have no answer to friends' complaints that, "Harvard is just too stuffy to have anything to do with professional sports" and as I have said, I feel little or no compulsion to give money to Harvard unless it can answer-as a community of thoughtful man should above all others be able to do-these questions with reason, clarity, and persuasiveness.
So far, it looks and sounds like the kind of aloof chauvinism that, from this time on, will hurt Harvard more than it can possibly help it.