President Ford's skiing endeavors had produced no bone-breaking, side-splitting anecdotes and the excitement of the Tidal Basin affair had pretty well ebbed, so when the National Collegiate Athletic Association descended on Washington recently for its annual convention the conversation of the Capital turned to jock talk.
In addition to the festivities, the NCAA rejected two pending pieces of legislation that would have placed Harvard's relationship with the NCAA "in a very difficult position," said Baaron Pittenger, associate director of Athletics.
Robert Watson, director of Athletics, was in Egypt with the Crimson's crew team and unable to attend the convention, so Pittenger was Harvard's representative.
Foreign Student Limit
Pittenger explained the intent of the proposals yesterday. One proposal, sponsored by the NCAA council, would have limited the number of foreign students participating in certain sports including hockey, soccer, skiing, and track.
The other proposal dealt with a change in the number and amount of financial aid scholarships athletes may receive.
This second proposal was twofold. The number of students on financial aid would have been extended to cover the entire number of athletes involved in intercollegiate football and basketball rather than the number participating on the varsity level, which is presently the case. The motion would have also set a monetary limit on the financial aid received by individuals in each sport.
Pittenger explained Harvard's opposition to the proposals. "One of Harvard's fundamental objectives with regard to athletics is to allow extensive participation on an intercollegiate level. Both of these proposals are in conflict with that objective," he said.
A disassociation with the NCAA would prohibit all Harvard students from competing in NCAA sponsored events. These include the national playoffs in hockey and baseball--events in which Harvard has been very successful in recent years. Such a deficiency in the Athletic program is something Watson wants to avoid.
"Harvard allows its students to excel in a variety of areas and it would be a shame if our athletes could not compete on a national level," Watson said yesterday.
Watson would not commit himself on what Harvard would have done had the proposals passed. He said he feels the NCAA wants to accomodate the Ivies, but had such proposals passed, "Harvard would have to follow the decision of the Ivy League presidents. I am sure that they would be awfully careful about compromising the league's principles and philosophy."
A pilot program establishing women's national championships also met resistance at the NCAA convention. The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women wanted no such patronage from the NCAA since it was already conducting championships in 11 sports.
"Neither the NCAA nor the AIAW control the sports in which Radcliffe competes on any national level," Watson said. "Crew, squash and sailing, for instance, are all individually governed."
How long Harvard can maintain its current relationship with the NCAA remains to be seen but Watson said, "I don't think a break with the NCAA is inevitable but I just don't know."