Curry Saga: 'No Comment' Not Enough

Tom Columns

Football star Jim Curry continues to exist as a non-athletic and possibly a non-academic entity at this university right now, and aside from a few thousand self-appointed experts (who have friends who know people who are close to distant relatives of the aforementioned party), no one with official stature is at liberty to discuss the exact details of the mess Curry's in.

"I can tell you that he did not play last week," Director of Athletics Robert B. Watson '37 offered yesterday. "And I am allowed to tell you that it had nothing to do with athletics or the Athletic Department."

Those lines come as no surprise to anyone in this area capable of reading newsprint, for they have been hashed and rehashed in local papers over the past few days with the same net result: there is no official explanation for an apparently serious event.

The overriding impression here is that Harvard's athletic department personnel, Watson and coach Joe Restic included (not to mention an entire football team) have been left holding the bag for an extremely embarrassing situation. Curry's indiscretions, whatever they may have been, and now those of officials who are telling everybody to clam up until the storm blows over have left Harvard athletics in an unwanted and unhappy predicament.

When asked whether he was sick of answering questions about Curry and his problem, Restic replied "I'm sick for him, and about the whole situation." Restic's sentiments echo those of a lot of people who are just sorry that the senior got himself into this spot, or that Harvard got him into it. Or a combination of the two.

Anyhow, it's there. It exists, and it demands some explanation. Those concerned with Curry deserve some sort of comment on what happened, when, how, and why. More important, those interested in Harvard football should be made aware of the ramifications. Will he play again? Does Harvard stand to forfeit a game, or a season? Is he an active student at this university? If not, does he have a year of eligibility left should he return to school?

A plausible question to ask at this time is "What business is it of the Harvard student body to know the details?"

The answer is a complex one, with ample ammunition on either side. In a sense, it is Curry's business alone. If it weren't for his football status, no one but a few friends would be conscious of or care about the whole thing. On the other hand, it is his football status that places him under some obligation, however small, to the Harvard crowd that wants to know what's going on.

In quasi-legal terms, the question involves the fact that the student has placed himself in the public eye by playing football. While reaping the spoils of notoriety and stardom on the one hand, he must be prepared to suffer the pains of public scrutiny for wrongdoing on the other. If Curry engaged in some academic hanky-panky, it was not without the knowledge of serious consequences for his career as a football player as well as that of student.

We are left with a reasonable demand on the part of Harvard football fans and students to know what has already happened and what will transpire between Curry and Harvard in the future. Granted, there are considerations that information disclosed at this point may jeopardize future legal proceedings for either party. Yet that alone does not condone keeping everybody completely in the dark about the situation.

There is little doubt that, in private, most insiders admit that Curry will not be rejoining the team this year or ever again, for that matter. If that be the case, then let's have some official confirmation. At least, some acknowledgment that it might happen. Curry's athletic status should be clearly defined in such a manner as to dispel the numerous rumors floating around the school. Though the storm will eventually blow over, that does not vindicate the current silence.

Jim Curry was a football player whose potential career was followed and admired by untold numbers of people in the East. For that reason alone, there should be some explanation as to past occurrences and future developments. The silence which surrounds his departure from the Harvard football team has served only to increase the volume of rumors and suspicions which would normally accompany such a case.