ALARMING rumors have of late been circulating among us, in regard to certain proposed encroachments on the privileges of the students in Jarvis Field. The old shanty, it was reported, and the seats, were to be removed, the land to be graded even with the road, and restrictions to be placed on ball-playing and the other athletic games, of a nature to seriously cripple the interests of these sports. As usual, these reports have greatly exaggerated the facts, and we are glad to be able to present the true state of the case as gathered from official sources.
It appears that the value of land for building purposes in the neighborhood of the field has been depreciated in value by the unsightly appearance of the grounds. This depreciation affects not only the residents, but indirectly also the interests of the Memorial Hall Association. In view of this the Overseers have passed a resolution to tear down the wooden building and the seats, grade the land, and fence in the whole field. No objection will then be made to the erection of seats, if they are neatly constructed, or even to a suitable building, if thought desirable. It is reasonable to hope, although we are not authorized to say so, that the Overseers will not allow the whole expense of the new building and seats to be borne by the students. If this hope is realized, we surely shall not lose by the contemplated improvements. On the other hand, we shall gain an attractive-looking field, and a fence to shut out the insidious "muckers," which will save the services of numerous policemen at ball matches.
The next feature of the case is likely to meet with the disapprobation of students, but certainly can be supported by arguments enough to remove all charge of any arbitrary dealing. That no gate-money shall be taken on College grounds may seem to some an unreasonable rule, which will deprive the Base-Ball Club of a much-needed revenue. The President is of opinion that the support of College clubs of any kind by charges of this nature puts them and the University in a false light before the public. By receiving pay, they put themselves in the position of professionals. This applies to Pierian and Glee Club concerts as well as to the ball Nine. These clubs should be supported in the same manner as the crew, by subscriptions. This is the reasoning. However much we may differ from these conclusions, the argument is certainly one which commends itself to our attention.
It must not be supposed that any regulations have been made about the Glee Club and Pierian concerts, for such is not the case. For our own part, we should be inclined to doubt whether the argument, even if sound in regard to ball-playing, could be fairly applied to such societies. They certainly could not survive through any other means, and their existence is a pleasure to many friends outside the College, and a good influence in it.
To the Nine the loss of gate-money will be a considerable one, but their expenses are comparatively light, and can be borne by subscription. The more important loss, of course, is that of practice with professional clubs, who would not come without a consideration. It cannot be denied that this is of the greatest value to our Nine in their games with Yale and Princeton, who are in the habit of practising constantly with professionals, and whose successes of last summer are largely due to this fact. The Boston grounds could occasionally be had, but this resort would be unreliable and inconvenient. The President is opposed to our playing professional games, on the ground that by so doing we put ourselves on a level with men with whom we would not care to associate. For a long time professional trainers were considered indispensable to the crew, but they have been superseded, and with good results. Why cannot the same thing be done in base-ball matters? It must be borne in mind that the evil effects, if any, of this custom would not affect us so nearly as the reputation of the College in the country at large.
This is the view taken by many who have the best interests of the University at heart. It will not do to sneer and call them over-nice. The question should be treated squarely, with a determination to give due weight to whatever can be said against our present practice. If the colleges with whom match games are played, such as Yale and Princeton, could be induced to give up professional playing, we could give up this practice, and still play them on an even footing. We should then lose nothing, and something might be gained in the direction of gentlemanly games. We have endeavored to put this matter before our readers, touching upon the arguments pro and con, in a way to gain it a fair hearing, and place the action of the Overseers in its proper light. These gentlemen are at all times ready to receive communications from the students. The interests of both are in reality identical, and we are confident that a full understanding is all that is needed to make this evident.