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It has been stated that the recent action of the faculty in regard to the change of rules in foot-ball was largely due to outside pressure, and in this connection it is a significant fact that the two leading metropolitan dailies, the Times and the Tribune, have both taken a stand opposite to that taken by the faculty. We present below a passage clipped from an editorial in the former paper.
"There is some very curious reasoning in Prof. Norton's letter. What changes would the committee have made ? Must the objectionable rules, provided for the punishment of those guilty of misdemeanors, be omitted ? Would the game be played in a more satisfactory way if the code did not contain these safeguards ? And is it true generally that the enactment of laws for the punishment of crime increases the number of criminals and causes the degeneration of those for whom the laws are made ? Foot-ball is not a game for invalids, but it is greatly enjoyed by robust and vigorous young men. It cannot be expected that such young men will stand upon ceremony in the hard struggles which are a part of the game, but our college players are not ruffians and they do not become brutes while playing. We cannot change human nature, and sometimes a player loses his temper or interferes with an opponent in an improper way without intending to play unfairly. The rules serve a useful purpose, and ought to be retained, just as some of the rules in the Harvard code for the government of students should be retained. Surely the existence of college laws against misdemeanors does not cause those misdemeanors to be committed, nor does it prove that the same laws are habitually violated.
The evolution of foot-ball in America can be easily traced. Many years ago the game was played in our colleges without any established rule, and was used as a means by which freshmen could be roughly hazed. In those days there were many accidents, and in the course of time the game came, very properly, under the ban of college authority. Afterward an attempt was made to introduce the game as played in English schools, and today it is established as firmly as base-ball in many colleges, where it is played for its own sake, and is no longer used for hazing purposes. It furnishes excellent exercise and is a manly sport. We believe that the game is played by the university elevens in a manly way, and while the rules we have mentioned ought to be on the books to mark the limits of fair play and to provide punishment for any who may go beyond those limits, their existence does not in itself indicate that it is necessary to continually guard against 'the spirit of sharpers and of roughs.' "
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