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THE REFEREE.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

We present below the following extract from an editorial in the Princetonian. It voices the opinions which a great many persons now hold in regard to the importance of the position of referee in a Rugby foot-ball game : "To those who have watched the development of the game in recent years, the inefficiency of the most stringent regulations governing the conduct of the players would have occasioned no surprise. The Harvard game, in New York, was only a practical illustration of the fact that rules will not make a player a gentleman, if he naturally inclines toward ruffianism. The fact of it is, there should be no necessity for rules against intentional unfairness and brutality in a game where the contestants are the representatives of America's three leading universities. When one stops to think of it, does it not seem a burning shame that fellows who come from the most refined class of people in the country must needs have rules, warnings, etc., before they can play a manly and honorable game ? But experience has shown the futility of relying on this spirit of manliness which is supposed to characterize the American youth. In a team selected purely for physical merit, there are sure to be one or two men who are insensible to the finer instincts which govern a gentleman's conduct. And the example set by them is only too apt to be followed, in the excitement of a hot game, by others who would, if left to themselves, be incapable of such behavior. No, there must be some rules of conduct, and the question is, what rules can we make to secure the desired end, namely, a gentlemanly game. The recent game in New York has shown how inadequate are the amendments suggested by the Harvard committee, and a necessity for changes more radical than these is now evident. In our opinion, the whole solution of the difficulty consists in obtaining a referee who will have the courage and the inclination to exert all the powers of his office to bring about fair and manly play. Abolish all rules such as rules 28 and 38, which prohibit intentional striking with fists, throttling, tripping, etc. In their place have a rule giving the referee carte blanche to send any player from the field whose conduct in his opinion, is unbecoming a gentleman.

If the duties and powers of his office were distinctly understood and mutually agreed upon, we think a referee could be found who could and would secure a gentlemanly game. With such a referee it would be unwise, in our opinion, not to allow a substitute to take the place of a dismissed player. It would be better to make it an individual matter than to have the team suffer for the rowdyism of one player. For under a new code of this sort, no gentleman could be betrayed into conduct unworthy his name. We would not, however, favor an increased severity in the punishment for off-side play. In our judgment, a player should be warned three times before he can be disqualified for off-side play. There is such a thing in a game of foot-ball as legitimate deception, such as is required to play an off-side game, and in doing so, to evade the scrutiny of watchful judges, who are on the lookout for opportunities to have the opponents of their respective sides warned by the referee.

While it is necessary that the rules, in defining the proper range of a player during a scrimmage, should prohibit off-side play, yet the latter has become an important and interesting point in the science of foot-ball, so much so, indeed, that lovers of the sport would not like to see it rendered impossible by doing away with the warning. Besides, the rules should not place off-side play on a par with such cowardly and unmanly offenses as tripping, throttling, etc., by prescribing the same punishment for both. Under the present code the penalties in some instances are not commensurate with the offenses. Our idea is to completely overhaul and readjust the penal code of the game so that degrees in offenses will be recognized. For anything which savors of cowardice or brutality, and which at times endangers life or limb, let the rules give the referee discretionary power to disqualify a player without warning, But for breaches of the rules, such as off-side play, which imply no cowardice and involve no brutality or injury to another player, let the penalty be disqualification after an appropriate number of warnings."

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