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Professor Norton made a few remarks on "college athletics" Last Saturday in the Fine Arts IV. recitation. The substance of his comments is as follows:
Athletics, it is to be regretted, have gone to extremes. Just as base ball is at present one of the principal topics of interest in the nation, so athletics fill a most important place in college life. Newspapers, whose sole object is to make money, foster this abnormal interest in athletics by giving glowing accounts of all games. The editors are even ready to have a close game of base ball or of foot ball reported, as they are well aware of the likes and dislikes of their readers. This "abnormal interest" in athletic contests brings about betting, a "sign of a low state of ideals." Betting in college is a great evil as men who cannot afford to bet are sorely tempted by the example of those who can afford it.
Professionalism has been prevalent in Cambridge for years. A number of years ago a committee of the faculty investigated athletics, and found that the members of the nine were away from Cambridge almost one half of the spring term, playing with professionals. This state of affairs caused the faculty to vote that all members of athletic teams should be bona fide students and that there should be no professional coaches.
Yale has defeated Harvard of late years but the reason is not apparent. We have more students than Yale and ought to put as good teams on the field. If our defeats are due to unscrupulousness on Yale's part, we must not complain, provided we have used the same means but not as successfully. All Harvard men naturally would like to see Harvard first in athletics, but victory must not be bought by a sacrifice of honor. Harvard students must remember that the object of this college is to fit men for the positions they will occupy in after life; they should condemn disgraceful acts in athletic contests, but they should not protest when it can be said that they too are guilty, or when their object in protesting seems equivocal.
The coming generation will see many changes. Newspapers will contain more important news than they do at present. Health is the object of ou education, a healthy mind, a healthy body, a healthy moral sentiment; and athletics should be a means to attain this end.
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