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This afternoon the Harvard Athletic Association will hold its first Winter Meeting of the year. There is a standing rule of the Association that no student of the University, unless a member of the H. A. A., shall be allowed at its meetings. When the H. A. A. first made this rule, it was the immediate object of increasing the membership of the H. A. A. and ultimately of advancing the whole system of athletics at Harvard. That the Association has succeeded in its object to a high degree is shown by Harvard's signal success in track and field athletics.
This one rule, however, regarding admittance to its meetings, seems to us to pervert the avowed purposes of the H. A. A. The Association desires to increase the number of students who take an interest and part in manly sports. Yet this rule plainly restricts such an increase. Some students cannot afford, even though it admits them to all the games in their course, to pay the five dollars for membership. But the principle in the matter is one of forcing-forcing, we say, men who have a sincere interest in athletics to take this step.
We understand that the question which the H. A. A. Management have to face is a hard one. They say that they must look at it practically. They say that the only way for the H. A. A. to carry on its athletics successfully is to have firm financial basis; and that the only way to get this is to force members to join the Association. Whether or not this is the only way to get sufficient funds remains to be seen; but the one principle at stake-which, in this instance, the H. A. A. has seemed to abandon-is the ultimate broadening of our college athletics. This object the rule in question seems, to us, closely to restrict. The college may possibly think otherwise. If they deem it emphatically good, then let the H. A. A. strictly enforce it; if they think it bad and unworthy of the H. A. A., as we are forced to believe it, then let the H. A. A. kill it.
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