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To the Editors of the Crimson:
In today's issue Mr. G. B. Pierce '93 challenges "Mr. Thayer or any other man to state a specific case where favoritism (in choosing members of athletic teams) was shown." As I have never made such a charge, I leave it to the 'other man' to find specific case. What I have said is that the impression has prevailed that our athletic teams have not been representative, and I have cited the existence of this impression as an indication of the lack of unanimity in times past. It makes no difference whether there were actual grounds for this idea, or not; the chief fact is that it has existed. Personally, I do not believe that even in the worst days of Harvard athletics, before Mr. Pierce came to college, captains consciously allowed themselves to be influenced by favoritism, although the result of their selection may have justified a contrary surmise: but what is evident to any one who has watched Harvard athletics for twenty years is that the enormous recent growth of the University makes it hard for any captain or coach to find out the best material. Only the other day, one of the best football men who ever played for Harvard said to me, "Unless a fellow comes from Boston or one of the big schools in this neighborhood, he stands a small chance of getting on a team; not because there is any favoritism, but because it takes a long time for him to get known." This is the opinion of an expert in athletics during his four years in college and since,- and it would be easy to corroborate it by that of many others. If Mr. Pierce has never, until recently, been aware that this impression exists, his acquaintance must have been restricted within narrow lines. As editor of the Graduates' Magazine I have had communications on the subject from graduates in distant parts of the country,- only last week an '88 man wrote from Western Pennsylvania; I have heard it discussed as a matter of course by students; I have had the complaint made privately by classmates from New York and elsemhere. If Mr. Pierce will turn to the opinions of leading oarsmen in the Graduates' Magazine for September, 1894 (Vol. III, pp. 30-36), and to Mr. Conant's article, "Are our Athletic Teams Representative?" (Vol. III, p. 330-35) he will see that this impression of favoritism did not originate with us the other day. Indeed, the letter following his own in the CRIMSON, and signed "'95," shows that it is very current. Those of us who wish to see the University really united, so that Harvard spirit-which is among other things democratic-may permeate into even department, class and clique, believe that the best way to promote unamity is to help Harvard men to know each other. When this is accomplished, there will be no more rumors about the baleful influence of one set or another.
WM. R. THAYER '81.
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