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In his annual report to the President on athletics at the University during the season of 1918-19, Dean L. B. R. Briggs '75, of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Chairman of the Committee on the Regulation of Athletic Sports, emphasizes the unsettled condition of all sports, due to the absence of athletes in service, and of the omission of football during the fall term. Several changes in the personnel of the committee were made necessary by the exigencies of the times, but there were fewer reforms than in former years, says Dean Briggs, except such as were adopted in the way of reducing unnecessary expenses, and for the purpose of forwarding the intercollegiate policy of discouraging proselyting among preparatory school students. The most radical change, the prescription of physical exercise for Freshmen, which marked a departure from the Harvard traditions of personal liberty, was also greatly hastened by the war.
The report in full follows:
To the President of the University:
Sir.--I have the honor of presenting a report on athletic sports for the academic year 1918-19.
In the early part of the year athletics gave way to military training; nor were they at any time in the year on a normal basis though intercollegiate contests were resumed after the Students' Army Training Corps had disbanded. So many athletes were in military or naval service through all or part of the year that athletic organizations, like all other organizations, felt the instability of the times. Yet since our rivals must have felt the same instability there was no satisfactory reason for Harvard's poor record in intercollegiate athletics.
The necessities of the time brought about an unusual number of changes in the membership of the Committee on the Regulation of Athletic Sports. Members officially appointed in the course of the year were:
For the Faculty: Professor Henry A. Yeomans '00 (Chairman); Professor Roger B. Merriman '96 (Chairman, second half-year); Dr. Roger I. Lee '01; Professor Dunham Jackson '08; Professor Chester N. Greenough '98. For the Graduates: Henry Pennypacker '88, Benjamin L. Young '07, Laurence Curtis, 2d, '16, John W. Farley '98. For the Undergraduates: David B. Arnold '17, Henry H. Faxon '21, Robert E. Gross '19. Major F. W. Moore continued to act as Graduate Treasurer, through for the greater of the year unpaid.
Source of Revenue Cut Off
The chief source of income for the care of grounds and buildings, for the equipment of teams and crews, and for the conduct of sports, intercollegiate and intramural, is football. The abandonment of the customary football games for two years cut off our revenue, compelling us to pay most of such expenses which even in war time could not be avoided, with the receipts of the Yale and Princeton games in 1916. By the spring of 1919, with athletics reviving long before the means of paying for them, a deficit was inevitable. This deficit, however, was not so large as to be alarming.
With the renewal of intercollegiate sports came fewer reforms than many persons interested in athletics had hoped for. The new leaf that we turned over bears a strong resemblance to the old; but we have effected some reduction in wasteful expenses and have at least opened some important questions; the discussion of which may result in more or less radical improvements. Representatives of Yale, Princeton, and Harvard agreed before the year was over to the publication of the announcement:
"That in the opinion of the representatives of the athletic associations of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, proselyting in any from is injurious to college athletics. They consequently urge the athletics authorities of each of the three universities to take the following action:
"All alumni, undergraduates and friends of Harvard are urged to refrain completely from offering any inducement to any schoolboy to enter Harvard, when the compelling motive in so doing is that boy's athletic skill or promise. The Athletic Committee feels that artificial hospitality of any sort, such as trips to the university, automobile rides, the are parties, etc., constitutes an "inducement," under the meaning of this resolution, little less mischievous than offers of money, jobs, and other valuable considerations, which have been already specifically condemned. The Athletic Committee believes that persons attempting to induce schoolboys to enter Harvard for athletic reasons are working against the real welfare of the University, and against the friendly agreements of the athletic associations of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
"The Committee directs that this request be published in the university papers, that copies be sent to the principal schools of the country, with a request that it be given wide publicity, and that the school authorities be urged to notify the chairmen of the athletic committees of the three universities of any infractions of the spirit of this request."
Chief Reform Prescribed Freshman Exercise.
The most, significant reform in the year has only an indirect bearing on intercollegiate athletics and is a distinct step in "athletics for all." Following a suggestion or request from the Board of Overseers, the Faculty with the support of the Committee voted to prescribe physical exercise for Freshmen. Dr. Roger Irving Lee, Professor of Hygiene, has given his summer to plans for putting the vote of the Faculty into effect this year with the class of 1923. Harvard College with its tradition of personal liberty has been slow in determining on physical prescription but in this matter, as in many others, the war has hastened a change.
New testimony was afforded to the cordial relations between Harvard and. Yale when the Yale authorities invited the Harvard crew to share with the Yale crew the Yale quarters at Gales Ferry. It is not many years since such an invitation from either crew to the other would have been scarcely imaginable. Now, though it, surprises some persons, it startles nobody and pleases nearly all.
Professor Robert N. Corwin, though still a member of the "Yale Board of Control" in athletics, has resigned the chairmanship. To say that he has had the confidence of every Harvard man who has worked with him is much; but not enough. In his openness and generosity he has perfectly illustrated Mr. Roosevelt's remark that Yale and Harvard are "natural adversaries and therefore natural friends." The duty of association with Professor Corwin of Yale and with Dean McClenahan of Princeton has brought to Harvard chairmen constant pleasure and constant examples of good academic sportsmanship.
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