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Football for Plutocrats



To the Editor of the CRIMSON:

The past year has seen more discussion and deploration of the professional aspect of athletics than almost any period in their history. Opinions of persons interested in sports, especially intercollegiate sports, reached the height of front page avidity, and drew serious comments from high college authorities. In the face of this throat to amateurism in sports, the athletic committees of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale have thrown caution to the four winds and have openly assailed the pocketbooks of their respective alumni. How will this action effect public opinion as regards professionalism in athletics? What will be the effect on the alumni?

There has always been a sneaking suspicion on the part of the public that college sports were more or less professional anyway. The "finger" is still heard of occasionally. When the price of a ticket to a "Big Three" football game was advanced to three dollars, it seemed a good deal to pay for the privilege of getting near enough to the field to see the game, providing one's field glasses were moderately powerful. But once there, the overwhelming force of collegiate spirit completely eclipsed the thought of what one had paid to get there, because it made of the event something more than just a big show, even for the non-alumnus. But this increase throws finance into one's face and makes it necessary for a certain percentage of regular attendants of our gridiron meetings to include the cost in the yearly budget so to speak. Undoubtedly many will decide that they cannot afford the luxury, which is probably what the committees hope for because of the large over-application for tickets durig the past few years. But these loyal individuals want to attend. The fact that the action of the committees makes it either impossible or impractical for them to do so arouses their antagonism, and loud rings the cry "Professionalism." Public opinion on this issue is already in the balance, and it is a question whether this change will throw it over in the wrong direction; and public opinion does count despite Harvard indifference. Is it necessary to call the attention of the sport world to the fact that football has ceased to be "one of the boys" and has become the sole support of a large family?

The effect on the alumni is likely to be similar, but from a more personal standpoint. While it was a matter of chance whether or not the average alumnus was able to get his precious pasteboard, he was sport enough to be a good loser when necessary. But now that there has been added to this a financial question, he may feel that his sporting chance has been supplanted by a plutocratic rule. His loyalty will not waver, but he may feel hurt that his chance to cheer for, fight for, and support his team has been put on a money premium, and that his fair alma mater has taken to playing favorites. This is especially true of the younger alumni to whom the dollar seems more than a curiously designed symbol. And unfortunately so, for theirs is the greatest enthusiasm, and theirs will be the greatest disappointment. And it is not to be forgotten that in their hands lies the future support of our Universities. W.B. Darling '22

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