William J. Bingham, director of intercollegiate athletics at Harvard university, has intimated that the trend at Harvard is toward a diminution of intercollegiate competition in athletics. And he has intimated still further that the ultimate outcome of the policy would be a severance of all athletic relations except those with Yale, a traditional rival whom she has met since the middle of the previous century.
It is dangerous to say that the Harvard plan is an attempt to be British, an attempt to ape the Oxford-Cambridge program of vigorous intramural sports and one annual inter-varsity meet in each sport. It is dangerous because it may not be true. And if Harvard were accused of something that was not true, and accused by a university they refer to as "one of our better provinces," the resultant reaction might be a race riot between Harvard students and the hinterland. In all events, Harvard, would be fortifying her athletic record, which of late has been none too rosy.
But whether the Harvard plan is consciously British or not, the process of acclimating it to American custom and even to New England hauteur is not without anticipation of untold difficulty. In the matter of the British plan there was no tradition to buck. Oxford and Cambridge have concentrated their athletic relations to dual meets with each-other even since the inception of varsity athletics at the two universities. In the matter of the proposed Harvard plan there would be the necessary break-down of nearly a century of tradition. The Dartmouth and Holy Cross games have become a tradition strongly entrenched in the minds of Harvard men. And aside from the local tradition, there is the doubly strong national feeling for intercollegiate sport. National sentiment is strong not only for intercollegiate sport but also for inter-sectional competition.
There is a word to be said for inter varsity competition. It may not be British, but it is invigorating and manly. Annual big games are exciting and fan for both the spectator and participant. They have become American institutions. They are colorful, inspiring, even cultural. They are colossal symbols of our national spirit.
Harvard may change all this, for they clutch so closely to the skirts of mother England. But it is doubtful whether any of the "better provinces" ever will. They are a thousand fortunate miles farther west. Michigan Daily.