Hitting hard at the plan to drop University financial support of the minor sports is 1936, the petition backed by four Freshmen makes an excellent statement of the case for their retection. Although this is a perfectly permissible stand to adopt from the abstract merit of the sports in themselves, the seven dollar levy which they propose as the means of financing them is obviously impracticable, since it is in effect an increase in tuition which would work hardship on many and would be unfair to an equal number. The issue then comes down to the question of whether the intrinsic value of the minor sports is worth the sacrifice in some other direction that would have to be made to keep them.
At present that sacrifice cannot be deemed desirable in the light both of the other sports available and of the financial situation. Harvard offers in the inter-house athletics a substitute with much merit of its own, and which could be well extended to include many of the features that make the minor sports valuable. Furthermore, the endowment, which both schools of thought believe essential, must begin somehow, and somewhere. It is incidental, yet of some importance, that the slashing done in such a prominent place may help to bring in outside money; and this in turn might well make for the earlier return of those very sports.
Revision of the present plan can only come about if undergraduate opinion is shown by this petition to be sufficiently strong. Under these circumstances the whole question must have serious reconsideration; for the wisdom of a policy may sometimes have to bow to the practical problems involved.
The minor sports are now the most practicable place to begin the policy of the H.A.A. living within its income (which includes both what it makes and what it gets from the college) and of building up an endowment. If the undergraduate mandate is strong enough, it may then be time to begin to search for major sports which can be shaved.