With more than 3,000 persons using the University facilities, it is necessary to place at their disposal the largest athletic establishment in the world covering more than 60 acres and employing about 50 persons beside the coaching staffs. Although is is necessary for the rest of the student body to pay for the use of the equipment, the Freshmen are exempt from a fee because they are required to spend at least three one hour periods each week in some form of physical exercise. The whole system is under the administration of the Harvard Athletic Association headed by William J. Bingham '16.
All activity centers around the Indoor Athletic Building which was constructed at a cost of $1,200,000 and houses two swimming pools, three basketball floors which may be converted into tennis courts, boxing, wrestling, fencing rooms as well as locker accommodations for over 2,500 people. The pools are 75 feet by 40 with a depth ranging from 7 to 11 feet and a smaller practice pool 40 by 25 with a depth of from four to five feet.
The latter is used to teach men how to swim since that is one of the requirements for a degree. The larger pool is believed to be the fastest in the country and was the scene of many records last spring when the N. C. A. A. meet was held there. The water in both pools is kept at a constant temperature of 72 degrees.
Tennis enthusiasts have the opportunity of using 91 outdoor courts distributed throughout the University but the Freshmen for the most part are assigned to the 31 courts which are on Soldiers Field while the upperclassmen and their guests use Jarvis Field and the teams practice and play in the courts behind the Divinity School. About 20 courts are reserved behind the Business School for the use of members of the graduate schools.
Soldiers Field is the center of outdoor activity dominated by a stadium which will hold 58,000 spectators. In its 40 acres are nine football fields, two tracks, and five baseball diamonds besides the already mentioned tennis courts. The remaining "20" acres on the property is used partially by the Military Science stables, armories, drill grounds, and barracks.
The H. A. A. operates only 14 squash courts and these are reserved for Freshmen three afternoons each week. Most upperclassmen play in the 45 courts which are under the supervision of the separate Houses. The H. A. A. courts are also used by non-House members and the students in the graduate schools with the result that the Freshmen are left a crowded schedule for this most popular sport.
On the Cambridge side of the river is the Weld Boat House which is used by scullers who have at their disposal over 70 singles, narrow and broad comps, and wherries. The House crews also embark from Weld but the Varsity and Freshman crews use the Newell boat house which is on the Soldiers Field side of the river and contains the majority of the 36 eights used by the Crimson oarsmen.
The only facilities for which it is necessary for students to leave the University property are those for golf and hockey. The Unicorn Country Club in Stoneham is used for the former while the Boston Garden and the Boston Arena provide skating surfaces.
Harvard is having a new deal in athletics in an endeavor to save money and it has been necessary to place part of the sports on an informal basis. At present polo, rugby and golf are in this position which means that they are provided with university facilities as much as possible and the H. A. A. contributes a small sum for coaching expenses, but the burden equipment and transportation falls upon the shoulders of the participants