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John R. Tunis '11, writing in the American Mercury, has called Harvard's football team semipro, claiming that the College subsidizes athletes so that it can fill its stadium and thus run its huge athletic plant.
The absurdity of any such statement is apparent to anyone who has followed Harvard's football history. The record of the H.A.A. is clean, and that organization can stick its chin out and invite inspection from any quarter. Mr. Tunis should be thankful that he was treating 99 other Colleges at the same time, had much research work to do, and might be permitted a mistake or two. But then again he is a graduate, and one would think that his research would have been conducted carefully.
Scraps of truth, however, do come out of Mr. Tunis' athletic plant is dependent on football gate receipts. "Athletics for all" do not come out of the air, and certainly Mr. Conant has not as yet collected his endowment fund for athletics.
He is right again when he says that professionalism in "shamateur football" must be brought to light. He is wrong, however, in predicting, the necessary formation of a professional intercollegiate league. If professionalism is confessed to, eradicated, and standard eligibility rules are adopted, amateur football games can be played, Further, equally large crowds will be attracted as long as the teams are on a fairly even level.
The ultimate way out is of course, an endowment sufficiently large to eradicate the necessity of high priced football tickets and the dependence of Athletic Associations on gate receipts. Meantime, one-lunged writers of Mr. Tunis' ilk should take a look around and check their facts before pounding their typewriters.
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