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Several days' digestion of the Ivy League proposal brings out the unique benefits to be derived by Harvard. No college, perhaps, has a more fundamental interest in promoting amateur football than Harvard.
At the outset one premise must be established. It is that in athletics, as in anything else, Harvard does not live in a world by itself. It is unfair to expect Harvard players to oppose imported musclemen. It is equally unfair to expect the H.A.A. continually to oppose small, vociferous groups of victory-minded alumni. Yet the rising tide of professionalism puts just such burdens on players and officials, makes increasingly difficult a simon-pure athletic existence.
Those who object to the plan concern themselves largely with practical difficulties, but cannot, apparently, offer any substitute whatsoever. It is true that the makers of schedules must be patient and thoughtful, but the task before them is not Herculean. As for past tradition, it is, after all, largely a matter a venerability and not necessarily of utility. And only a little breadth of imagination is required to forsee a worthy and comprehensive tradition of amateurism in football solidly bolstered by the seven Ivy Colleges.
Opponents of the League speak in terms of the past and not of the future. They do not realize that all the Ivy Colleges are face to face with problems similar to Harvard, and that the Augean stables of professionalism look as filthy to undergraduates there as they do here. Such critics point to minor differences in standards--which they would remove most of the pressure from highly professionalized antagonists. United in self-defense and cooperation, the seven colleges can elevate without fear of repercussion, the standards to a common high through uniform eligibility rules, fixed practice sessions, and similar regulations.
The inclusion of Cornell in next year's schedule and particularly the "shooting expedition" of the seven directors of the Athletic Associations concerned are happy augeries for the future. The hunters should return with the only conceivable alternative to President Conant's program for endowing athletics in their game bag--a well formulated plan to revive the languishing spirit of amateurism.
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