Petitions and pleas for the seven minor sports from which financial support was withdrawn last Spring have accomplished nothing, and it is time that facts and figures were faced squarely. Up to March 2nd, of this year only 2800 Athletic Participation tickets had been sold, including the Freshman tickets which were issued free of charge. In other words only about 1800 students out of an average yearly total of 3400 are paying for Harvard's athletic facilities, while the rest of the undergraduate body, except for the Freshmen, is neither participating in nor contributing to the sports of their University.
A universal levy of ten dollars on every undergraduate, whether he wished to avail himself of buildings or not, would more than double the present athletic receipts from the students, and would thus bring in a total of about $34,000 a year, as well as extra money from students in Graduate Schools who would buy their Participation tickets as usual. This added revenue would more than support six of the minor sports, since with the exception of golf and polo, $5,000 more a year is all that is needed to put them back on their feet. If this ten dollar levy were compulsory for all undergraduates, the H.A.A. income would be increased by $16,000 a year, thus leaving an $11,000 surplus after paying for the minor sports. This surplus could be turned over to the sinking fund for the independence of the major sports from football gate receipts, or else it could be reinvested for the minor ones.
As the situation stands now the H.A.A. has to pay for the overhead, fixed costs and upkeep of all its athletic buildings and playgrounds regardless of how often they are used or of the number of people using them. Dillon Field House, Newell, Weld and the Indoor Athletic Building were all built to accommodate as many men as would ever come out for all seven of these unfinanced sports, and are costing the University almost as much as if they were actually used to full capacity. Thus if these sports were put back on the H.A.A. payrolls, the only extra expense that would be incurred would be such items as coaching, trips, uniforms and equipment, all of which would cost $5,000 a year.
Much of the H.A.A. property is now costing more per capita than it was before the abolition of minor sports. Students today may only dabble in sports which they would like to pursue vigorously, and prospective dabblers are met by discouragement and lack of interest. A $10 burden, assumed collectively, would solve the financial difficulty, possibly aid President Conant's plan, and make available a large and much-missed number of sports.