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Air For The Football


If the H.A.A., doesn't find $40,000 by the time that Dick Harlow starts handing out the moleskins next fall, the entire athletic program will have to be pared down in the name of economy. The idea of renting the Harvard Stadium to B.C. has been judged impractical because of various legal technicalities, but there are still ways to counter declining gate receipts without recruiting a play-for-pay eleven. Harvard could balance the athletic budget by selling the radio sponsorship of home football games to one of the big oil or cigarette companies.

Three years ago the Corporation voted a flat and unanimous "no" to the proposal of paid-for sportscasting of Vern Struck's fake spinners. Its argument was the usual fear of "commercialization." But the sale of radio rights is not the type of "commercialization" to which there can be logical protest. Purchase of players is not wanted and is quite distinct from the sale of the entertainment they provide. The Corporation's old argument ignores the fact that football at Harvard is already a business-a big business which sells higher-priced seats than any theatre in town, rents expensive concessions to Stadium venders, publishes a magazine, and sells ads in it. Upon the success of this large-scale commercial venture the rest of the sports depend for finances. It is ridiculous to draw a line just short of the microphone and to declare that beyond that limit lies "commercialization."

Both Yale and Princeton have sold air rights in their stadiums, and the Harvard-Yale game has a sponsored broadcast when played at New Haven. Yale gets $37,500 annually-a sum which would just fit that hole in the H.A.A. budget-and there is good reason to believe that the Crimson could do as well as the Blue. Harvard, as Yale already does, could edit and control the sponsor's blurb before it went on the air waves. "Commercialization" has nothing to do with the problem-the choice lies between a good business deal and a malnourished athletic program.

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