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Provost Buck, who took control of the "football situation" with a vengeance in December, has acted with determination in his first two public moves. He allowed Arthur Valpey to look for and accept a new job; he then proceeded to California and cancelled the Stanford game. The latter move, while perhaps not a completely happy one, is certainly sensible; we probably should not have signed a contract in the first place.
This cancellation could be the beginning of a healthy reassessment of Harvard's whole football picture. You don't have to be too much of an expert to figure out that the Stanford game caused approximately 30 percent of last fall's injuries, or that the 44 to 0 licking hurt all season. The team was never the same after its horrendous western trip.
Harvard should play those Ivy League teams now on its schedule, should not renew the Army contract, and should fill the resultant holes in its schedule with smaller New England schools as it did before the war. We are not good enough to play intersectional games, or to play Army; there is not reason to continue laying our head on the chopping block in the false hope that big opponents will fill the Stadium. Such teams will not attract a crowd as long as they beat us by lopsided margins. And Harvard has no intention of going in for the full-scale purchasing program that would enable us to beat these teams; it just is not fair to send our current personnel against Stanford and Army.
With the scale of its season reduced to a sane level, Harvard would be able to compete on a par with Ivy League opponents except for one item: there is no system of job guarantees at Harvard. Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth all offer this much to prospective athletes. Harvard, apparently, wants nothing to do with official job guarantees to its football players. Such a plan involving no more than 50 men would probably hit stonewall resistance--but help for athletes in the form of honest jobs need not depend on favoritism of any sort.
The Employment Office has been doing its job reasonably well within a limited scope. It provided a clearing house for 2000 students to find work last year, but it has not operated as an aggressive agency. A thorough canvass of alumni in this area could turn up more jobs; and the offer of several Boston hotel managers last fall to hire students for part-time work demonstrates the fact that there are plenty of jobs to be had in Metropolitan Boston.
Some intensive work by the employment office could assure jobs to not only football men, but any student whose irregular time schedule ordinarily rules out available jobs.
One further University policy that needs to be changed is nowhere to be found in print. Athletes suffer from discrimination at the hands of Harvard officials, whether the policy is explicit or not. Alumni in the boondocks--the men who meet the athletes before any Cambridge emissary--say that the word "football" on an application hurts a man more than it helps him. This is tough to pin down, impossible to localize, but it is true. It must be stopped, and explicitly stopped; a definite policy statement is needed on this if on no other part of the Harvard athletic situation.
We do not want to play "Big Time" football. It has no part in Harvard's program. But we can continue to play traditional opponents with reasonable success if we contract for reasonable schedules, if we expand and reinvigorate the Employment Office, and if officials stop what is in many cases unconscious discrimination toward athletes. We can play football without the shouting and recriminations that have characterized our unhappy exploration of the big-money game.
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