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Presidents Conant, Griswold, and Dodds have agreed on an athletic admissions policy for their respective institutions. They will not bury players, nor will they admit men who do not meet normal academic standards. This is a policy designed to protect athlete and college alike, for it denies exploitation of students at the same time that it denies subsidies.
Perhaps this well end some of the confusion that began a few years ago in the Ivy League. Then administrators started calling for restrained "pure" recruiting without ever adequately explaining to alumni or to the nation what this meant, and what its limits were. Very few people could actually say what an alumnus could and could not promise a good high school athlete; even fewer could say exactly what the student could expect--or get--once he arrived. At the very least, the new statement does place a horizon around a cloudy situation.
At the same time, President Conant's signature on this document shows that Harvard believes policies followed by the other two schools really to be within the limits of "pure" athletics. Presumably the College intends to put pressure on its own alumni to start competing with its Ivy League rivals for scholar athletes. It hopes that a good job of selling Harvard to potential student-athletes across the country will solve our problem and give us the broad basis of fine admissions material our natural rivals have been searching for so earnestly.
This agreement thus sets up the limits within which sound athletic and admissions policies can operate. But it does not, of course, attempt to outline what any one of the college's own admissions systems should be. While Princeton's and Yale's policies are considered fair under the agreement, for example, Harvard might not want to go quite so far in recruiting as either of our neighbors might. Obviously the admissions program here must be kept under strong and capable authority. Clean recruiting plans sometimes get dirtied in the handling.
In this case, Harvard has nothing to worry about. Dean Bender, who soon takes over the Admissions Office, is the best possible successor to Richard Gummier. The Office will continue under completely competent direction. Presumably the alumni program will operate through Bender, and he, of all people, is the least likely to let anything get out of control. His ability for calm, strong administration is unsurpassed. He will draw the lines of policy over which there will be no stepping as long as he holds the post.
For the College, the President's statement, though only a general one, is another of the many recent good sings. The football team will not be overmatched in the new schedules; alumni have started seeking out good students around the nation; the Admissions Office will have continued strong leadership. Now we know our natural rivals will join us in limiting professionalism in this league. It is all very good to hear, at last.
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