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Shrewd but ethical recruiting which attracts students with intelligence, athletic ability, and money is probably the best sort of football policy, Dean Bender told the Harvard Club of Milwaukee Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press.
Bender urged the assembled alumni to "rescue football from the coaches" and return it to the students "who come to college first for an education and only secondly to play football."
The platoon system is a chief villain in the mounting competition for football players, Dean Bender suggested. "Any good high school player," he noted, "might have 12 or 50 colleges camping on his doorstep. Scandals are the logical end product."
Scouts are sent from colleges with considerable more energy to find football players than to attract particularly talented students, he lamented.
"Professionalism in football," Bender said, "has discouraged private school graduates from going out for the sport at all." The result is, he stated, that football players at Harvard are not typical of the student body.
The Dean listed three choices other than "shrewd recruiting," which colleges could take:
1. Build a successful big time team at all costs.
2. Declare football an "unholy mess" and throw it out entirely. He noted, however, that "if football is abolished, or de-emphasized it might damage the fabric of the college community. The experience at the University of Chicago proves that." Without football, he suggested, Harvard would lose its drawing power for some students, bringing in an overbalance of intellectuals.
3. Remain strictly amateur. Do not distort educational values. Take players who turn up in normal registration. Such a policy would probably cause the Crimson to drop out of the Ivy League if it adopted it.
"Harvard began big time football and built the first stadium," Bender noted, "so we have an obligation to lead it out of the excesses of the present game." Faculties, the Dean said, are partly to blame for football's problems because they ignore them rather than face them
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