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The Faculty Committee on Athletic Sports announced yesterday that Harvard's hockey team may not go to the NCAA championship this year, describing the tournament as "not an event toward which we should sensibly point our hockey aspirations . . ."
At the same time, the FCAS granted permission for the team to play, if invited, in the ECAC championship, which is "a natural and suitable winding-up of the eastern college hockey season.
In a letter to the Undergraduate Athletic Council, the FCAS cited two major reasons for its decision--the length of the season and the nature of the post-season event."
The Committee concluded that the NCAA play-offs "would interfere . . . with the academic work of the squad. We would have to be deeply impressed by the importance . . . of the post-season event to consider extending our season by two weeks."
As to the "nature of the post-season event," the FCAS stated that "The circumstances of hockey in the Western League seem to us to be on the wrong track, involving generally the heavy recruiting of Canadian players, the use of athletic scholarships, and what appears to be an intensive effort to develop a big-time commercially successful sport.
"It is true that the circumstances of Western League Hockey are governed within the rules of the NCAA, but so are the circumstances of big-time basketball and football." The Committee in effect described the western teams as "made up of heavily subsidized specialists."
The FCAS maintained that the "NCAA post-season hockey event tends mainly to emphasize undesirable features in college sports. We see no virtue in the event as a natural climax or goal for our Ivy League . . . and we prefer not to participate in it."
Also released yesterday was the lengthy report of the Undergraduate Athletic Council which had strongly advised allowing the team to play in the NCAA tourney. The report was sent to the Faculty Committee in January but was withheld to allow the FCAS to deliberate without outside pressure.
On the question of time involved in the extended schedule, the Council estimated that hockey players would lose only two days of lectures over the whole 29 game season, including the NCAA games. They pointed out that other winter sports have similarly long seasons which include NCAA championships.
In its consideration of the nature of western hockey, the UAC sharply criticized the contention that western hockey is played by "professionals." Statistics were presented in an attempt to show the western hockey player is also a student.
The UAC implored Harvard not to indulge "in intellectual snobbery, by refusing to play an athletic contest with a team representing a school with a lower scholastic standard."
After reading the FCAS decision, Mark Woodbury III '62, president of the UAC, said the group was "naturally disappointed." He observed that "we tried for a home run and only got a double."
"Tickled to death," was the reaction of hockey coach Cooney Weiland, however. "I'm very pleased with the decision to let us play post-season games." As for the NCAA tourney, Weiland asked "how can we be disappointed about something we may never be able to play in anyway? It may be years before we are good enough."
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