The North American Review (vol. 224)
hardship upon a collegian of limited means to pay the full price
of admission to all his Alma Mater ' s games. Some institutions
have partly solved the problem. Thus at West Point and An
napolis, cadets pay a nominal fee for membership in the Athletic
Association, which gives admission to all games. In some of the
civilian institutions each student in paying his college bill finds a
nominal item for the support of the Athletic Association which,
being paid, serves the same purpose.
In the last three years there has developed a criticism of the
sport to represent which it has been necessary to coin a new term,
technical to football, " over emphasis " . By this is meant the
excessive publicity given to the sport and to its leading players.
It is argued by those opposed to " over emphasis " that such pub
licity distorts life and its values to an undergraduate. Fame un
deniably has turned many a young head, but the victims generally
have recovered. It is the public that creates the publicity,
and it is the player who by his extraordinary exploits gives the
public cause. So it would seem that publicity, excessive and
otherwise, is a natural concomitant and itself should not be un
duly magnified by the critics.
In the final judgment football with its train of dependent sports
will stand or fall upon its performance, or aid or contribution to the
performance, of a proper function in education. This is the
real test. As an educational problem, therefore, it will be solved
and settled by educators who have a highly specialized knowl
edge and experience in collegiate sports by reason of their special
positions on faculty committees charged with the supervision
and regulation of sports. In the mean time, critics and reform
ers will continue to assail football at the close of each season.
Their criticisms will entertain the sport-loving public as an after
season diversion and will be read considerately by the numbers
of faculty committees on sports.
Football, however, wisely reformed in its details as necessities
advise, will go on and the large group of other games dependent
upon it will continue to thrive and to serve the same useful
functions in college, school, church, and all other organizations,
as they have done since the boys of Sparta played football as a
highly organized game 2,500 years ago.