Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/555

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549
DOMESTIC AND INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS.

ence upon students than a dishonest faculty. You would be astonished and mortified if you knew the extent to which professors in reputable institutions make false returns of the standing of players supposed to be indispensable to the success of a college team. The excuses they offer are that they must make allowance for different standards, and hence some 'diplomacy' is necessary to secure a fair game; and secondly that the demand for leniency is so strong that it becomes a duty to the institution they represent to exercise a discreet indulgence. It is extremely discouraging, it is said, to make a poor showing in what are popularly held to be manly sports, through the maintenance of high standards of scholarship. In one institution a student is held to be disqualified by dropping below an average grading of sixty or seventy per cent.; in another he is allowed to 'pass' on an average of thirty or forty per cent. Similarly the phrases 'college grade' and 'post-graduate' mean little or much according to usage. It is clear that the temptations to place new and unwonted meanings to the word 'conditioned' are very strong.

Has not the time arrived for a general conference of representatives from all institutions for higher education, whether literary or technical, for the purpose of formulating rules and adopting uniform standards in so far as they bear upon the question of eligibility to athletic teams? All admit that high standards are necessary in determining a man's worthiness to be proclaimed an attorney, an architect, an engineer or a physician; while a more moderate standard may be admissible in the general studies which are regarded as in no way professional. A university may require a passing grade of forty per cent, in its college of letters, but insist upon sixty or seventy per cent, in its schools of engineering, law and medicine. Evidently there should be no such discrepancy in determining athletic eligibility for intercollegiate games.

Local conferences have already been held, but I suggest an effort to bring together all institutions east, west, north and south, and if possible to adopt standards and rules that all can faithfully observe. My object to-day is to lay before you some considerations in favor of the systematic management of both domestic and intercollegiate athletics in every school or college of engineering, and to submit some practical suggestions in regard to the latter feature.

I have recently given some thought to manly sports, and I venture a few words in regard to their value in every scheme of all-round education.

The General Value of Systematic Athletics.

The modern development of athletics has resulted from a combination of causes. The physical asceticism of the middle ages has