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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/607

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COLLEGE ATHLETICS.

4. Then there are the disorders consequent upon victories. These disorders are sometimes quite serious, but are by no means so serious as they are often represented to be. On the campus such disorders have never been more serious than some disorders taking place after the conferring of degrees. They have always been easily controlled. They have been avoided when the college authorities have given notice that a recurrence of them would imperil the existence of the athletic organizations, or annul the permission to play match-games. These disorders, then, can not be a necessary and inherent evil of athletics.

It may be replied that disorders consequent upon victories are not confined to the college campus. Indeed, to the minds of many candid men, the great disorders which bring dangerous disgrace to the present system of college athletics, and reflect upon college government as well, occur at the intercollegiate contests, when the athletes meet on neutral ground. Such men admit the advantages of the system. They would encourage it in the separate colleges, but would have it go no further. They would abolish intercollegiate contests altogether. But this action would do away with the very element (healthy rivalry between colleges) which is the most effective motive power and stimulus of the whole system. Without this element the. system would go to pieces in many colleges. In others it would be miserably contracted and inefficient. For this evil a more general interest in the subject on the part of instructors and parents, and their more general attendance at the games, would easily suggest the remedies of a healthy and manifested public opinion and a judicious personal influence.

5. It is charged against athletics that they benefit, the few, and that these few are those least requiring the exercise. One part of the charge can be appreciated—that few are benefited—these few being the members of the Crew, Kine, Eleven, and Lacrosse Teams of the university. These, with substitutes, amount to about fifty men. But it has been already shown that more men are induced to exercise than the actual membership of these organizations; and that the present system affects, in the matter of exercise, at least half of the undergraduate department.

The objection, that the men under training in the university organizations are the men least requiring the training, can be understood to be one of two propositions, viz., either that these men have naturally so much power or skill that they need not develop any more, or that they will cultivate their strength and nerve without being stimulated to do so by the workings of the present system. This would be like arguing that men of great mental gifts either do not need an education, or would get an education without any opportunities being provided for this purpose in a school or college system—a proposition which, however true in exceptional cases, taken as a gen-