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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/554

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548
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

DOMESTIC AND INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS.[1]
By Professor CALVIN M. WOODWARD,

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY.

I NEED no statistics to prove that engineering schools and engineering departments as a rule take no active part in intercollegiate athletics. There may be exceptions, but we never hear of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or Troy, or Worcester, or Stevens, on the gridiron or on the diamond or in regattas. How the teams are made up at Harvard and Yale, Cornell, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, I do not know, but I suspect that student engineers are generally 'too busy' to find time, and too interested in their work to feel an overmastering craving for athletics, so the athletic spirit which occasionally bursts into flame is gradually quenched by the steady stream of 'lectures' and 'laboratory calls.'

Doubtless we have all been somewhat to blame in this matter. We have seen so much that the student engineer ought to get and to do, and so much that the future engineer ought to know and to be, that we have pre-empted the students' hours of play and recreation as well as their hours of study, and have overlooked the plain duty of attending to the physical natures and appetites of the young men in our charge.

It is my conviction that we have made a serious mistake. To a certain degree we have defeated ourselves. Faculties and boards of control have great responsibilities in the direction of athletics, which responsibilities in a vast majority of cases they fail to meet properly. Sometimes they grossly mismanage matters, but more often they neglect them and try to ignore them. They let things drift. They admit in a half-hearted way that physical culture is a good thing, but they discourage every development of athletics under student management, while they inaugurate no adequate management of their own. In many cases athletic managers, supported as they are by strong popular favor, are a sort of terror to tutors and professors; they compel them to assist or at least to wink at deception and dishonesty.

It is useless to expect clean athletics when the members of the faculty participate in or condone fraud and unfairness. I do not willingly admit the shortcomings of college officers, but their own confessions can not be gainsaid. I know of no more corrupting influ-


  1. Read before the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education, Pittsburgh meeting, July, 1902.