Sports Vs. Gambling

Is it wrong to accept fees? No one really knows.

This, as anybody who has followed a sport even indifferently knows, is minor league stuff compared with what goes on at some colleges where local, state and alumni pride often are motivating factors as powerful as profit in building winning teams.

Since 1952, when the National Collegiate Athletic Association took on police powers, it has had enough evidence of recruiting violations to have taken action against schools in 86 cases.

Some did not learn their lesson and had to be punished a second time. Auburn lived in the NCAA doghouse for six years. Indiana has been in for three.

Head coaches, either ambitious for better jobs or fretful that the ax will soon fell them, continue to cut recruiting corners despite the threat of penalty.

And many feel it would be a mistake to become sentimental about their players. The stringent policies of Coach Charlie Bradshaw resulted in 53 University of Kentucky players abandoning the team.

One assistant at another southern school quit his job recently when he became sickened by the ruthless measures his superior was using to get scholarship back from boys who had not succeeded on the football field.

What happens to allegiance to the sport and the school then?

In prosecuting the college basketball scandals of 1961, and assistant New York district attorney, Peter D. Andreoli, said that one pertinent thread ran through all the players' testimony: none of them had any loyalty to his school.

A. Whitney Griswold, the late president of Yale, so disliked athletic scholarships that he learned them the 'greatest swindle ever perpetrated on American youth.'

In his book, Campus U.S.A., David Boroff said that college football players had become so 'seriously devalued in recent years [that] they are Saturday's children, neglected the rest of the week. No longer heroes, they are just hulking mercenaries to many students.'

Sociologist Reuel Denney of the University of Hawaii, a collaborator with David Riesman on The Lonely Crowd, says that in the commercialized sports environment, the athlete 'is first turned into a robot, and then sometimes the robot becomes a burglar. I think the first stage, when the human being is turned into a robot, is worse.'

These insights are so great. Sport remains a major assimilating force on the college campus, and there are many legitimate reasons for letting the superior athlete play his way through an education as for supporting a brilliant violinist.


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