Special of the week; Issue 21-70
N. E. R. of the national educational radio network. Resent special of the Week this week we spotlight the recent meeting of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in Washington D.C. intercollegiate athletics moves into the new decade more popular than ever before. At the same time high costs. The problems of recruiting and social unrest among athletes are major concerns of those who manage our intercollegiate athletic programs. This program will examine two of these areas of concern. The question of amateurism and the Question of the student athletes responsibility to the institution in a roundtable program at the NCW meeting Marcus plant a professor of law and faculty athletic representative from the University of Michigan and immediate past president of the NC Double-A spoke on the subject of amateurism. In approaching us I shall take as my text I'm a verse from St. Matthew. The Gospel According to Matthew chapter
6 verse 21. For where the treasure is there is life Mark. Also when I mention two colleague of mine I was going to participate today in a discussion of amateurism he put on a faintly cynical smile and said What is it. Actually it was a rather tame reaction because if there's any easy way to start a fight in the faculty lounge or in the Faculty Club it is to open up a discussion of athletic amateurs. His cynicism is a somewhat common reaction. However and it is often affected by persons who consider themselves highly sophisticated certain sports columnists and commentators when they are short of material like to fill in with a denunciation of the hypocrisy of the cons the ideas frequently score and as a vestige will remain remnant of the 19th century
English class system. It is over simplified. The professor acquaintance of mine once urged me that the colleges should make up their collective mind as to whether they want their athletes to be amateurs or professionals and stop legislating about the subject. A process which seemed to disturb him a good deal. The tour of the turn has taken on certain moral overtones and overtones of purity or impurity. I have a letter here and my material on which the writer who is a well-known person refers to the a certain code and says I am sure that it will protect the boys and which are standing and their morals. The naivete of these attitudes to me lies in the failure to recognize that the term Amateurism is an abstraction like many obstructions that perform useful and indeed vital functions in our
language and in our lives. It has no fixed meaning in the chilly logical sense its meaning varies from time to time and from place to place. It is like some of the key phrases in the Constitution of the United States. As the late chief justice Hughes put it when the Constitution means what the judges say it mean. And amateurism means what people say it means. And in the current situation what the NCAA says it means for its purposes. Certainly that the history of the word bears this out. It is derived from. An amateur on the last name of Tara meaning one who has a taste for anything it came into use in the latter part of the 17th century in France to denote a connoisseur of the fine arts. The first record of its use in Britain was in 1784 and it also referred to one who appreciated
the arts of painting and music. The earliest connotation that my sources were able to determine or find in a sports context concerned a prizefight but the term was used to describe the spectator. They were gentlemen amateurs. There was no record as to what terms were used to describe the prize fighters but amateurs where the spectators in the first half of the nineteenth century financial elements did not enter into the consideration at all. In 1831 for example the teams of Oxford and the lander club groaned at Henley and each team got a thousand or two hundred. Ours Both were considered and which are the difference between an amateur and a professional. Was social. A gentleman could be an amateur because he could afford to follow the rules and he could afford to lose even more than was a prize for which he was tried
in sports other than rowing. Well actually this continued down in the rowing until 1871 at least because there's a record of the heavenly committee turning down a local entry for the waffle cup on the grounds that the clue the crew included people who had been mechanics and artisans and leave. Not that they rode for money but given a gentleman amateur. In sports other than rowing However By 1880 the class distinction had been relaxed such as in cricket and those who were not gentleman were purchased a lot to participate. Their influx was followed by disorderly gambling bribery in personation assumption of names and other crooked goings on and some of the amateurs sought to fight against these developments by setting up a strict home and one of the principal elements of that code was that the person could not use his skill
for financial gain. At the time that the NCAA started there for the general notion of amateurism included in there the idea that the person could not use his athletic skill for gain or be paid for his participation. The NCAA was free to set up whatever definition if one so was any other sports organization. The NCAA has done so. Other athletic organizations have done so and that the definitions and delineations are not only consistent. There's no reason really for lamination or for cynicism. The purposes of different organizations are different and in the fields of athletics this is true even though they may all seek to bring themselves under the banner of the AMA now
known as the NCAA defined amateurs. Well the definition as you know is in Article 3 sections 1 and perhaps Section 4. And in official interpretations one through 23 and 40 through 46. These together total approximately 10 pages of rather fine print in our manual. In 1960. It isn't my intention to peruse these provisions here but I'm sure you're off from earlier with them. But let me make just a few remarks about them to lay the foundation for the point of my discussion. Many of these provisions have to do with pay with money compensation or their equivalent. Some do not. Some relate to associate ing or playing with profession. Some relate to dealing with professionals or with
representatives of professionals as if one were or in the manner of a professional. Most of them relate to money and the receipt of money or money's worth. This does not mean that the colleges consider money to be dirty and it is not a blamed following of English tradition. The colleges had a bad experience when intercollegiate athletics that started because then there was no active amateur cold and very little control and the Havelock in the latter part of the 19th century is well known and money played a large part in it. The hiring of trenchant and the use of people who had no other relationship with the institution except that they participated in the sports program ultimately brought to the attention of the institution and the faculty.
Furthermore experience has shown that the presence of money has a bad influence it can have a bad influence. It affects the heart. That is to say if the person treasure is money or money's worth or financial gain then that is where is heart will be. And why is the NCAA ruled it out. Well the basic reason I take it is that what we are seeking to do throughout the man is to keep the intercollegiate athletic program in a state of balance and in a proper proportion to the main business of the institution which is the education of the student. There is nothing inconsistent with a strong athletic program. But the main business of the institution for the athlete and the main business of the athlete in the institution
is to get his education his treasure should be and for the most part is the treasures of the mind and of the sphere. And that is where his heart and of course the treasures of the Spirit can embody a substantial area of his participation in the region. Whether this is the structure that has been built it has not been built because there is anything immoral about professional athletics as long as they are or that there is anything bad about money. Indeed to a certain extent as long as it is kept in proportion and as long as it is related to his educational goals and the educational goals of the institution we have agreed for more than a decade now to afford him financial support money which will enable him to pursue his education. We have put limits
on it of course the limits are there not to keep down expenses but to keep his attitudes and his interests pointed as much as we can possibly do so in the direction of what we think of is the proper training. Now it hasn't always worked of course and I'm sure that all of us could think of examples of where people found their treasure did not line the educational opportunities of the institution. But for the most part it has been a system that has kept the program in proper relationship to the educational goals and at least in the institutions with which I am familiar commands the support has commanded the support of the vast majority of educators who have no specific personal interest in the program but who see it in the relationship to education that we want
them to see. Now it is very unlikely that anyone will say of a given day let us get rid of amateurism and turn them in the pros. That isn't likely to happen and I could predict I think it never will. But what is likely and what does happen is that there can be in the road a step by step. I don't buy it. And sometimes the erosion can be fostered by interests who can be very persuasive. One of the reasons the Kosen was particularly interested in this subject this year was for some developments with respect to other amateur organizations athletic organizations in which it was urged that their rules be used instead of our own laws or that our rows be adjusted to
their. I have two or three examples here and while I'm not going to read them in detail let me just speak summarily of one of the few United States Soccer Football Association for example which is said and I believe properly to be in their mature organisation and to have strict rules has several rules which are at substantial variance with ours. And USAF USS FAA define amateur player may play on any team with a registered professional player or on a professional soccer team. If he does not receive remuneration or consideration if he does not receive regardless of the fact that everyone else are interpretations of course prohibits or require that the person not participate on teams which are professional which have professional affiliation or on which there
are unknown professionals or reason to know their profession. The Soccer Association provides for reinstating a person to his amateur status under certain conditions. Our roads prohibit that. Another one of their rules is that he may coach and referee it prohibits he may coach and put it this way. He made coach and referee in any sport other than the sport of soccer that is to say the prohibition against income from refereeing or using his athletic knowledge is limited to size and he may be a professional player in other sports as long as he is an amateur. Our rules of course are quite different now. The United States Golf Association has some rules which are variance with ours.
For example the one of the. First rules permit surprise are a testimonial of a retail value not to exceed $200 a prize or a testimonial The rule says must be of such a nature. I mean it must not be of such a nature that it is the equivalent of money. But it is a matter of practical construction. Local construction rules usually are interpreted so that such things as golf clubs golf balls golf bank sweaters and so on items that are readily convertible into money. Are regarded as properly made the subject of competition. Our. Official interpretations 1920 prohibit the award of merchandise. The rule 10 of the Golf Association permits an amateur to accept membership for privileges in a club or a golf course without full
payment of dues for a class of membership or the privilege awarded as a as an honorary recognition or in recognition of an outstanding performance or contribution to our Constitution prohibits any special arrangements which are for the benefit of athletes. It provides here again the Golf Association provides for reinstatement of an amateur after he has once been a professional. The message that I would like to leave is that we ought to resist these encroachments on the amateur rules. We ought not to allow the rule to be the concept to be whittled away. And this is true even though the organisation which has a rule which is more flexible than ours
is recognised as an honest and a tight organisation. Because our rules have been designed for a certain purpose and we should in construing what we mean by amateurism always have in mind not necessarily some vague ideal or not necessarily some principle which has basic moral code but the basic idea that. The principal purpose of the athlete is to get an education. And what we can do for him and with him to further the US we should do. But if we open up to gays or he becomes or is tempted to be interested in lives or in treasures other than those that are found in the institutions of making up our membership
then there is where his heart will be and the program ultimately in our colleges and universities will cease. Describe. Marcus Plante faculty athletic representative of the University of Michigan and immediate past president of the N.C. Double A speaking to the recent MC Double-A meeting in Washington on the question of amateurism Aneta collegiate athletics at another session of the NCW a meeting college business managers heard a discussion of the question of the student's responsibility to the institution. Robert T Bronson athletic director at San Jose State College spoke of the unrest at San Jose that resulted when civil rights problems spilled over into the athletic program. A few years ago before a game with the University of Texas at El Paso a football game that is the same gentleman Harry Edwards
who had been an honor student at our institution at Minot Latterman in basketball and in track he held the National Junior College just a throwing record. He did not live up to the expectations later as a senior track man but had been a wrong tense and purposes a model student came into my office and informed me that something was brewing. And after due time I learned that there would be a protest in the way of the University of Texas as a football game. Unfortunately the media construed his protests. There are good groups protest as being directly related to athletics that happen to be simply a side issue. The main thrust happened to be with the social political climate of the campus dealing with fraternities sororities and other social organizations but athletics was pinpointed as
the Achilles tendon where attention could be devoted. Media certainly would be attracted to it and the like. I would it would take too long to recount everything that occurred in those hectic 10 days but I can assure you that with the advice of the chief of police of the fourth largest city in California they had a bet the district attorney and other law enforcement agencies. We simply could not state that football game without endangering the lives of innocent bystanders and spectators. So I believe for the first time in cleated history a football game was canceled due to pressure your arrest whatever you might term it. We lived through that and then we came to a second bogging late in the season that involved Brigham Young University a school with whom we have engaged in also mathematic relationships since 1946. The thrust in this instance had to do with religious interpretations.
At this particular point the black athletes on the football team six in number agreed not to participate. And again we went through some very climatic moments. The scholarship committee with approval of the president suspended the grand AIDS and we played the game without their presence. Since that time other things have happened have been recorded in or in our history. And sure that we benefited out of some of these experiences. Painful though they were and we have established on our campus a statement a policy very similar to that which Jim just read from Oregon State University. In so far as we call it rights of conscience the student athlete feels that he has bases for objecting to participating in a game on the basis of rights of conscience. He thinks almost the same formula that Jim has pointed out first goes to the coach
if it's not resolved it comes to the athletic director. If not resolve it was the athletic supporter not me. It goes to a commission on student rights from responsibilities which does not comprise anyone from the athletics department and then is subject to final approval by the president. We have found that this statement has limited much of the tension and apprehension on the part of the student athlete. We like it. It's clear the air for us our coaches read this statement to each team prior to its first practice session and it's made for a wholesome atmosphere. Robert Brown athletic director at San Jose State College. The question of the student's responsibility to his institution was presented from another viewpoint that the Ivy League by Cornell University's athletic director Robert J Cain.
I think my special role here is to speak about our type of program. In the Ivy League and more specifically at Cornell. We do not have athletic scholarships and I think this has one bearing on the topic at hand today. The students responsibilities to esteem in that are scholarships. Now let me say at the outset that I think the Ivy League recruit as hard as any league in the country with so much knowledge wouldn't be quite as hard. But they do but it's a different sort of a set up in that all scholarships are based on need. Other coaches have very little to do if a scholarship is given at all. Nothing to do at all with the amount of
the scholarship. Our neat program is the same for all students athletes and non-athletes alive. I would like to point this out to you in defining just what that means. You have. Players on the same team. Might get almost full scholarship from the university on a need basis and you have other players who get nothing at all. And on our way in between. Psychologically there is a difference in how they approach that is the athlete approaches his membership in a team. He really has no commitment to a coach. He can stay up for this board and can quit this board whatever. So I see I think some of the things that are happening today happened to us
earlier. But when you come right down to it I think the relationship is somewhat the same in that members of the team who really want to play will accept the discipline of a fairer and firm discipline. Will be no problems those who don't particularly relish discipline and we have really very fine athletes who will just quit the team owner saw a Freshman year or sophomore year and they just do it on their own initiative. I think psychologically this is a little different than the half hour scholarship type of arrangement because it's purely an individual initiative. Personal Mission
I've noted in the past few years that they quit in larger numbers than they used to. Certainly in my day you didn't ordinarily. If you didn't make the first team or sophomore year because you figured that you had a junior and senior year to come up to it and you were willing to serve the apprenticeship. We find and I know this is not just Cornell but all of the Ivy schools I have found that they now quit earlier. They find it's just not worthwhile to spend too much time out there. If they're not playing or they're not on the varsity or not playing in the games. So this is a different situation. But the ones who are playing do it with great enthusiasm except discipline. In fact if I had one message to give to
this audience or to any of my colleagues in this rather wonderful business we're in. The worst thing you can do is to have a slip shod discipline. It has to be there and it has to be firm. But if you don't make it worthwhile from that point of view forget it. Robert J Cain athletic director at Cornell University speaking on the subject of the student athletes responsibility to his institution this has been special of the week presenting highlights from the recent meeting of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in Washington D.C. next week the series of programs on Intercollegiate Athletics will focus on recruiting. This edition of special of the week was produced by our enemy are at WFTDA Wake Forest University with special assistance from the staff of W am you in Washington.
This is an E.R. the national educational radio network.
- Special of the week
- Issue 21-70
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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