IVY LEAGUE ANACHRONISMS
To practice in the spring or not to practice in the spring? That is a question that has bothered the de-emphasizers of football for more than a decade. For a brief period after World War II the Pacific Coast Conference abandoned spring practice and then thought better of it, particularly with the Big Ten beating its teams regularly in the Rose Bowl. When the Ivy League was formalized in 1954 all eight of its members agreed to stop practicing in the spring.
This restriction on football—although not comparable with the radical experiment in de-emphasis conducted at Johns Hopkins, as reported on page 32—did help to bring the game into line as an undergraduate sport at a time when it was being used elsewhere as an institutional ad for various universities. But, as the unbeaten and untied Yale team of 1960 has now proved, it is possible for the Ivies to play the best kind of football in a de-emphasized atmosphere.
Does this also prove that spring practice is bad and should be abolished everywhere? Not at all. It is in the spring that varsity football players master the basic fundamentals so essential to this rough game. During the brief hours of practice available in the fall there just isn't time for the coaches to teach blocking and tackling and also drill the players in the intricacies of the offensive and defensive formations to be used from week to week. Without spring practice Coach Jordan Olivar of Yale had to suffer through one disastrous season and one mediocre season with most of this year's brilliant first-stringers in order to prepare them for their recent triumphs.
Were it not for the opposition of President A. Whitney Griswold of Yale, who tolerates football with only slightly concealed hostility, it is almost a sure thing that the Ivy League could agree to noncompulsory football practice in the spring and thus have a much better season in the fall—with fewer injuries to players and a higher level of performance among all eight universities.
And that brings up another superfluous restriction on football. Along with its ban on bowl appearances (which makes sense for the Ivy League since only a few of its players would want to give up their holidays for a bowl trip), the league forbids any of its senior players to take part as individuals in postseason games. That means they can't play in the Shrine East-West Game in San Francisco, an experience some men consider to be their greatest in college football. A good many Ivy Leaguers played in the Shrine game prior to 1954 without noticeable contamination.
Now that Yale has proved it can field one of the country's best collegiate football teams without overemphasizing, it is time for President Griswold and his fellow executives in the Ivy colleges to reconsider the bans on spring practice and postseason individual play. This would be a graceful moment to drop these archaic circumscriptions against Ivy football players.
HEADS, NOT HEADLINES
Fixes and rumors of fixes, clandestine deals and infiltration by mobsters have characterized boxing ever since it became big business in the '20s. But there are reasons to believe that public skepticism about the wholesomeness of the sport has never been deeper than it is today. Next week Senator Estes Kefauver and his subcommittee start their hearings in Washington, and it is our hope that as a result some heads will roll. The No. 1 boxing monopoly has been ended by the recent surrender of Jim Norris (SI, Oct. 10), but the game still has plenty of unsavory characters and dark corners. The main thing the investigation must do is give the public confidence that boxing is off to a fresh start. We trust that the inquiring politicians will be after lasting results, not quick headlines.