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Football, Hopkins proclaimed, was to be regarded as just one of many student extracurricular activities, of no more importance than wrestling, cross-country or any other sport or, for that matter, the glee club or the debating team. There would be no reason to favor a backfield star over a good baritone, no temptation for a school to put the gate before the game and seek profit from the exploitation of its athletic students.
But the heathen were unimpressed. Although several Ivy League schools sent representatives to Baltimore to study the Hopkins plan, most educators reacted in the same manner as Robert M. Hutchins, who wrote, "Nobody cares, athletically speaking, what Johns Hopkins does."
Nobody seems to care today—least of all at Johns Hopkins. One student said recently, "There's no sis-boom left in our football. Only the bah remains: Bah, who gives a damn!" He certainly didn't, for he was one of the many students who passed up the Franklin and Marshall game to watch the Game of the Week on television.
Most of the faculty doesn't seem to care, either. P. Stewart Macaulay, the school's executive vice-president, says he doubts if 20 of the 225 members of the undergraduate faculty give any support to the game.
The alumni are equally indifferent. Karl M. Levy, President of the Alumni Association and a lineman on the 1924-25 teams, says, "Attending a Hopkins game today is a bore. The students don't have any spirit, no one has any fun, we play in bush leagues and it's all pretty dreary."
Occasionally attempts are made to mobilize some sis-boom against the bah. Before last year's final game with Western Maryland, some of the student body tried to stage a pep rally. The rally's organizers offered free beer and two busloads of girls from a neighboring college as added inducements. Only 200 turned out. When Coach Wilson Fewster and the team's co-captains showed up to address the rally, one captain studied the scene, then said, "Those slobs are just interested in free-loading and making time. Damned if I'll waste my breath on them." The three men walked away and, as far as they know, were never missed.
What accounts for such a lackluster attitude toward a good team playing a good game? The majority of the students seem to blame the school's athletic policy. Of 20 students polled at random on the campus, six thought de-emphasis was "probably a good thing," but 14 felt it had taken "the kick" out of Hopkins' football. The dissenters argued that it was a mistake to treat football as just another game. To their minds, football was the "big" college sport and, as such, one that should be built up, not knocked down.
The president of the student council, David Adams, spoke for the majority when he said, "I think we definitely should do something for football here. I don't see anything wrong with football scholarships if they're only given to academically qualified players."
In what must surely be one of the most unorthodox remarks ever made by the president of any student council, Adams asked, "Why bother to go to a Hopkins game when you've got the University of Maryland, the Navy and the Baltimore Colts games? They give you your money's worth."
The morale of the Johns Hopkins football squad, understandably, is lackadaisical, even if their playing doesn't show it. If pregame interviews with eight players can be believed, not a single member of the team that clawed its way to victory over Franklin and Marshall is prepared to die for dear old Hopkins. One player, who refused to allow his name to be used, said, "None of us gives a damn about Hopkins. We play because we love the game. If we play well it's only because none of us wants to let the team down."