ONE STEP TOO MANY
The Eastern College Athletic Conference, largest of the collegiate groups with 134 schools, has taken steps aimed at preventing basketball scandals—or, for that matter, any sports scandals. We applaud their actions—all but one.
Following what is apparently a nationwide trend, the conference has banned participation by its players in summer basketball leagues in camps, playgrounds and resort areas. The theory behind this move is that youngsters are apt to meet undesirable characters in such competition.
In the first place, college officials have absolutely no right to tell a student what he may not do during his summer vacation, except to insist that he remain an amateur if he intends to continue playing for his school. Second, the recent basketball fixes prove that many of the players who took bribes to shave points were reached right on their college campuses. Finally, the vast majority of summer leagues serve highly creditable purposes. They provide wholesome activity for thousands of college and pre-college youngsters who are at loose ends for several months. They provide the opportunity for players to improve their skills under the guidance of expert coaches who often donate their services without pay. They provide pleasure for thousands of spectators, nearly always without admission fees.
The ban is an attempt to direct public attention from the problems colleges face in their own backyards. It should be stricken.