Encouragingly, Paul Hornung was quick to realize his error. Unlike the recalcitrant Alex Karras, who thought himself railroaded, Hornung has been contrite and has tried to say all the right things. He says if he had it to do over again he would still "tell all" to Commissioner Rozelle. "Hell, yes, I would. I broke the rule. I'm guilty. And what anybody else might have been doing wrong is no matter to me." Hornung admits he is not sure of all the implications of the rule he violated, and he does not consider his action "immoral," but he knows for sure his conduct "wasn't kosher."
Still to be determined is what sorcery could make a Paul Hornung risk his handsome neck and handsome way of living by assaulting, as he did, a rule he can read on every locker room wall in the National Football League. The answer is not too hard to find. In a sense, Paul Hornung was indoctrinated to excess at age 17 with the coming of the first high-pressure college recruiter ("I wasn't offered a car or anything big like that," he recalls, "but in some cases I was promised extra money"). So sought after was he that Paul (Bear) Bryant, now at Alabama but then coach at the University of Kentucky, brought the governor of Kentucky to the modest Hornung apartment in Louisville to help charm Hornung into accepting a scholarship in 1953. Bryant has since said he would have stayed at Kentucky three more years had he landed Hornung. He did not get Hornung, however, principally because of Hornung's mother, whose abiding dream was for her son to go to Notre Dame. Hornung was asleep in another room when the governor came to call, and Mrs. Hornung did not bother to wake him up.
As a Notre Dame man, Hornung found that he could rationalize the firing of his former coach, Terry Brennan, for being "too young," even though Brennan had been hired five years earlier when he was five years younger. Hornung called it part of the game. Used to special treatment as a pro star, it seemed natural to Hornung that the U.S. Army obligingly gave him weekends off so that he might continue his career with the Packers. He had found he could scarcely get out of the way of people wanting to do him favors and give him money. It was by this time quite easy to take lightly "a simple little wager" of $100 or $200. The money didn't mean much to him, why should the rule? After all, he said, "I'm just another one of the vehicles in this business."
The point about Paul Hornung, of course, is that he is not unique among American athletes. Commercial sport is a business. The people who run it—whether they be college presidents or owners of big league ball clubs—want to be successful. They are successful if they win, and they win when they have the best players. But this drive to excel puts terrifying, almost unreasonable pressure on good athletes such as Hornung. Small wonder that the values of such gifted athletes become relative and that rules become playthings to be toyed with. The young men often develop what ex- West Point Coach Earl Blaik calls a what-the-hell attitude.
They also take their confusion into adult life. Wes Santee, the former star miler, who now sells insurance in Lawrence, Kans., was banned from amateur running for life for accepting $1,500 in "extra" expense money. He reserves the right to be especially critical of promoters who run amateur meets, and he blames them for his downfall. "If a track meet promoter or official tells a boy, 'The present rule on expenses is antiquated. Here's two or three times what you are legitimately supposed to get,' why expect the kid to be simon-pure? I remember when I first began running well. This promoter called to ask if I'd compete in his meet. 'How much expenses do you want?' he said. I didn't know what to say. I was a greenhorn. He said, "Would $800 be enough?' My eyes almost popped out. I was green as a young runner, then, but I became a pro real quick."
A question of right
"Did I do wrong to accept these fees? I still don't know. I do know they never stop. After I had got the temporary court order to permit me to keep running, I went to Boston for a meet. I was in trouble. You would think everyone would have been extremely careful. But after the meet one of the officials handed me a program, saying, 'Here's a souvenir for you.' When I opened it there was a $50 bill stuck inside."
This, as anybody who has followed 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 by last September. One assistant at another southern school quit his job recently when he became sickened by the ruthless measures his superior was using to get scholarships 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 an 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 termed 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."