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Those award winners who went to small colleges and who have kept in close touch with football at similar schools feel that the schools have kept their sense of proportion. "At my college, Colgate," says Howard L. Jones, president of Northfield and Mt. Hermon preparatory schools in Northfield, Mass., "football does not 'wag the dog.' It is played with zest—we enjoy winning—but the general conviction is that what happens in the classroom is of greatest importance."
The contrast between the attitude toward football at a large university and a small college is pointed out by Dr. Martin Hilfinger, who was co-captain at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. and is now involved in cancer-research projects. "At the 'emphasis' schools, the attitude is almost ridiculous. The only goal is making the top 10 and then going on to a bowl to add to the school's finances. A coach's job can be at stake on the outcome of a single game. If the whole interest is to win at any cost, the game is not a good influence. Football should be only part of a student's life. Many schools have lost all sense of proportion in their efforts to recruit players. I'm not aware of any college seeking out prospective top scholars."
Only four of the 1963 award winners thought that today's players were apt to be tempted by gamblers, and all of these attributed this more to the times than to football. "In every area of society," says V. Earl McCaleb, "there has been a general breakdown in high moral standards of conduct. Society fails to condemn such things as cheating, dishonesty, immorality. Everything is easier nowadays for the unscrupulous."
Some of the award winners, in contrast, feel that only extremely rarely will a player be susceptible to bribery. Fred W. Heitmann Jr., former guard at Northwestern and now a bank president in Chicago, says flatly, "College football players are not and never have been an easy prey to gamblers."
Opinion was sharply divided when the question of present-day recruiting practices was considered. Allie Reynolds feels that overzealous recruiting causes many athletes to become more interested in sports than in education. He is in favor of holding a college's recruiting to a specified geographical area.
"The number of good players coming out of high school is limited," points out Jerome (Brud) Holland, an All-America end for Cornell and now president of Hampton Institute in Hampton, Va., "so there is bound to be overemphasis on the true worth of the sought-after player in relationship to the need of the college. In the larger, state-supported schools, where a winning football team brings in money for other activities, recruiting is much more aggressive than it used to be."
Fred Heitmann speaks with approval of the Big Ten grant-in-aid program. "A prospective student," he says, "must have a satisfactory rank in his class and a minimum college board score before he can even be considered by a Big Ten school. Once admitted, he must maintain a certain average to continue to receive aid. There still remains in some schools the practice of allowing athletes to take courses that require little effort to pass, and this is a bad influence."
Opinion was divided, too, on the influence wielded by alumni on the football team. Victor Bottari, the All-America from California, and Dr. Charles Sprague, who played at SMU, think alumni pressure on the school to field a winning team and their efforts to induce players to attend their school have decreased. "Alumni are saner nowadays," says Bottari, an insurance man now.
"When I went to school," recalls Dr. Sprague, Dean of Tulane's School of Medicine, "conference rules were not so stringent, and the scramble for talent was more informal. So it was quite possible that a good high school player would be offered a convertible to attend a particular college."
An entirely opposite view is expressed by Allie Reynolds. "Alumni pressure," he says, "is evident in every phase of present-day football except the actual conduct of the game itself. This is obvious from the great lengths schools go to to build winning teams."