Today you have to work so hard to succeed in sports that your opportunity to make a living or stay in school is often impaired. So we have a choice: crack down on many of the other nations or help our athletes. I prefer to help the athletes because I prefer a high level of sport.
I see a spirit of change. I think today the AAU presents a younger image, more advanced thinking. I find myself in sympathy with virtually all the demands Hal Connolly and the athletes [United Amateur Athletes] recently made. I think young athletes will realize we are sympathetic, and I don't believe they did before.
The challenge of the NCAA has been good for us. It made us tougher. We're doing a more efficient job. We haven't settled the feud with the NCAA, but I think it can be settled. Before, there were some antagonistic personalities involved: Don Hull, Pinky Sober, Dan Ferris and several others who were thorns in the sides of the NCAA people. On the other hand, Mr. Walter Byers has been our special thorn. He seems dedicated to destroying the AAU, and it's unfortunate that a man who wields the power he does should feel that way.
If I have to, I'll go directly to Mr. Byers to settle this dispute. I'm going to put the monkey on the NCAA's back, make it known that since we've done the things they demanded in the beginning, what is it they want now? Or is it really their desire to take over all amateur sport?
My hope is that the real hierarchy of the NCAA, the college presidents and the coaches, will realize that the kids are in the middle. It's up to us to get them out.