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BELL OF THE BALL GAME
John Underwood
September 10, 1973
Winner of the annual Wabash-DePauw battle gets to keep an old locomotive bell, assuming it is not stolen first. Last year it went to...
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September 10, 1973

Bell Of The Ball Game

Winner of the annual Wabash-DePauw battle gets to keep an old locomotive bell, assuming it is not stolen first. Last year it went to...

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"What on? The term paper, I mean?"

"Witchcraft."

"Gee whiz. See what I mean?" said Bowman, turning to me. The boy walked away. "Tommy's a fine boy. From Waco, Texas. We get 'em from everywhere. Hey, see that one over there? Tulsa, Okla. His father is with an airline. The family can fly for nothing. That's the kind to have."

"How do you get so many?" I said. There were 100 or more on the split-level field. Some were not the most athletic-looking specimens.

"Walk-ons, many of them. I don't cut anybody. And I write a lot of letters. We can't give a full scholarship, which makes it difficult because some schools in the conference can."

"Do you ever wish for the Big Time? I mean, coaching in it?"

"I made that decision a long time ago. I'm 41 years old. I couldn't go the other way if I wanted to. It's past me."

Later, over cocktails at Wood's house, a group of them—Bowman, Athletic Director Max Servies and a couple others—ganged up on me. I don't know what I said to start it, something about intercollegiate football at a small college being as impractical in today's world as a truck farm, but they swamped me with rhetoric. They said football was not there to make money; where had I been?

"Our budget's less than $100,000," Bowman said. "Gate receipts average about $7,000 a year. We can seat 4,200, and the only time we fill the stadium is for DePauw. No way to balance out."

"Athletics are for the kids, not the other way around," one of them said. "Athletics contribute to the educational experience."

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