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We do not, in short, intend to be trapped in the ceaseless cycle of first trying to find teams to match our players and then trying to find players the next year to match our competition. Our coaches know this and when talking to high school boys who are interested in coming to Hamilton they are acutely conscious of the academic requirements. Jones has said that he has "more concern with college board scores and IQ tests than does half the faculty."
One problem that has proved particularly vexing is scheduling. It is unfair to our students to send them out on the field against competition which we know will result in a lot of injuries. We also know that many people will think of us as being the same kind of college as those we meet in athletic competition. If we are to be so associated, then we want to play colleges which are comparable both athletically and educationally.
But what happens when we start winning? Hamilton faced this situation once before, when we were a small college "power" in one sport. We had one of the first covered hockey rinks of the East, and our hockey team made some headlines. But after the war, most of the small colleges that couldn't or wouldn't go to Canada for their material gave up hockey. Our teams, which are just as good as those we had in years when we were a "power," have difficulty today in even approaching a winning season. We have to have competition, and today's hockey competition—with few exceptions—is composed of superior talent.
At a Parents' Day luncheon a few years ago, I made the statement that "we de-emphasize intercollegiate athletics at Hamilton." Speaking after me, Mox Weber, our director of physical education, gently corrected my remark. "We don't de-emphasize intercollegiate athletics at all—we just put them in their proper place."
We do this by providing for three interlocking programs of physical education and athletics, of which intercollegiate competition is but one. Intramurals constitute a second section, and what we call our individual development program is the third. This latter consists of individual instruction, followed by voluntary participation in a number of different sports of the sort that will be useful in later life (such as golf and tennis). The wide variety of approved sports in the three programs makes it possible all year round for every student to engage in a form of athletics suited to his individual tastes.
Students participating in intercollegiate athletics have the same privileges and the same responsibilities as all other students. There is discrimination neither in favor of nor against them. All student scholarship aid is handled through the regular faculty scholarship committee and the offices of the secretary of admissions and the dean. We are looking for all-round boys who are more than just all-round athletes. An extensive program of intercollegiate sports—which includes contests in 13 sports—is promoted to enable nearly every student to participate. Annually, better than 50% of the student body engages in some intercollegiate contest.
Hamilton's record of taking students who are academic risks is actually cleaner in athletics than in other fields. Occasionally, on my own initiative, I have taken a "flyer" on a candidate of marginal ability, a student with some promise as a person, but one who is definitely a risk by our academic standards. Never has he been just a promising athlete.
Thus it is that we build a true college team, one of which our alumni can be proud simply because it is genuine. Our boys win, not hired hands. The alumni have been generous in their praise and support of the college (a majority send their sons here), and they have exerted almost no pressure to change the policy regarding admission of athletes.
When our alumni do start looking over candidates for the college's regional, alumni-picked scholarship recipients, we at the college entertain no thought that the athletic ability of the students is being completely ignored. But our graduates' knowledge of the college is such that we have never been asked to admit any athletic stumble-bums on alumni scholarships. Throughout the history of these regional scholarships, the athletic ability (if any) of the candidates has been, at most, a secondary consideration.