POINT EIGHT: The
responsibility for proper practices of recruitment and subsidization of players
should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the head football coach. "In
our plan, coaches are putting their jobs on the line if they deviate. So, for
that matter, are the schools; if investigation were to show that such deviation
is part of a school's policy, in all likelihood the school would be thrown out
of the conference."
POINT NINE: The
"athletic dormitory" and the year-round training table should be
abolished. "Under our present rules, the year-round training table is
prohibited. The athletic dormitory does not exist in the Big Ten, though there
is no rule against it. But we would make one if necessary."
The six men who
worked on the Big Ten survey and drew up the tentative program for reform,
which Commissioner Wilson was comparing with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Nine Points
for Survival, are all of them closely identified with the game. Their opinions
carry the full weight of experts who for years have stood on the firing line:
H. O. (Fritz) Crisler of Michigan, Ivan Williamson of Wisconsin, Verne C.
Freeman of Purdue, Leslie W. Scott of Michigan State and Commissioner Wilson
himself. And there was no doubt that they shared SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's concern
for the future of the game. Facts and figures gathered in the seven months'
investigation and published in their survey made the crisis threateningly
"Out of 258 Conference football lettermen in 1955, 246 had been interviewed
or corresponded with prior to matriculation, by football staff members. Of the
remaining 12, only six came to college with no knowledge on the part of the
football staffs of their college intentions.... In other words, more than 95%
had been actively recruited and almost 98% had been screened.
visits prior to matriculation for the purpose of interviews with coaching
staffs are the rule. A survey indicates upwards of 500 prospective
student-athletes will visit each Conference school this year.... Entertainment
of prospects in 1946 was an incidental expense, but for the current year
averages almost $5,000, running as high as $13,600. Whereas in 1946 it was
exceptional for visiting [prospects] to be provided meals or lodging, today
over 95% receive either or both.
to alumni or friends of the school, these individuals are being systematically
organized into clubs for the specific purpose of inspiring contacts and
arranging campus visits, in contrast to the original Conference concept of
individual and voluntary alumni activity....
"The trend is
reflected in the development of the prospect as a 'shopper' and the emergence
of a type known as the 'peddler,' who may be a parent, a high school coach, or
a self-appointed agent. Their activity is illustrated by printed 'fliers' which
the Committee has seen, prepared to advertise the wares of a boy for the
interest of coaches. Conference coaches have received offers to induce the
enrollment of outstanding prospects on a fee basis. There actually was an
attempt in Chicago, only recently, to set up a clearing house in the nature of
a central recruiting bureau which would provide information on prospects
including their abilities and their interests."
"The marked increase in the volume of aids to athletes can be documented.
On the basis of reports filed with his office the Commissioner estimates this
increase (covering unearned aid and on-campus jobs but excluding off-campus
employment) to be almost 550% since 1948.
amount of aid per athlete, according to this study, has increased from $47 in
1948 to $260 in 1955. These amounts are not imposing, although one school
reports aid to 187 listed as athletes amounting to $759 per man, because the
base takes in all athletes, in all sports, and includes freshmen numeral
winners in all sports as well. The figures...become imposing when they
represent the aid to varsity football and basketball players. A special study
has just been completed, covering nine schools and their 370 football and
basketball lettermen in 1955-56. This shows unearned and campus job assistance
for those squad members totaling $225,637, or an average of $609.83 for each
and 1955 the volume of unearned aid to athletes, as reported to the Conference,
jumped from $56,694 to $348,688—an increase of more than 600%. (This increase
paralleled, but practically doubled, an estimated 310% increase in scholarship
aids to Conference undergraduate students generally, which are reported to have
gone from $916,000 to $2,850,000 in the same period.)