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is no direct connection between the Big Ten plan and the one proposed by Sports
Illustrated, the similarity is amazing. We were delighted when we saw Sports
Illustrated's Nine Points because they confirmed our thinking. When we read
them, we were struck with amazement by the fact that we paralleled so many of
them. The editors of Sports Illustrated and Herman Hickman must have given the
problem the same combination of realism and idealism that our people did
because we came out with the same points."
With these words the head of America's oldest formal collegiate athletic organization, the Western Conference or Big Ten, last week paid tribute to the recent efforts of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, on the eve of the current season, to provide a positive and honest solution for the college football crisis. "To bring football back to its rightful place," was the announced aim of the survey of facts and opinions which the editors of this magazine carried out and which Herman Hickman interpreted in two articles (SI, Aug. 6 and 13). College presidents, athletic directors, coaches, players and alumni from all over the country contributed to the survey, and the conclusions drawn from their statements were summarized in the program, "Nine Points for Survival," reproduced on the opposite page. It is now clear that for the leaders of the Big Ten Conference, after their deliberations on the results of their own seven-month study of conditions prevailing among their numbers, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's nine points accomplished what the editors hoped they would: "To serve the cause of college football as it is played in America today and help to preserve it in the name of the sportsmanship which should always be associated with it."
The Big Ten study led to the issuance last week of a 24-page report on principles and practice within the conference, and an interim report on a proposed financial aids program to guide the conference in the future. Tentative as yet, with many details still to be considered, revised or more thoroughly worked out, this program nonetheless shows clearly in what direction the proposed reforms will go: in virtually every respect the direction which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED said football must go if it is to survive. A final version of the plan will be presented at the conference meetings in December; it is hoped that the recommendations will be approved and in force by the 1957 season. By way of comparison, Commissioner Wilson this week went over SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's nine points one by one and made the following comments:
POINT ONE: Each prospective football player in order to obtain an athletic scholarship must be qualified for admission the same as any other student. "We think we have that at present."
POINT TWO: The applicant must show economic need. "That is the significant point in our plan. But we are doing more than to state a principle. We are in a position to implement it with the College Scholarship Service. This is the core of our plan." In brief, the intention is to allow a player to receive in aid only the difference between his own resources—parental support and earnings—and the cost of his education at the school he chooses. On this basis, no university can exercise an advantage over a rival by offering a higher contribution in relation to costs.
POINT THREE: Each player should receive through regular institutional channels, and only through these channels, sufficient financial aid to take care of his normal college expenses such as board, room, tuition and fees, books, laundry and dry cleaning. "We have that in our regulations at present."
POINT FOUR: All other financial aid, except that outlined in No. 3, is prohibited. "That is inherent in the Big Ten plan."
POINT FIVE: The acceptance of any aid, except that outlined in No. 3, shall result in immediate expulsion of the student involved. "I would prefer to see a boy declared permanently ineligible rather than expelled. However, we haven't discussed the penalty as yet."
POINT SIX: A fixed percentage of athletic scholarships—we suggest 75%—should be reserved only for boys in the conference territory of the college or university and its environs. "We have not considered this because more than 75% of our athletes come from the conference area. We do not think this is a problem for us."
POINT SEVEN: To receive an athletic scholarship and remain eligible for it, the recipient must take a regular course of study, of his own choice, leading to a degree. He must take a normal load of academic hours and maintain a satisfactory average. Before the beginning of his third year he must have attained the proper number of credit hours and quality points to become a full-fledged member of the junior class or his scholarship will be withdrawn. "We have that at the present time in our rules."