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So much for the dissents. If they detract from the pleasing picture of Notre Dame football given by the school's survey, it is also true that the same amens make the picture more convincing in several ways. Only one man could be found—not for quotation—who felt that his coaches would sacrifice sportsmanship for victory. There were some scattered criticisms of "Hunk" Anderson for showing favoritism to certain players, and of Frank Leahy for overemphasis on winning, but the great majority felt that the coaches, these two included, had set fine examples for the players. With very few exceptions, the men are glad they went to Notre Dame. As Jack Alessandrini, captain of the 1952 team, explains: "The main thing about Notre Dame is its spirit. You take a walk on the campus and it creeps into you. I know it sounds odd and unexplainable to an outsider, but it's there. As a football player I used to walk the campus the night before a game and come in all steamed up and raring to go the next day. The students are all behind you, there is the tradition behind you, there is the honor of playing on a Notre Dame team. I guess we played over our heads nine out of 10 games a year because of the Notre Dame spirit."
Well, then, if the facts require at least a muted cheer for old Notre Dame, does it follow that all is well with intercollegiate football? Does the contentment of the Yankees make everything fine in Kansas City? Both as a check against the Notre Dame figures and in the interests of reaching some general conclusions about the intercollegiate game, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED conducted its own survey of four other schools. Questionnaires similar to those used for the Notre Dame study were sent to lettermen of the 1937 and 1946 football squads of Yale, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Southern California—about as good a cross section of big-time college football as the mind can imagine. The response was 55%, a slightly higher return than Notre Dame had from its own players and certainly big enough to form a reliable sample.
Old players like football
The most striking single result of this survey was the practically unanimous approval the old players gave to the game. They were glad they had played, they would like to do it all over again, football had contributed to their development in many ways (Characteristic comment: "Learned as many valuable lessons there as in class")—and those who have sons would in almost every case like them to attend their alma mater and play on the old team. Bad sportsmanship? Never—not at their school! Did the coaches have their best educational interests at heart? Certainly—said a great majority. Overemphasis on winning? No, sir—"Naturally you play to win; everybody wants to win"—although among Ohio State and Southern California players, as might be expected, there were criticisms of over-zealous fans and alumni, and some scattered condemnation, mixed with sympathy, for the modern coaches.
The only place where the harmony of the old players really broke down was on the morality of the "athletic scholarship" in its various forms. On the question of whether "athletes should be offered special inducements [cars, monthly checks, etc.] to enroll in college," the Yale men were unanimously and indignantly opposed. W. T. Dickens, '38, now an executive with a chemical engineering company, summed up the general view in his comment: "I feel that current emphasis on 'professionalism' and money-making needs of college athletics has appreciably degraded public respect for college football. The original intent of the sport has been obscured with concomitant serious effects on the character of present-day participants." The Yale men are against not only the extras but against athletic scholarships per se, although one or two indicated that athletic ability should be taken into consideration along with scholastic ability.
At Georgia Tech, B-R-T scholarships similar to Notre Dame's are given, and most of the 33 men who answered the questionnaire had been beneficiaries of them. Far from disapproving of this form of help, a good many commented that they would not have been able to attend school without it. However, all but four were against extras in any form, and three of these recommended the addition only of modest payments for "living expenses." All-America Paul Duke, team captain in 1945 and now a sales executive, believes, "...they should receive a full scholarship, with minimum expenses. This is the only way to combat illegal compensation." Robert Jordan, '48, adds a novel thought: "$500 to $1,000 cash on graduation—none if the player does not graduate."
At Ohio State the traditional method for helping a needy football prospect has been for the athletic department to find him a part-time job. And among a majority of the old grads, this still seems the proper way to do it: their comments include many admonishments about the lasting virtues of hard work and self-help. All-America ('45 and '46) Warren Amling, now a prosperous veterinarian, observes: "I feel that the game of football or any other sport should be played by the boy because he likes the game and the certain amount of glory, etc. that he receives. This may sound funny in this day and age, but that is the way I feel." His teammate "Wib" Schneider, an insurance salesman now, says, "Don't make it too easy—otherwise you have a rude awakening when you get out and have to work for a living." A number of the men, however, favor something approximating the Notre Dame B-R-T working scholarship idea. Among the 28 players who replied, there were only four in favor of "special inducements," two from each squad. Jack Wilson, four-year letterman ('46 through '49) and now in industrial relations management, has this to say:
"College football is run for the express purpose of making a profit. The one factor I do not particularly like about college football is the fact that it makes hypocrites out of young boys fresh out of high school and condones the philosophy of 'It isn't the deed that is wrong but getting caught at it.' ...Why not recognize that football is a business and allow the players to realize their pay in a legitimate and straightforward manner."
West Coast sensitive
The University of Southern California, like most of the Pacific Coast Conference schools, gives grants-in-aid to its athletes to cover tuition and fees and finds jobs for them to help cover other expenses. The recent suspensions of several of the Pacific Coast schools for under-the-table help from alumni, and the consequent general uproar, has put the former USC players in a reflective frame of mind—nearly all of them had something to say about "inducements." Almost all felt that the boys should be given more help than they are presently allowed under the conference rules, with many men suggesting some variation of the B-R-T working scholarship idea. Probably many of them would agree with the comment and suggestion of Robert Fisher, who won three football letters, now an executive of an electronic controls company: "I most certainly do not subscribe to such special inducements as apartments, well-paying jobs for poorly qualified wives, monthly checks for services not rendered, etc. However, under current proselyting practices you damn well do what the Romans do.... It is my considered opinion that a strong national code be legislated and vigorously enforced by the NCAA along the following lines: 1) Cease the current practice of a monthly wage or check from a "downtown" sponsor.... 2) Provide dormitory living for board, room and laundry. Waive lab fees, library fees and such other charges.... Provide the student-athlete a part-time job in which the return is ample for him to purchase books, clothing, miscellaneous items and provide him funds for recreation...Such work to be waived during the competitive season...."