SI Vault
Herman Hickman
August 13, 1956
Summing up a nationwide survey of college presidents, athletic directors, coaches and alumni, the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED here present a program for action
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August 13, 1956

A Nine-point Program To Save The Game

Summing up a nationwide survey of college presidents, athletic directors, coaches and alumni, the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED here present a program for action

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"I've lost all hope for the PCC. I'm disappointed—no, disgusted with the men who are running this thing. They are all vindictive, hypocritical men too small to ever be placed in the position of such authority over human lives. They have set a far worse example by their actions than the athletic men whom they have judged and chastised. Athletes don't ask fancy fees for their talents, only an education. Don't try to make 'em pros. Just give 'em a free education. No convertibles, no cash—just education. The boy can earn money in the summers for cars, dates and clothes. The only fit solution is what many term ugly: the athletic scholarship—board, room, tuition, books, fees, laundry but not one dollar in cash."

Further north in the PCC, football is still reeling from the scandal of the Roscoe (Torchy) Torrance slush fund (SI, Feb. 20), which led to the University of Washington's football misery. In the wake of this upheaval, feeling is also strong that all money should now be channeled through universities' athletic departments. But there was defiance just the same. As one alumnus—like most in this touchy area, he preferred to remain anonymous—put it: "Under present conference regulations, I think such a fund is necessary. Ours was mishandled by Torchy, but it did a lot of good just the same."

Another, who contributes to Washington's legal grant-in-aid fund and was also a contributor to the Torrance fund, sadly concurred:

"This whole football thing has become confused. Because of so much publicity, there seems to be a sort of stigma attached to helping a kid through school. The feeling seems to have got around that a man is a crook because he helps an athlete to get an education.

"In some ways," this alumnus concluded, "I think Red Sanders at UCLA was the most honest guy of all. He saw to it that his football players got enough extra over the conference allowance to live on. Of course, it was illegal as far as the conference was concerned, and that's wrong. But he tried to see that everybody was treated the same."

So much for the PCC, that besieged citadel of grants-in-aid and the dollar honestly earned. What is the situation elsewhere, where the football-frantic alumnus must work through the universities if he wants to express his enthusiasm through donations?

Here lies the area of the athletic scholarship, the "free ride," which provides tuition, room, board, books, fees and up to $15 per month for incidentals. It is, to judge by the answers received to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S questionnaire, a far more satisfactory arrangement—but still inadequate. Many of the alumni clubs and booster organizations questioned stated their belief that more help, usually in cash form by individual alumni, was needed—and forthcoming.

In the great majority of cases the athletic scholarships are administered through the university, usually the athletic department. The money for them is raised by annual dues, and is presented either in the form of a direct donation, or used to pay the bills sent by the university for the items covered by the scholarship. The question arises: Who gets this aid—both scholarship and cash—and on what basis?

The question can be disposed of in short order. The president of a prominent southwestern booster club, who asked that his name be withheld, succinctly expressed the prevalent practice: "The athlete is judged on the basis of whether the coach tells us he wants him or not."

The organization for which this man spoke is dedicated "99%" to giving aid to football players, both in scholarships and individual help by individual members. In defending the practice, he added:

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