WORDS OF THE WEEK
An old friend of football stood up before the Downtown Rotary Club of Houston and prepared to speak. The luncheon guests pushed back their dessert plates and got ready for the kind of football gags and stories that make Bobby Dodd of Georgia Tech one of the blue-ribbon orators on the rubber-chicken circuit.
But Coach Dodd was in no laughing mood. College football, he told the Rotarians, is in trouble, and not only the coaches but educators, fans and sportswriters must share the blame. "If we can't keep college football in its place," he said, "I'm for giving it up. If we go on for five more years like this, I believe we're going to ruin the game. Football has gotten so big, so complicated that there's no such thing as staying in the middle. You've got to win—or else."
With the Rotarians still open-mouthed at this surprise attack, Dodd went on with his indictment. "There's too much praise heaped on coaches who intentionally violate rules of their profession." He challenged sports-writers to desist from "building up men as successful coaches" when they have built their records with a hand-picked squad of subsidized athletes. "If you think coaches like this care anything about these boys they recruit illegally, you're crazy," he went on. "They'd cut the boy's throat in a minute if it served their purpose. As long as these culprits are placed on a pedestal, how can you expect lots of others not to follow suit in bribing, in spoiling 17-and 18-year-old high school boys?"
Finally, Dodd pointed an angry finger at colleges whose blatant recruiting practices take them far afield of their own territory to build winning teams. "I know of at least two cases where whole teams have been recruited from an entirely different section of the country," he said. "When you do that you're getting mighty close to professional sports." He cited the case of the present University of North Carolina basketball team, now ranked first in the country by most sports-writers' polls. "All five of the starters are from New York," he said. He also mentioned North Carolina State, which, he said, has imported 14 of its 15 basketball players from northern and eastern states.
Same week, a few days later, President William Clyde Friday, new 36-year-old headman of the Consolidated University of North Carolina—and as such responsible for both the university at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State at Raleigh—set forth the doctrine that will govern athletics in his administration. President Friday offered his Board of Trustees a brisk seven-point statement of principles: henceforth all admission and academic standards will be set by the faculties alone; the chancellor of each institution will be responsible to the board for the proper administration of his athletic programs; only the scholarship committee of each will be allowed to award athletic grants-in-aid; detailed reports on the athletic programs must be made periodically by the chancellors to both their faculties and the Board of Trustees.
President Friday's trustees promptly endorsed his program by a vote of 81 to 0. Cheers for the new president could be heard throughout most of North Carolina.
The blunt words—both of Bobby Dodd and President Friday—seem to have come just at the right time.
MEETING IN ST. LOUIS
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's call for an investigation of rumors that a Missouri Valley Conference referee had been fixing basketball games for gamblers was answered this week. The MVC's Officials Committee will meet in St. Louis Sunday and, among other things, study movies of games refereed by the suspended John K. Fraser. Colleges were asked to send such films to St. Louis in time for the meeting.