THE KENTUCKY KERNEL
'Evolution of Sports, Especially in South, Is Discussed
By J. W. Provine, President of S. I. A. A.
association after membership was pease some irate citizen's wrath at
granted our college. I am familiar finding his favorite rooster's head unwith every evolution in athletics in the der your window; and, .as fine collatSouth for many years, and, while I eral proof of your guilt, a few feathmay know very little about how to ers shoved under your door by a
remedy our ills, you will accord to wicked pal. These were stirring days
of you turn
me one virtue that of sincerity in and at this moment-soms
longingly to the
Permit me to say at the outset that but excuse me.
I was not an athlete in college, never
Boys studied more in those days;
or, great and good men were developed.
having participated in
games of any kind. At There was a high standard of honor
this time I consider this with very' among men; there was the highest remuch regret. My college life fell in spect for women; there was a keen
the 80's when croquet, marbles and! desire to render a great service to
occasionally a game of baseball hem country and fellowmen.
But a revol- sway. When the idle hours of stu- tion has taken place in student life
long poker and thinking. Some of it is good;
dents were taken up with
games, nightly visits to our best some bad. The few sports we had in
friend's chicken roost, whiskey drink- those days have given place to thosel
ing to a shocking extent, carousals in things which call for all the nerve,
the dormitories to annoy those in au- physical endurance of the highest
some unpopu- type, and skill in all the major and
lar professor's door, tying an animal minor sports found in practically all
on the chapel rostrum, painting the colleges and universities of our counpresident's family mare, or giving her try.
tail a close clip; or perhaps hoisting
"We indulge the hope that in the col
the family vehicle to the top of the leges and universities of Germany and
tallest campus oak. These and many other continental countries a good
other heroic feats which many of you form of college athletics may soon rerecall with glowing pride. Long place the beer halls and the fighting
hours were taken by the faculty in a stalls where many long hours were
tedious trial with many witnesses try- spent in students slashing each other's
ing to convict some boy of gambling faces with rapiers till a normal man
and drunkenness, or an attempt to ap- - would grow sick at the sight of the
In a recent issue of the Gold and
Black of Birmingham-Souther- n
peared the following article by J. W.
Provine, of Mississippi College and
president of the S. I. A. A. Be- -'
cause of the great amount of criti-- j
cism directed against collegiate sports
in recent years, The Kernel republishes this article in the hope that it
may tend to throw new light on this
great collegiate problem.
Allow me a word personal by way
of introduction athletically. My rela- tion to the Southern
Athletic Association, of which I have
the honor to be president at this time,
dates back many, many years, even
"when that prince among men, Dr.
Dudley, of Vanderbilt, was the presiding officer and the inspiration of the
highest ideals in the assocition. I
have never missed a meeting of the
Rent A New Chrysler
Watch and Optical Service
DR. R. O. WARREN
Registered by State Board Examination
199 South Upper Street
To almost all of our colleges have
come the most strenuous forms of in
in all forms of athletics. Is it good,
bad, or indifferent ? Permit me to say
as an observer and a participant for
more than forty years as a student, a
professor and as an executive, I am
committed unreservedly without pre
judice to the new order of athletics in
our colleges. I believe with my whole
heart in every form of athletic sport
indulged in by our boys, both intraprovided
it develops the physical and moral
and mental stamina of the men; all
under the strictest control of the faculty and those in authority.
It is regrettable to feel that the
statement on my part sets up a prejudice in the minds of some of you
learned and distinguished ladies and
gentlemen that renders it useless for
me to speak further. In your minds J
am wrong; just another one of those
on football, whose opinions is to be disapproved. Please to
hear me through before passing final
judgment, and assume an attitude of
benevolence toward that fine boy of
yours, of your neighbor's, and also a
position of benevolent sympathy toward those in authority over your
wonsons and daughters for
derful years of their college life.
There is much criticism in the pub
lic mind which is unjust hurtful and
1. Less than a score ot men play
football. Hundreds and thousands do
You forget that this
score of men are only the best of per
haps of 100 who have trained for the
game; so with every kind of game m
college. The sum total of all includes
a large per cent of your student body.
Our departments of English and oratory include at least 95 per cent of a
student body. We select one of the
whole number for our
oratorical contests. We select a half
dozen men from fifty in training for
debating contests, and so through the
whole of college endeavor, and not a
word of criticism. Why be harsh
and unreasonable when we speak of
2. Few play and 95 per cent wear
out their trousers and lungs on the
side lines. Does it occur to you that
the average student has the opportunity to see only two or three or four
football games per year? No college
plays over eight or nine games per
year of two hours each. Should the
side line artists not be permitted to
yell for a few minutes each .year, pro
vided our side is winning? Surely so.'
Our severest critics are those who are
so prejudiced that they will not even
come to see a game.
To the casual observer who drops in
on a game of football and sees a
seething, yelling mass of men and
women for two hours, he easily gete
the impression that that is the whole
of college. By no means. You forget that a college year is thirty-si- x
weeks long with many lessons, lec
tures, exams, failures, successes; and
only a few short hours are given over
to this delirium.
3. Some critics of our colleges drew
some indictments against us recently.
One was that the majority of the stur
dents spent much time in "shooting
bull" about athletics instead of at
tending literary societies and discus
sing the more weighty things of col
lege life looking to the moral development of men. That is true. They do
"shoot bull," but I'd rather have that
than poker games, chicken suppers,
carousals, and drunks as in former
4. Men gamble on games they say,
Yes, men do that, I am told. So do
gamblers bet on everything. They bet
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THE LEXINGTON PLAYERS
At The Opera House
on how many miles a ship will sail
hours. They will bet
each twenty-fou- r
on heads or tails upon a penny thrown
in the air. They will bet on which
cock will win a fight or the best dog.
But in all of my experience 1 have
never witnessed a bet laid on the outcome of a college football game.' Of
course it is done. We regret that.
Let us be slow to condemn a thing
which we do not like because some
gambler gets in on it.
5. The students waste time and
Not unduly. There. is lost
in everything. We admit
sometimes there is apparently a waste
of time and money, and frequently
this waste is true, but let's judge the
general effect and not isolated cases.
Colleges spend too much money
on athletics and equipment. So far as
the colleges composing the S. I. A. A.
are concerned, this is not true. I make
bold to say that there is not a small
college in the South such as compose
the membership of the Southern
Athletic Association, which
is spending an excessive amount of
money on either athletics, coaches, or
equipment. I fear they are spending
Salaries Not Large
Recently I was challenged publicly
by a fine group of intelligent, friendly
critics on this point. I could honestly
charges of dedeny the
bauchery in our athletic matters. In
most cases, if not all, the coaches in
S. I. A. A. colleges receive not more
salary than a professor, and in most
colleges he receives less. After these
gentlemen had finished the extracting
process, I placed them on the witness
stand. First I asked if they would
admit that a well rounded man must
have his mental, moral and physical
qualities properly developed and articulated. This they readily did. True
to my instinct as a teacher, I began
to ask foolish questions. If you must
is most important, name it.
One would name the spiritual, another
mental, and .another physical. No
teacher in his class room caft or
should try to separate the mental and
moral. No. man with enough sense
to get out of the rain should' disregard the third attribute.
Financially, which should receive
the major amount? Most of them
agreed that since God had given us
this fine temple of the mind and soul
it should receive just consideration.
What is just? Some said half; some
but none less than that.
When the auditor's report of Mississippi College was carefully digested,
it revealed the rather startling
fact that only 8 2 per cent of the
entire income of the college was going to the physical training department, which included all athletics and
equipment and 92 2 per cent went
to train the men's minds and morals.
Is that too much ?
I am impressed that this college is
even more liberal towards the physical
development than most of our smaller
When many of us older men were
in college, what was the average lifetime of man? less than 36 years.
Now it is 44 years. What gave the
young man of today this extra eight
years? Of course care of the body.
I say without hesitancy that no department in any college today is receiving more careful attention, none
which is hedged about with more rules
or work. It is given as much attention
as all others combined, generally, so
far as "This thou shalt do, and this
thou shalB not." Most of our South
ern colleges and universities operate
under a code of rules the most wholesome and exacting in this American
Every caution possible is
thrown around the college and the student to preserve to the limit the ama
teur status of the player. Are those
rules respected by the colleges and
students ? I am prepared to speak for
S. I. A. A. institutions only. On the
whole there is the deepest respect
for these rules. Are there any viola
tions? Certainly. Just as there is
violation of that fine and wholesome
law against murder and arson. What
is done with offending colleges and
student athletes in violation of rules?
They are disciplined with promptness
and severity. These rules and regu
lations are changed from year to year
by the best thought in this country
on athletic matters, always striving
to throw around the colege and stuDo
dent every protection possible.
these rules work for the best interest
of all concerned ? Most positively they
Three years ago one fine college of
this territory, in order to qualify for
membership in the S. I. A. A., dis
missed its coaching staff and nineteen
football men as
of its twenty-thre- e
ineligible. Today that same college is
enjoying full fellowship in the Asso
ciation and they are largely spared
this eternal bickering' and unhappi-nes- s
coming of unprofessional conduct
on the part of players. Another let
its coaches go and a large per cent
of its athletes in order to qualify for
membership in the athletic association and the Southern Association of
Another suffered suspension from
the Southern Association of Colleges,
I was told, because professionalism
got possession of the institution, due
to the most annoying of all problems
the meddlesome interference in internal affairs of the college by the
alumni and the sporting element of
the town.Another was blacklisted by all S. I.
A. A. colleges, because this college
persisted in playing a man in the face
of a telegram from the secretary of
the American Baseball Association
that this man had played professional
ball in America.
Have the rules of the association in
the South teeth? They have, as the
transgressors find out.
The Executive Tlommittee of the as
sociation permitted a game of football on New Year's day at Jacksonville, Fla., between an S. X. A. A. team
and a college in Pennsylvania, said
game to be played under S. I. A. A.
rules. With both teams on the ground
Friday night before the game was to
be played Saturday, a desperate ap
peal came-- to allow four men of the
Pennsylvania college, barred by the
rules, to participate to save the game
from a total collapse. There could be
but one reply. This S. I. A. A. col
lege had sailed under sealed orders,
fidelity to its oath of allegiance de
manded the faithful execution of these
orders. A guarantee of $10,000 in a
future game was offered, but th
president of. this college, turned a
deaf (ear to every proposition and
notified the committee of the city that
his men would not go on the field un
less there was delivered into his hands
a signed pledge of all concerned that
the regulations would be respected.
The game was played under that
pledge. The president of the S. I. A.
A. made a trip more than a thousand
miles to determine whether or not
this member college had been unfair
or unethical toward the city of Jacksonville and if so to be censured and
At the convention of the Southern
Association of Coleges in Charleston,
S. C., in December, 1925, President
Sanford, of Southern
Conference, made some pertinent and
helpful suggestions for improvement
of the athletic situation in our colleges. Chiefly they were: (1) Limiting absence of teams from college
classes to five days during the season
for one sport; (2) discouraging inter
collegiate participation of freshman
teams, and limiting the number of
games; (3) discouraging intersection-a- l
games and a few
other helpful suggestions. His speech,
you will recall, met with almost .riotous approval. The S. I. A. A. in con
vention the following week endorsed
the main points and today all or putting them into effect.
No college can hope to have, clean
amateur athletics with a
faculty chairman of athletics and a
coach holding adverse views. If your
coach wobbles, there is no force within
the college which can keep the engine
on the track. If you have a faculty
chairman weak in the faith and a
coach with low ideals, your case is
The college executive who permits
conditions to exist in the athletic department which undermine the integ
rity of his college will sooner or later
have to surrender his commission to
If there is one harsh criticism of
that magnificent group of men, the
executives of our Southern colleges
it would be this. Why do they sit
indifferently and allow sappers to
plant dynamite under them instead of
strangling them at first sight?
Long observation teaches me that a
college president can know the .drift
of sentiment in his college towards
purity of athletics, if he wants to
know, and furthermore if he has the
backbone to do so, he can control that
sentiment, if taken in its incipiency.
If unable to control, he soon becomes
a victim of his folly. The most subtle
and deadening influence we must combat in the athletic life of our colleges
is the outside help proffered by the
alumni and sympathetic friends. They
are sincere on the whole, but because
they help financially they get the idea
that they have certain rights to suggest what coach should be had and the
players to be used.
I sat with a great governor of a
great state at a football game last
fall. He astonished me when he said,
"Why. don't you college men lay aside
"Other Peoples Business"
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given to sixty-thre-e
whom were appointed last year.
Students of any institution are eligible to try for the awards, which are
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out outside dictation or financial assistance. Let those in authority see
to it that their college faithfully lives
up to the laws governing the athletic
The sum of $447,000 is invested in
association of which it is a member. the houses and lots of the 23 fraternities
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and 8 sororities on the University
j of West Virginia campus, according to
A bill proposing a required physical a survey just compieiea. rive oi me
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in our colleges.
3. Stimulate in our students the
highest ideals for clean, manly sports.
4. Let our college authorities run
the athletic affairs of the college with-
are We Ready
The Play With a Moral
fair in judgment toward amateurism
Students of Any Institution Are
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For the lovers of the
2. Teach the public to be
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Awards Are Announced
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your hypocrisy and openly declare
professionalism in your athletics in
college?" My reply was equally frank.
"You know little or nothing of the
fight the colleges are making to sustain high ideals among our men,
and- in the second place such a policy
would the be utter annihilation, athletically, of the" small college and ultimately the larger as well."
The upstanding American is at
heart the best sport in the world. He
wants a fair fight. He will brook no
other. He wants to see the best team
win, when they are placed on equal
footing. The gambler is selfish. He
wants one man to win, because it pays
The spectators at our college games
are the best sports in this country.
They want clean men. They demand
fair play. Therefore, let us stimulate
in our men the finest idealism for
nothing short of that is safe or sane.
In conclusion, and to repeat, if we
are to improve our athletic situation:
1. That we are operating under the
finest athletic code of laws in the