The tremendous prestige power of the American Council on Education descended upon the problem of college athletics Saturday and prepared the way for the eventual elimination of out-of-season practices and bowl games not only in the Ivy Group but in all accredited American schools.
Council approval of a plan for sports reform does not mean, however, that most colleges and universities will abandon spring practice this year. Hugh C. Willett president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, said last night, "The action taken by the American Council on Education will have no immediate effect on the policies of the NCAA."
Two Different Groups
The apparent confusion between the two groups stems from the fact that the Council is made up of 976 colleges plus 145 national educational organizations, one of which is the NCAA. The Council can not force its members to adopt its suggestions, but any college which ignores Saturday's dictum on athletics is likely to find itself without official recognition, just as it would if its educational methods were below standard.
Harvard, the CRIMSON was told last night by a high University official, "has seldom if ever bucked the Council's recommendations on any type of policy." The same official promised that a statement on Harvard's spring practice policy would be issued very soon, presumably within the next week.
The current tiff between the NCAA and the Educational Council over the seven-point program issued Saturday has no theoretical bearing on Harvard's stand on sports policies. The Ivy Group has been considering banning out-of-season sports ever since Yale announced its dropping of spring football, and the Ivies can make their own conference rules as strict as they want. Bowl game appearances, for example, have long been prohibited to Ivy Group schools.
Eventual Submission Seen
Whether the other conferences and groups in the NCAA will adopt the ACE's suggestions on sports is a difficult question, but Willett hinted last night that eventually they will. He emphasized that the schools in the NCAA also belong to the ACE and that the NCAA "is now, as always, completely responsive to the will of its members, as expressed by their presidents or controlling boards."
The seven-point program, which also forbids the use of freshmen in varsity contests and limits basketball practice, was drawn up by 11 college presidents and approved by the executive committee of the ACE. President Conant is not a member of the 11-man group, contrary to an Associated Press story of last week, but is on the executive committee.
The NCAA can decide to adopt the ACE's proposals either at its next meeting in January 1953 or at a special meeting.