Amateur College Sport:
An Untenable Concept
in a Free and Open Society
THE RISE OF the professional coach was a major force in the early movement in American intercollegiate athletics to adopt a professional model. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was clear that the professional model produced victories. Only those with idealistic blinders on, such as Outing editor Caspar Whitney, believed that the amateur sport model would outlast a professional one in America. Only Whitney, or someone of his ilk, could claim in 1894 that professional sport was dead in America and that true amateurism had conquered all. Men's intercollegiate sport had accepted much of the spirit of professionalism as its own. Yet college athletics expressed an amateur ideal during this period, as it did nearly a century later. One might say that Americans for well over a century have tended to profess amateurism while they have exhibited the professional spirit in most areas of "amateur" sport. This was no more apparent than in intercollegiate athletics. Why have Americans accepted the professional model, and why have they felt the need to justify their actions in the name of amateur athletics?
The historic amateur-professional dilemma in college sport required, as all dilemmas do, a choice between equally undesirable alternatives. The collegiate dilemma might be stated as follows: if a college has truly amateur sport, it will lose prestige as it loses
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Publication information: Book title: Sports and Freedom: The Rise of Big-Time College Athletics. Contributors: Ronald A. Smith - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 165.
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