How Amateur Are Canadian “Amateurs”?
LOU E. MARSH
There is no sporting writer in the Dominion better qualified to speak on this subject than Mr. Marsh, whose articles on sport are read and acknowledged as authoritative throughout the country, and whose knowledge of Canadian sport takes in practically every popular branch of professional sport as well as amateur athletics.
THE amateur law in Canada must either be enforced or amended to suit the trend of the times.
Amateur sport in certain fields in Canada as well as the United States has become a busines , and the modern “we must win" spirit has sapped the foundation of all amateur sport which is "the game for the game’s sake.” That being so, the situation must be recognized as belonging to the times and the amateur rule amended to meet the situation.
If you listen to the din of some "fifteen minute eggs,” star athletes in some of our most popular—and moneymaking—sports care as little about the amateur code as One Eyed Connolly cares about the limericks of Homer Cayenne. Tune in on station M.O.A.N. with them, and they will come mighty close to convincing you that real amateurs among the star hockey, rugby, lacrosse and baseball players are as scarce in Canada as skate sharpeners are in Central Africa. Trying to tell them anything else is about as easy as making a bull a birthday present of a red parasol.
If you believe in the real spirit of the amateur code as laid down by the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada, the “lily whites" are really scarce among the "big boys” of the games which drag down big gates. Those who even live up to the letter of the code are few and far between. But to convict amateurs of breaches of the amateur code is about as easy as it is for an elephant to kick a flea in the shins. Everybody who is mixed up in amateur sport knows that there are plenty of things going on which are not according to Hoyle, but for the amateur moguls to prove them is a horse from a different stable.
Well, most of the boys concerned will swallow affidavits with all the gusto of an ostrich dining on golf balls, and the folks who have the goods on them dare not cut loose because, in most instances, they are mired as deeply as the players concerned. If they did spew up the mess the neighbors would show them the adjacent scenery from a splintery rail with hot tar and feathers thrown in free. The trouble is that nine out of ten people interested consider the amateur code a joke.
Here is the Code
HEPVE is the definition of an amateur as laid down by the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada, the governing body for amateur sport in Canada—
An amateur is one who has never:
(A) 1. Entered or competed in any athletic competition for a staked bet, moneys, private or public, or gate receipts.
2. Taught or assisted in the pursuit of any athletic exercise or sport as a means of livelihood.
3. Received any bonus or payment in lieu of loss of time while playing as a member of any club, or engaged in’any athletic sport or exercise, or any consideration whatever, for any service as an athlete, except actual traveling or hotel expenses.
4. Sold or pledged his prizes.
5. Promoted an athletic competition for personal
SAINOTE—An athlete guilty of any of the above offences
can never be reinstated.)
(B) An athlete who has competed with or against a professional for a prize or where gate receipts are charged or a collection taken up (except as may bespecially provided for by the By-Laws of the A.A.U. of C.) or has entered in any competition under a name other than his own, shall be ineligible .or registration and competition a3 an amateur.
(NOTE—Such an athlete may be eligible for reinstatement.)
(C) All others shall be considered eligible for registration
and competition in the A.A.U. of C. and its affiliated bodies, unless otherwise provided in the By-La^vs of the Union adopted under this Constitution.
To begin with, the rule is obsolete. It went out of date with high-wheeled bikes and Dundrearies. It is fifty years old and needs drastic re-vamping to make it gibe with the modern idea of amateurism in athletics.
Some Barriers to Jump
THE very first barrier to amateurism in Article A, Clause 1—“entered or competed in any athletic competition for a staked bet”—puts fifty per cent, of amateur athletes in games where there is any wagering beyond the pale.
How many athletes can take an affidavit that they have never competed in an athletic event on which they have had a wager?
Come on! Speak up, you hockey players, baseball players, golf players, paddlers, oarsmen, lacrosse players, soccer players. Anybody! Speak up!
Why, most of them do it—but who cares so long as he bets on his team, his crew, or himself to win?
You can toss that one out right now.
Clause 2.—“Taught or assisted in the pursuit of any athletic exercise or sport as a means of livelihood.”
That stands by itself and is not pertinent to this article, though there is always a question in my mind as to whether or not a Y.M.C.A. or a playgrounds instructor is any more a “pro” for the purposes of competition than an officer of a club or athletic association or athletic body of any sort who
accepts an honorarium for services he has rendered to his club, association or body. By the way, what is there in the definition of an amateur or the amateur rules to prevent a club electing every one of its players to an office in the club and then giving him his split at the end of the season in the form of an honorarium for executive services? Because Vic Vaseline happens to be the hurling ace of the club, is no reason why his services as secretary of the club should not be rewarded by an honorarium. At least none that I can see—if I want to be blind to the spirit of the amateur code.
Clause 3 is the one that shipwrecks the boys—“Received any money in lieu of loss of time while playing as a member of any club, or engaged in any athletic sport or exercise, or any consideration whatsoever, for any service as an athlete, except actual traveling or hotel expenses.”
That “money in lieu of loss of time” restriction puts plenty of the boys into outer darkness, but those concerned swallow that one in their applications for amateur cards because they figure that as long as the club does not pay them for lost time they are immune. Plenty of clockpunching athletes, who consider themselves good amateurs, will accept a couple of dollars from supporters of their club to fill in the hole in the pay envelope made by time they lose while away playing. And nobody worries much about that because that only puts them on a par with the player who is on salary and gets histime off without any shrinkage in the lining of the weekly envelope.
But that is all picayune stuff.
The joker that causes all the trouble is this little phrase down in the middle of Clause 3—“receives any consideration whatsoever for any service as an athlete.”
Is a good job any “consideration for services as an athlete”?
Is setting up a college graduate who is a smart player in some game, in a dentist’s office with half the rent guaranteed and the equipment furnished “consideration for services as an athlete”?
Is paying the way of a star athlete through college
If those things are “considerations” within the meaning of the clause, then there are plenty of players in popular sports who are not amateurs.
Not “By the Book”
AND what is more, the note appended to paragraph . "A” says “An athlete guilty of any of the above offences can never be re-instated.” That is pretty drastic, but it is exactly what the book says.
To come down to aces, there are scores—yes, and hundreds— of cases in Canadian sport where good jobs are provided for star athletes in return for their services
tï ' layers in various team games The thing goes on every day, right here in Canada.
And a dozen instances could be named where star athletes have been set up in their professions, or in businesses, simply because their services were required for sporting enterprises in which their towns were interested.
And now certain Canadian colleges are gathering together teams of star athletes by the means so long employed across the border— free education and living expenses provided by the alumni individually, or through funds contributed by the alumni. No one ever heard of an athlete who’s
name is in the “Who’s Through” column getting a free education.
There is no use in hypocrisy about these matters. Those things are being done, and they are evasions of the spirit of the amateur law, if they are not actually contraventions of the letter of the law, and sooner or later they must be looked square in the face.
Any time you start to discuss amateurs and amateurism in this neck of the woods the sceptics commence to hurl insinuations about the amateurism of outstanding athletes such as Lionel Conacher, Harry Batstone, “Pep” Leadley, Dave Harding and half a dozen more stars of the rugby, baseball or hockey world. The same accusations are made from coast to coast.
Now get me right—I do not question the amateurism of any of the men, but they are mentioned, and because of that fact their cases are open to fair discussion.
Take the case of Lionel Conacher of Toronto, the ■“Wonder Man” of Canadian sport.
Conacher is a Toronto boy, a powerful big fellow who made good in every sport in which he participated. He was at nineteen years of age a smart sprinter, a good Boxer, a wrestling champion, and later on he became a star at baseball, hockey, and rugby. He played on championship teams in all four sports and created such a sensation that his name became a household word in Canada, and his fame spread abroad. He was catered to and fawned upon by men of considerable prominence in business and professional life.
Before he made the jump to Pittsburg, which has been the scene of his athletic activities for two years, he became such a popular figure in Canada that a clothing man conceived the idea of hiring Conacher and his co-star in hockey,
Billy Burch, to handle a ready made clothing store for him in Yonge Street, Toronto. He offered them good salaries for the use of their names over the door—that was practically what it amounted to—and their services as joint managers of the place. He was not in any way concerned in their activities in sport. All Be wanted was their name and their presence in the store to “glad hand” customers.
Did that destroy their amateur standing?
The business flourished until the novelty of -the idea wore off—and then Conacher and Burch were out of a job. They were still playing hockey and rugby for whom they pleased. There were no trings on their athletic services because of this business connection.
LATER on Conacher, who had become the outstanding * star of Canadian rugby, was set up in a clothes pressing business on much the same basis—and because of his personal and sporting popularity he built up a pretty fair business. A few months later that enterprise “hit the tobog.”
Then came the jump to Pittsburg—or rather to Bellefont Academy, which is some distance from the Smoky City. The story then was that Conny had been taken in hand by some wealthy man who was interested in Pittsburg University and wanted to see him on the college team. Conny could not make the academic grade. At any rate he went to Bellefont, played on the Bellefont rugby team that fall and played hockey in Pittsburg that winter. He attended Bellefont all right. Last fall saw him in Pittsburg attending Duquesne University. He played no football but he played hockey for the Pittsburg Yellow Jackets, winners of the championship of the United States Amateur Hockey Association.
Early this summer he came back to Toronto and made application for his amateur card so that he might play lacrosse and baseball. His case was investigated by the Ontario Branch of the A.A.U. of C. and he convinced them it hat he was a student and an amateur, and he got his card.
Conacher produced letters from the president of Duquesne University certifying to his regular attendance at college and another from an insurance company in Pittsburg which proved that in his spare time, and after the college term had closed he was selling insurance for them. He took an affidavit that he had not received any money for his athletic services. He was accepted by the Ontario Lacrosse Association as an amateur and played lacrosse in Ontario this summer, but the Toronto Amateur Baseball Association turned him down and refused to let him play ball. They advanced no concrete reason.
If any wealthy man takes a fancy to “adopt” a star athlete as his particular protege and put him through
college and give him a real chance in life, why should that make him a pro.?
Does such generosity, no matter what object the generous patron has north of his eyebrows, make the recipient an outlaw? Those who handle a star athlete in that way doubtless consider the letter of the amateur code has not been transgressed unless there is a direct and distinct
stipulation that he is getting these advantages in return for his athletic services. Lionel Conacher certainly would not have landed at Bellefont in search of knowledge if he had not been a star hockey player—and therewas no hockey at Bellefont. As a matter of fact I doubt if he knew that Bellefont was a college or a horse before he arrived in Pittsburg—and it is almost a safe wager that those who befriended him were more interested in hockey than rugby.
Lionel Conacher is an out and out professional now—he will captain the new Pittsburg team in the National Hockey Leaguebut Lionel Conacher is the one man who know? whether or not Lionel Conacher wrecked the
amateur code, before he made the final jump.
And Lionel Conacher answered that by his affidavit.
Not “Poor Old Queen’s” Now
'T'HE Harding, Batstone and similiar cases involve a -*• discussion of the mighty strides Queen’s University has made in recent years in rugby and brings us to a discussion as to whether or not the alumni of Canadian colleges are doing what the alumni of U.S. colleges have done for years.
What is the use of beating about the bush in the matter? The thing is being done in some colleges. It is either right or wrong under the amateur code. If it is wrong under the code, then it should be checked. If the amateur code is too old-fashioned for these modern days, than the code should be amended to suit the times.
The move to give Queen’s a rugby team which would measure up to or surpass the teams of her rivals had its inception, according to the generally-accepted idea, in Toronto, w'here certain graduates, tired of seeing the teams of their old Alma Mater mauled all over the rugby map, discussed the situation with men interested in the intercollegiate game. They pointed out that the crying need at Queen’s wra? a competent coach.
The upshot was the hiring of George Awrey, of Hamilton, as coach for the team. It did not take AwTey long to point out to them that to win a championship he must have players.
He got his players—seasoned men whose sudden determination to take up college courses, startled their friends, to say the least. Maybe they all paid their own fees and stood the gaff for the “eats” and “wears” during the various terms.
Across the Lire
A CROSS the line the thing is préttÿ baré-faced. Scouts, Gx paid from the funds supplied by the enormou* gate receipts of football, look over every promising athlete turned out by the prep schools or in the minor leagues. If a prospect shapes up like the material desired, he is “propositioned.” If he is ready to trade his athletic services for a college education, some wealthy friend of that particular college takes him under his wing and he not only gets his education free but all his expenses are liberally taken care of from the time he leaves his home. In fact, across the line they have gone farther than that. Particularly good prospects have been treated to a wonderful summer holiday or given motors or other luxuries in order to keep them lined up for some particular college.
In one expose of the U.S. system, it was even detailed how one promising young athlete secured not only his education but all the moving expenses of his family from his home towm to the college towm, plus a good soft job for dad. That was all thrown in as a return for his football ability.
Is that the sort of thing which, in a milder form, is creeping into college athletics in Canada?
A lot of people who know' what they are talking about will tell you that it is and they freely bandy the names of certain stars about.
Do these allegations draw' from the players and colleges concerned wide open denials which cover the situation from stem to gudgeon?
They do not. The college authorities simply deny that they are giving awrny education in exchange for athletic services. All they apparently know is that these star players pay their fees and take their places in the classes. It is none of their business w'ho really pays the fees so long as they are paid.
Continued on paye 46
How Amateur Are Canadian “Amateurs”?
Continued from page 17
And when it comes down to aces, what does it matter if some friend of the college, some old graduate who has made good and has his pile, sees fit to take under his wing some smart rugby player, or basketball player or sprinter, and send him to the old college to help dig her athletic banners out of the mire?
Nine out of ten of these young athletes who are given their chance at a college education appreciate their opportunity and make good. Is there any reason why an ambitious young man should not use his athletic talent to help him make his way in the world?
I can’t see it—if there is.
It is being done, and it gets by—and if
it is being done and gets by why should we not come right out in the open and say that Hiram Horn dyke of ’89 Thingamatizer University has presented his Alma Mater with one good rugby player, or a good sprinter, or a swell leader for the Glee Club? As long as the boys fulfil the academic requirements for admission and maintain their studies, there should be no protest.
AND, do the members of the Queen’s University rugby team keep up with academic requirements? Take Frank Leadley first of all. He entered Queen's
about the end of ’21, when twenty-three years old, after he had served several years overseas. In his first two years he had considerable difficulty with mathematics and physics, which was not to be wondered at, seeing that he had gone to the front as a mere boy and had to take up these difficult subjects practically from the beginning. But, the public records of Queen’s University show anyone who is interested enough to scrutinize the returns, that in the last two years “Pep” has taken twenty-seven examinations for degree subjects, and never has had a failure. He graduated last May with a B. Sc., one of the best students of his year. This apparently shows that not only has he a good pair of hands, but also a clever head.
A friend of mine told me that at one of the meetings of the Faculty of Applied Science the professor of Civil Engineering produced a drawing of Leadley’s, and handed it around as being the most beautiful thing of its kind he had come across.
Naturally, perhaps, there was a good deal of criticism when Leadley returned to Queen’s to take an extra course this year. His course is on the business side of engineering. As a matter of fact, members of the Queen’s staff say that he has had this course in mind for a long time, and that most men who leave the University with a B.Sc. degree have no knowledge of the business side of their profession, and when it comes to contracting, and to the estimating of costs, and to the financing of important work, they are completely in the dark. Leadley spent the past summer with the Toronto-Hamilton-Buffalo Railway, and found that without this business training he was not likely to get very far in his profession. Just to give you a squint at the subjects from an academic angle, and to give an idea as to whether “Pep” is going to have a cinch during the next few months, apart from his gruelling on the gridiron, I hunted up the Queen’s University calendar, and this is what the Queen’s star is taking:
“Money and banking; industrial management; marketing; business finance, commercial law; accounting; transportation; statistics; office management; business policy; accounting and costs.” In addition, he must prepare a comprehensive report on some “Canadian industry” which will be assigned to each student.
Well, all I can say is that if he is able to show a certificate at the end of the next year that he has passed in these subjects, then I am willing to concede that “Pep” Leadley be called a bona fide student, as well as a bona fide rugby player!
John L. McKelvey, as he is known on the academic roster, entered Queen’s in 1918, took his B.A. degree in 1923, and is now in his sixth year medicine. This young chap has scored high marks, one of his buddies tells me, in such subjects as surgery, medicine, obstetrics, gynaecology, pathology, eye, ear, nose and throat, applied anatomy, pediatrics, clinical surgery, clinical medicine, and a few other things that I can’t spell.
The case of Harry Batstone is one of the most discussed, and so here are the facts. Batstone entered Queen's in 1922, and enrolled in the Faculty of Arts. His prep, school had been the Central Technical School in Toronto. He and Leadley have roomed together, and are both desperate toilers, I learn from an unimpeachable source. Harry is taking the Commerce Course, the first two years of which are almost straight Arts, with the exception of Latin. He has not had a single failure in his record, although it is not as brilliant as that of those who had perhaps a better grounding in prep, school days. Batstone has the capacity for hard work, and last winter he went up for seven examinations, counting toward his degree, and passed in every one.
So with Eric Thomas, Arthur Lewis, Roy Reynolds, “Chicks” Mundell, and others. Dave Harding, the Western Ontario lad, was the only one in the early successful Queen’s team who had to be dropped, and friends of his at his Alma Mater say there was good excuse for this. He went to the war after he had been one year in Collegiate and made a great record as a flying man, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross. When he went to Queen's he had forgotten anything he had known, and he was unable to settle down. Several [ senior professors did their utmost for [ him in the way of private tuition, but i it finally became clear, however, that he
never could make a student, and so he was dropped. He now has charge of the flying instruction in Petawawa, and is in his right niche.
What of the Girls?
GIRL athletes are being mixed up in the gossip anent the taint of professionalism in amateur sport. The immense strides which the speaker sex have made in athletics—particularly track and field athletics and soft ball—has set the rollerbearing tongues of the slander-mongers hitting on both cylinders.
Just how much there is in all this talk about soft jobs at big salaries for girl athletes is hard to ascertain, but I do not think that there is very much except malice. I do know that Miss Fanny Rosenfeld, who now holds the world’s record for the hundred yard dash for girls and who is one of the stars of girls’ soft ball in Ontario, had plenty of trouble securing herself a situation around Toronto last winter, and that when she was a star ball player she sat out in the Hinde and Dauch factory and made paper boxes along with other star players on the same team, and that none of them were paid beyond the usual scale. The same team is up in the finals for the championship this fall. The night before one of their toughest games in the semifinals the players all worked until nine o’clock to get up their work so that they could get off at four o’clock the next day to take a forty-mile journey to play a team which had beaten them right ontheir own grounds in the first game. That does not look as if those girl athletes were getting anythingsoft out of their athletics.
Of course there are firms in which good girl ball players or hockey players find it easier to obtain a position than their nonathletic sisters would.
I do know of one firm in Toronto which considers its girls’ baseball team a valuable advertising asset, and does give some of the stars a bit of leeway before an important game. The same firm maintains a high-class men’s hockey club and spends money freely on equipment and coaching, and gives the boys time off to train for the finals, any time they arrive. They consider the money well spent in advertising because these teams both play under the firm’s name.
Indeed, advertising men have told me that this same firm cut $10,000 from its advertising appropriation on the ground that a similar sum spent promoting all star teams bearing the firm’s name would get them twice as much value from an advertising point of view. If that is true, how much of that appropriation found its way to the “Stars?”
The biggest advertisement Edmonton ever had in the athletic world is the famous Edmonton Graduates basketball team—a girls’ aggregation. These girls are all employed in Edmonton, but every girl earns every dime she gets for the work she performs. True enough the employers of these stars are sporting •enough to allow them leave to go away on long trips to play games—this is the team which went to the Olympic games— but there has never been any insinuation that any one of the girls received anything more from her employers than her position warranted. And as for gate receipts they have all been properly accounted for by those gentlemen who were in control of the club.
Girl athletes are not being paid for their services—at least not yet. The games and competitions they have engaged in have, with a few exceptions, not been money makers. Outside of the Sunnyside enclosure at Toronto’s famous summer resort and the Coliseum at the Canadian National Exhibition, no girls’ soft ball games in the East are played behind gates. At both those places only a nominal charge of ten cents is made. The C.N.E. takes the receipts in one case and in the other a small percentage is divided among the clubs of the leagues, while the rest pays for the expenses of bringing in outside teams and other incidental items. If there is any money made I do not think the girls get any part of it except in the form of souvenirs at the end of the season.
The Hockey Situation
TRAFFICKING in star hockey players all over the country has become such a scandal that the chief concern in recent years of the governing authorities has
been to pass legislation which will exterminate these hockey jack rabbits. The Ontario Hockey Association, in the course of a sincere effort to stamp out the “hockey tourist” evil, has advanced its “residence” date to May 15. It used to be Aug. 1. That makes it tough on clubs who import players and give them soft jobs. That means that “imports” have to be carried on the pay rolls from May 15— and from May 15 to Jan 1, when the league season really opens, is a long, cruel drag on the finances, if everything is not on the “up and up.” And the new rule which requires an audited statement of receipts and disbursements from each club makes it more difficult than ever for the cheaters.
This season is going to be tougher than an operation for appendicitis complicated by gall stones, on some of the semi-pro teams masquerading as amateurs. The O.H.A., failing to get direct evidence on these cheating clubs, is out to smother
them by more subtle means. The business depression keeps manufacturers so busy retrenching to make ends meet that they are reluctant to furnish soft jobs for crooked amateurs. In fact, every man on the pay roll must earn his salary these days—and if there is one thing that a certain type of roaming hockey player detests it is a job where he has to stick to his knitting and earn what he gets. When things were booming a lot of star hockey players only turned up on the job one day a week—and that was the day the ghost walked.
However, this slump is a blessing in disguise—as far as some clubs are concerned. Players that they would have had to go after with chocolate eclairs and cream puffs are now delighted to get corn beef and cabbage. In other words players are not so pernickety over their jobs. Any sort of a good steady job at a decent wage is a good inducement to a lot of hockey players nowadays. Those who demand fifty dollars a week for sharpening lead pencils found the bidding for their services mighty slow this spring. There will not be so much coming in at the gate either this winter, and the men behind the clubs are not so keen to saddle themselves with players who require too much “looking after.”
This May 15 residence rule will act like a dose of chloroform on half a dozen clubs I could name. The situation will remedy itself. The weaker sisters will not be able to stand the strain and will either drop out or use the best local talent they have. The clubs which can stand the strain of importing players and keeping them all summer will outclass the opposition and the fans will lack the inducement of keen competition.
When keen competition is absent that hits the box office, and when the box
office is hit the hockey tourist finds that if he wants money tor his services he must come out in the open market and join the honest pros.
Not Many Sham Amateurs
BIT when it comes down to aces, the percentage of sham amateurs is really negligible when the number of men under registration with the A.A.U. of C. and its affiliated bodies is taken into consideration. The professionalism in amateur sport is practically all confined to the games which attract big gates. If there were no gates there would be mighty little professionalism. I venture to say that there is proportionately more honesty in sport than there is in business. I do not think that two per cent, of our amateur athletes are really badly smirched. We hear a lot about this one and that one doing this and that, but for every star who is in the limelight and subject to temptation there are fifty of lesser prominence who are playing the game for the fun and sport they get out of it.
There is a wide difference of opinion over amateurism in various sections of the Dominion. Down in the Maritime provinces, in rowing at least, a good deal of the old English idea of an amateur prevails. Y ou know that over in England in certain lines of sport a man who works for wages, particularly an artisan or in fact anybody who works with his hands, is not recognized as an amateur. Of course the Bluenoses can hardly go that far, but it is only this summer that rowing authorities down East refused to accept the entry of a couple of fishermen in an amateur rowing event. They declared them ineligible.
An appeal to the Canadian Association of Amateur Oarsmen resulted in the fishermen being declared eligible, but the Maritime Province Rowing Association refused to accept the ruling and the fishermen were not allowed to compete.
To declare those two fishermen ineligible because a portion of their daily labors involved the use of oars would be as absurd as to have barred Jim Corkery and George Black of Toronto out of long distance running because both of them were milkmen and got a good deal of their training distributing Jersey juice in the early A.M.!
Until the last few years amateur ideas were pretty hazy down around Quebec.
In the prairie provinces the radicals have plenty to say. In fact the downeasters who cling to the idea that “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet” have had their hands full amputating these breezy westerners from the idea that pros and amateurs can mix in certain lines of sport. Then, too, certain influential westerners do not see eye to eye with this Eastern idea of “once a pro always a pro.”
Out on the Coast they used to be mighty liberal in their ideas. Eastern sport stars were imported, handed the change pretty much openly and allowed to mix with amateurs on á common basis. It took a long time to clear that up, particularly in lacrosse.
Tennis has always been one of the sports where there has been but little suggestion of professionalism, or rather of concealed amateurism. In Canada, those pros who are paid for their services or for their knowledge, in tennis, probably could be counted on the fingers of two hands.
Not so long ago, at a Canadian championship tournament, an unpleasant episode occurred. One player, at that time amongst the two or three best tennis players in the Dominion, was called upon to play an important match against a team from another country. He and his partner were about to go on the courts to play, when he declined to go until he had received a cheque for his “expenses” while away from his home, and his job. His idea of “expenses” had assumed very generous proportions, and after very little delay he was told flatly that his services would not be required, and that a substitute would take his place. That is the real reason why a rather startling change in the personnel of a Canadian tennis team was made, some years ago, at the last moment.
The offender in question was willing to play as an amateur, and demanded payment as a professional. It is interesting to note that so much odium descended upon him after this episode became
known, even to a restricted circle, that he found it good policy to seek an early opportunity to cross the border. Since then, he presumably has dropped out of the tennis world, or if he is playing anywhere else, it must be under an assumed name.
By the way, a couple of things which happened over Canadian entries in the famous Diamond Sculls, rowed annually in England, always made a hit with me. This “gentlemen only” rule obtains there, so it was necessary to enrol Lou Scholes, of Toronto, who won the sculls in 1906, as a student in the University of Toronto, to obtain recognition of his entry. Scholes was duly enrolled as a student, but about the only door he passed through was the one leading to the gym. To qualify Bob Dibble—now Alderman Dibble of the city of Toronto —it was necessary to yank him out of a machine shop, and get him a clerical job around the City Hall.
Were these two fine big specimens of Canadian manhood any the less amateur because they were not idlers or professional men?
Isn’t it a joke?
Lowering the Bars
THAT the bars are gradually being lowered to meet modern conditions is indicated by a certain happening of recent vintage. At the last annual meeting of the A.A.U. of C. a number of professional players were re-instated, and it was intimated that in the future the Union would not be so hard on young players inveigled into money ranks before they were old enough really to recognize what the step meant.
Legislation was also passed allowing an amateur to act as an official in professional sport and accept fees without endangering his standing. The new president, W. E. Findlay, also made an official announcement to the effect that an amateur who signed a contract to engage in professional sport would not be considered a professional until the contract was consummated but that he would not again be eligible for amateur competition until the contract had been annulled. The previous idea was that every amateur who even signed a pro contract was a pro, and forever beyond the amateur pale
It is a known fact that a number of amateur hockey players in various parts of the country were signed up by pro clubs and left where they were for further seasoning. The show-down will come next month when the professional clubs commence to gather themselves together for the winter campaign. With a couple of new clubs in the National Hockey League—New York and Pittsburg—and the Western Canada and Pacific Coast leagues in desperate need of younger players to replace some of the decrepit veterans they have been carrying these last few years, these amateur players will be called upon to live up to their contracts or take steps to have them annulled.
What is the remedy for the evils which beset amateurism in certain directions?
One well-known sporting executive in Toronto says that all sport should be under strict government control—he says under the department of Health or Labor —and that all offences against the amateur code should be punishable by fines. That is pretty radical.
He has other radical ideas, too. He would prohibit the payment of honorariums to amateur officials. He insists that the fact that certain people are openly able to get money out of sport without losing their amateur standing arouses the cupidity of athletes and makes their palms itch. He says that men who have the real spirit of amateurism at heart should be willing to give their time gratis to the sports they are interested in. When the job is too arduous for a man to devote his time to without remuneration, then a salary should be paid and the man who accepts it regarded as a professional in sport.
Lou Marsh’s Remedies
WHAT would I suggest? Simply a rule prohibiting any amateur athlete from obtaining any money for his services as an athlete. Let him accept an education—if he can get it—and a job if he can hold it and is not paid more than the
usual amount for that class of service, and let him wager on himself or his team to win if he is so inclined.
Keep the maximum value of prizes within a reasonable limit and prohibit the sale of any prize. Let him promote a sporting event for his own private gain if he has ability along that line, and does not participate in the event himself. Make it legal for any club to pay any athlete who works for a weekly wage a sum equal to what he actually loses by dockages for lost time. Let pros and amateurs mingle in competition at the permission of the governing bodies ol that particular sport. Reinstate upon request any professional who has been out of competition more than two years, proviu rg his reputation for honesty and ; sportsmanship is unsmirched.
And, above all, secure legislation which w.ll mane it compulsory lor any athlete, officer of any club, or any man who is in any way concerned with athletic matters which are under investigation, to appear and give his evidence under oath, and make all officers of clubs responsible for any crookedness which may be proven in the dealings of the club with any player or club.