Football – College Football, Part 1
If you are interested in football, especially in college football, read on to learn some interesting insight into the roots of the game.
In the 1890s college football had already created strong emotions of love and hate. Big-time eastern football had demonstrated that it could draw large crowds, create alumni support, and build an identity that would attract new students. The fact that it had little to do with classical education bothered only the traditionalists on campus and a handful of crotchety purists elsewhere who wrote critically of football in magazines, newspaper articles, and official college reports.
Outward appearances may have changed, but the gridiron problems in that era appear remarkably similar to the present. In the 1890s big-time recruiters and alumni contacts scoured the eastern prep schools for talented juniors and seniors ready to entice them to Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. Occasionally, unscrupulous alumni convinced students to quit high school before they graduated in order to enroll at an institution with a big-time team. Boosters funneled tuition money to poor but athletically talented boys from the coal fields of Pennsylvania and the industrial towns of the Northeast to preparatory schools in order to prepare them for big-time college athletics. Some of these young men were in their mid-twenties when they finally entered college. Other athletes went from school to school selling their services, phantom players who had no academic ties with the institution.
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