UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL CLUB
ADMISSION TO LEAGUE REFUSED
PLAYERS SAY PROFESSIONALISM IS RAMPANT
The University Football Club again applied for inclusion in the league this year, and again the application was reused. A meeting of the club was held in the Union Room, University, on Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation. There was a large attendance of students, and much enthusiasm marked the proceedings. Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring occupied the chair.
The secretary (Mr. H. W. D. Stodaart) read a letter from the league, which, without replying definitely, stated ”The South Australian Football League cannot see its way clear to depart from the system of electorate football.
The letter was received with groans by the students.
The Case for the Students
Professor Darnley Naylor said he had carefully studied the position in which they were placed by the leagues action. They had again been refused their request to become affiliated, and once again only one reason was given. He was surprised that any reason at all should have been put forward, as it was extremely dangerous to give reasons. The league had said their inclusion would be an infringement of the electorate system. What was the reason for the establishment of the electorate system? It was because it was seen that one club might become so wealthy and so popular as to be enabled to put into the field a team so strong that all interest in the competitions would cease. Were those results likely to follow on the University being admitted to the league? Certainly not for many reasons. They were never likely to become sufficiently wealthy, and even if they did they would not use their money to advance professionalism. Nor
would they ever have a sufficient number; of players to draw from to give them a team of such calibre as would make the result of the season a foregone conclusion as they had voluntarily offered to restrict themselves at the outset so that no man should represent them more than eight years after matriculation. As time went on and their numbers increased they would gradually decrease the limit of years within which students might play, until the ideal was reached when no student not
actually in attendance at lectures would be, able to represent the University on the football field. It would be seen, then, that far from the University endangering the electorate system it improved it and the league might at any time step in and further reduce the limit of years.
Precedent in Favour of Application
Precedent ought always have great weight especially with lawyers, and therefore with the chairman of the league (Mr. J. R. Anderson) and precedent told them that in New South Wales and Victoria, and in
most cases in South Australia, the authorities far from fearing the University, gladly welcomed them into their ranks. Then again, the University as an educational institution differed entirely from any other organisation in one important respect one of its most important functions was the encouragement of the development of the body and of good sportsmanship generally. He appealed for support tor their application on the general ground of the advantage of football and amateur sport throughout Australia. If the Australian game was to become a national game throughout the Commonwealth obviously the more first class teams playing the better it would be. If the Adelaide and Melbourne Universities played the Australian game the Sydney University would be practically forced to follow their example and that would place the game on a firmer footing in New South Wales than it was at present. Section 2 of the constitution of the league said the object of the league was “the encouragement of foot ball.” That was hardly the object they had in view when they refused tae students’ application, and because of that refusal the students were only able to play one game a year-that against the Melbourne University. The situation was without parallel throughout the word that the University should be prevented from playing a game by the body which was supposed to have at heart the promotion and extension of that game. Universities, throughout the world, had always been regarded as the home of clean, pure sport, and the Adelaide University had always been loyal to that tradition. He wanted to appeal to the-sport-loving public of South Australia with” every confidence that they would help them by the pressure of public opinion. Such pressure could be thus brought to bear upon the league as to, awaken them to a realisation of their duty to amateur sport. Professor Naylor expressed a wish that next year, before the season opened, they would find themselves at last included as members of the South Australian Football League.
Mr. H. W. D. Stoddart moved “That this meeting records its disappointment at the refusals of the South Australian Football League to admit the University as an affiliated club, believing that such refusal is neither in the interests of Australian football, nor of clean amateur sport in general; further, it trusts that the league will reconsider its decision in the near future, and thus show that it has the true ‘ interests of Australian football at heart.
Mr E. jones a playing member of the North Adelaide Football Club, seconded the motion. The admission of the University into League football here, he said, would be in the best interests of amateur sport, and would tend to put a stop to the professionalism which was rampant in Adelaide at the present time. He knew of a player who had moved from one allotted district to another, and who on being asked by the secretary of the club representing the district into which he bad moved, whether he would play for them, replied, “I have
never played for the love of the game and I am not going to start now.” And no wonder, Mr. Jones significantly added, since he was getting £80 a year from the last club he represented if the League wanted to stop professionalism they should admit the University. The argument that the admission of the University would break up the electorate system was not supported in any way by fact. One member of the executive of the Cricketing Association had told him his association recognised that the admission of the University club was one of their best moves for years. Then, again, the University club had been associated with the Adelaide and, Suburban Association without prejudicing the electorate system, and it was only when the association came under the jurisdiction of the League as the South Australian Association that they had been refused admission.
Would Make Things Hum
Mr. C. Drew, also a playing member of the North Adelaide Club, supported the motion. He expressed the assurance that if they did get into the League they would “make things hum” as regarded professionalism and the clubs would have to be very careful. At present the balance-sheets showed many things. There were only a certain number of men at the University, and they would not be able to go outside for talent. Surely nothing could be more’ clearly in conformity with the electorate system.
Mr. S. W. Jeffries, secretary of the Sports Association, said the movement had the sympathy of his association, every club of which wished them well. They had top grade teams in every other sport-tennis, cricket, lacrosse, and rowing and they should also be represented in A Grade football.
The motion was carried.
A New League Suggested
The Chairman thought it had been amply demonstrated that the University had every constitutional right to admission. It must be self-interest on the part of some of the League clubs that had resulted in the refusal of their application. Possibly they feared an impediment in continuing their course of professionalism, or possibly they thought the club would bring nothing into their coffers, though they might take something out. The case for admission would be still further strengthened if they had a football team, and the time had now come when they should make an effort to secure one. It seemed quite possible that another and this time a purely amateur league might be formed. The Glenferry and St.. Bartholomew’s teams were in no association, and he was sure there were other clubs which would join them in establishing a new league. If they had a good football team their claims would be considerably strengthened. Then, again, the matches on the University Oval would draw a great many patrons away from the League matches, and that body would see that from a financial point of view it was advisable to admit them.
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