H. W. "Bill" Hargiss
Board names head coach
Football scores 1928-32
Hargiss and Bausch
KU 1928
Football 1928
Big 6 champs 1930
Backfield 1930
Victory 1930
Column 1931
Elmer Schaake
Alter kickoff
Coaching change 1932
Coaching shift
Noble coach
Recalls 1930 season
KU football reunion
Jayhawks set marks
Glenn Cunningham Trains
College Freshman in Athletics
Training of Track Athletes
Track travel photos
James Naismith
Track coach Hargiss
Coaching school

Vol. XXX. Kansas City. Missouri. September, 1934 No. 4

The College Freshman in Athletics
Head Track Coach, University of Kansas

His High School Preparation as Well as His Start in College Are of Utmost Importance
College Freshman in Athletics, aritcle by Bill Hargiss 1934
     THE DOORS of our colleges and universities will open in a few days for another year. In these schools a major portion of the enrollment will be made up of young people entering college for the first time. This group will come from places of varying conditions. The large high school, the rural high school, the well-to-do home and the home where luxuries are few will contribute to it. However, the members of the group will represent the best families of every community and they are to be congratulated on their efforts to get the training that the halls of higher education have to offer. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if, many of these young people grasp the full significance of the opportunities they have, and make the most of them.
     If time and space would permit, there are many things of a helpful nature that could be written about the entire group. We are concerned this time in a particular group; namely, the freshmen in athletics. For a quarter of a century or thereabouts fine young men have been observed—by one more or less selfishly interested—with the following conclusions:
     The freshman athlete has a double classification—athletic ability and scholastic standing. Many of the so-called stars in athletics also are excellent students. Too often the one who excels in athletics fails to survive the scholastic requirements. Again he may fail in athletic expectations and not falter in the class room.
     One of the problems for the colleges and high schools is to arrive at the solution of this inequality. The opponents of athletics say, too much time at play; the exponents of athletics claim not enough interest aroused iii class room. Others feel that the fault lies in the high school and that the good athlete is pampered, spoiled, and passed, and lacks in fundamental scholastic preparation. The teachers in high school retaliate by saying that the colleges are at fault in that they seek the high school star to the extent that he feels the college cannot exist without him. that his failure is due to his misapprehension. Still others feel that the gap between the high school and college in both athletics and scholarship is too wide.
     Most of the above has been in the form of destructive criticism by a few. On the other hand, some great progress has been made and the leavening is a slow but sure process.
     Practically every college with recognized athletic standing belongs to a conference or association with strict scholarship requirements. An athlete must be a bona-fide student enrolled in a definite amount of work and must be doing passing work. In many cases the scholarship standing of the athlete is higher during the season than when not competing and the criticism of too much athletics seems a little unjust.
     The question of interest in the class room and the lack of enthusiasm of some students for certain subjects is an important one. It seems that in most cases the fault lies with the student. It isn't reasonable that a young man who is smart enough to master the fundamentals and the intricate plays of football is so dumb that he cannot solve a problem in mathematics or conjugate a verb in English or Latin. In football it is easy to create enthusiasm and hold his interest. He is attentive. He masters the fundamentals—the intricacies then are easy. In mathematics he may lack interest and enthusiasm, he cannot discipline himself, does not master the formulas, and the intricate problem is unsolved.
     The instructors in the class room need to give time to teaching college freshmen how to study. Their lesson approach often is wrong. I have seen them pick up a book on psychology or English and proceed as though it were a story of adventure in a magazine. There must be preliminary practice. Find some point of interest, rouse some enthusiasm. Look for the fundamentals. Reading an assignment and studying a lesson are two different things. Reading is more or less automatic, studying is reasoning.
     In regard to the high school pampering and passing a star athlete I think this true and in most cases it isn't because the boy isn't smart enough to do the work. I have seen these fellows come to college and fail the first semester but do excellent work when they learn they must study. This is utter foolishness within the boy. Many times it is prompted by from influence outside. He may have read in the paper or have been told in the drug store or barber shop that he was good. Perhaps he was, but at once he forgot to compare the adjective. Better and best should have been his next objective to gain modestly and quickly.
     This so-called pampering of the good athlete is unfair to the boy. Youngsters of high-school age do not always realize it at the time but when they enter college and recognize the fact that they have been allowed to slip over the hard places in the preparatory school they often wish the discipline had been more severe. Professors and instructors in colleges and universities have heard this admission made by the very boys who were the recipients of the pampering. It takes seasoning for scholastic work just as it does for football. The star high school athlete usually has ability in other than athletic lines and needs no special handling. He must learn to "take it" in the class room as well as on the gridiron or track.
     The question of proselyting, I might have said the evil, is one of much concern despite the strenuous legislation of the various conferences. It would seem that so many schools are after the star high school athlete that he is being done a gross injustice. He often assumes the attitude of the professional and seems to be considering where he can get the best position with no thought of what the school has to offer in the way of his further preparation. This practice is diminishing among coaches but how to prevent it on the part of alumni, fraternities and friends is difficult.
     Colleges and high schools are co-operating more vigorously in the endeavor to bridge the so-called scholastic chasm between
them. They are studying the individual student, learning his tendencies, giving final and entrance examination tests and directing him along the line for which he is scholastically suited.
     There is another matter of no little consequence related to the college student. That is the one of social activities. This particularly concerns the athlete. I realize that this is a time when the demand for social activities is very great. I am inclined to believe that there is an effort on the part of college students to satisfy the demand prodigiously from the standpoint of time and economy. The athlete usually is the popular student and he is much sought for social affairs. Society and athletics seem to want to mix but social activities and athletics make a poor game. Society will win every time. The athlete can well afford to deny himself this pleasure during the season of scheduled games.
     In conclusion let me say to the young athlete entering college that in every instance you will get more out of athletics than you put into it. If you are a star, become a champion. If a mediocre player, become a star. If not blessed with the natural ability, become the most valuable substitute for a position on the players' bench—and your reward will be great. Keep in condition and be confident. Be aggressive, enthusiastic, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. The successful coach will not pan you for the mistake you make by effort. He will soon relegate you to a shock absorber if you lack aggressiveness and determination. When success comes be modest in victor; and glorious, without an alibi, in defeat. Study hard, play hard, be honest, and yours will be success and happiness.