British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Universities’ paid athletes


Series Name
The March of Time 2nd Year


Issue No.
Date Released
May 1936
Length of issue (in feet)
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1British Empire’s New Waterway
  2. 2Belgium’s King Decides
  3. 3Universities’ paid athletes


Story No. within this Issue
3 / 3
The March of Time synopsis: As forty million fans pack huge football grounds and countless others tune in to the autumn’s big games, a new and jarring note is heard. Mixed with the cheers and music is paid ballyhoo - ballyhoo for breakfast food, washing machines, cigarettes and petrol. College business offices, long satisfied with fat profits from ticket sales, are cashing in by selling rights to broadcast their football games to commercial advertisers. Thus more and more valuable to their colleges become the football heroes, the few well-publicized youngsters who have made college football the big business it is to-day. But college football, officially an amateur spot, has been big business for years. In 1929 the Carnegie Foundation report on football exposed subsidized athletics in 75 per cent, of all U.S. colleges. It was alumni - past members of colleges - disgruntled at defeat, who, to change their luck, first subsidized players. Many a fleet-footed high-school half-back entered halls of higher learning through the goodwill of a loyal alumnus with a liberal view of amateur rulings. Subsidizing became a subtle art. Colleges, coaches, players and alumni found it easy to evade the rules by creating athletic scholarships, absurdly overpaid odd jobs and even honorary positions on state payrolls. But to the football players - subsidized or not - football remains what it always has been - hard, gruelling work. And always, on charges of subsidization it is the player, not the college, who is held responsible. When last year, Harvard’s football captain, accused of accepting alumni gifts, is dismissed from the team, to his defence comes M.I.T. Professor George Owen, father of a once great Harvard football captain. "It is unworthy of colleges to indulge in professional sport through trickery and deceit. Why shouldn’t players share in the profits of the game?" he asks. The football world is again jolted when, in Atlanta, Georgia, the thirteen members of the South-eastern Conference adopt a bold, new rule, openly recognising athletic ability in determining student values in the assignment of scholarships, loans and jobs. This year with still more financial premiums to be had from a winning team, and with open subsidizing of players, the U.S. public can be more certain than ever of getting its last dollar’s worth from the game which, commercialized or amateur, remains unchallenged as the nation’s most colourful, most exciting sports spectacle.
Researcher Comments
This story was included in Vol.3 No.2 of the US edition.
Sport; American football
Written sources
Monthly Film Bulletin   Vol.4 No.38, 28 February 1937, p24.
The March of Time Promotional Material   Lobby Card, Used for synopsis
Production Co.
Time Inc.

Record Stats

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