University Of Chicago Football

In 1939, the President of the University of Chicago de-emphasized football at a founding member of the Big Ten conference. For the future of another Big Ten school, it is time to look to the past.

Amos Alonzo Stagg is one the most famous long tenured football coaches ever.

Stagg coached the University of Chicago Maroons. They were a founding member of the Big Ten conference and left.

It is now time for another member of the Big Ten Conference to show the same testicular fortitude.

Just The Facts

  1. From 1892 to 1939, the University fo Chicago Maroons were a major football power. The Maroons were a founding member of the Big Ten Conference.
  2. In 1946, in order to save his university from the grip of varsity athletics, President Robert Maynard Hutchins may the decision to de-emphasize athletics and drop the football team.
  3. The decision was cited in a famous letter published in Sports Illustrated in 1995 to the University of Miami to drop its program after several athletic scandals.

An Open Letter to Penn State University

From 1892 to 1946, the University of Chiago had one of the most storied football programs in the entire country. They did not merely win. The University fo Chicago Maroons had one of the winningest coaches of all time in Amos Alonzo Stagg. They still give awards bearing Stagg's name. When your beloved Joe Paterno was chasing wins to become the all time leader, Paterno started out chasing Stagg.

Stagg coached at the University fo Chicago football team for forty years. He did not even rest in the spring. To fill out his dance card for the year, Stagg coached the baseball team for over a decade as well. Ever hear of the Heisman trophy? Before there even was a Heisman trophy, there was the Downtown Athletic club trophy. You have any idea who they gave that one to first?

This is Jay Berwanger. Berwanger won the Downtown Athletic Club trophy in 1935. Berwanger went on to become the first overall pick in the NFL draft. We are not talking about the first over all pick in the draft for a year. Berwanger was the first over all pick in the NFL draft ever. Berwanger played for The University of Chicago Maroons.

The only copyright infringement here may be on the part of the Chicago Bears who sprang up much later than the Maroons. Are you starting to get a sense of the history of the program? No. Fine Penn Staters, the University of Chicago was a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. This whole thing has a lot to do with the Big Ten Conference. Those are the nice people that let you in ... in 1990.

The following is a picture of Robert Maynard Hutchins. When Hutchins was appointed to run a Univervisty in the 1930's, he was silly enough to think that he was doing just that. He thought he was running a University.

In the 1940's, Hutchins saw the dangeroud influence of varsity athletics as well as the influence of the football program in general. You know what Hutchins did? There was no scandal. There was nothing wrong with the University of Chicago's football program or its storied history. There was the danger of besmirching the good name of the University. That was too much. Hutchins de-emphasized the varisty athletic program. Hutchins dropped the football program and pulled his University out of the Big Ten. The university lost money, backers, and took their apocalypse. The University of Chicago stands today as one of the most respected Univerisities in the nation and eventually established a Division III football team.In 1995, Sports Illustrated famously suggested that the University of Miami respond to its scandals by doing the exact same thing. They used Hutchins and the University of Chicago as a model.

Miami still has not gotten over the suggestion. They had outlaw players. They had a history of a lax program that encouraged renegades. They had over zealous boosters that they are still paying for. By all accounts, there was a lot of cleaning up to do. By all accounts, there still is. The NCAA imposing the death penalty was an often thought of suggestion to the University of Miami about its football program. Do you know the man that most closely resembles a modern day Amos Alonzo Stagg?

This is Joe Paterno. Same as Stagg, Paterno was the Coach of Penn State football. Paterno led the Nittany Lions to National Titles and was the biggest proponent of Penn State joining the very same Big Ten Conference. Right now, Penn State needs the spirit of Robert Maynard Hutchins. They certainly need his action. Penn State is not the University of Chicago. Right now, its worse. That would be because of this man.

When Robert Maynard Hutchins had nightmares, he saw the coming face of Jerry Sandusky. He saw a University beholden to the needs of its football program. He saw people willing to do anything to protect the reputation of an athletic program. Hutchins saw a future in which the most reprehensible of criminals would be protected by the association with a game. Hutchins believed that was insane and it is about time we started to step in line. We are cure that Hutchins shook many hands in his lifetime, but there was one hand he refused to shake.

The University of Chicago did not give a pedophile a chance to take the University down. It can happen. It can be done. Penn State would lose no respect as an academic institution. As a matter of fact, it would gain from the dis-association. But what was the University bragging about after the conviction of Sandusky? The bragged about the amount of money pouring in. the bragged that the exact same situation that brought them to this was thankfully still in place. The donors were still there. They still wanted to see football. Over this, the NCAA may very well owe an spology to Southern Methodist University for the death penalty they received.

But, the NCAA does need to do anything. That is the coward's way out. They let the state of Pennsylvania stand up to Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno. Do they let the NCAA dole out punishment to the football program and call it good? The fired Joe Paterno only after agreeing to keep paying them. Penn State needs to end this. They need to stop all of it. They won't. They don't believe that they can. They will say that this is not the 1940s and we have no idea how much they stand to lose. I say they will forever be branded another way if they don't.