Needham

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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It did not take me too long to pick up the tone Needham was using throughout his article. Needham's tone was one of great annoyance and frustration. Needham wanted the entire nation to know what was going on in college athletics. Most importantly he wanted his message to reach those who could make a difference, like important political officials and wealthy, “honest” alumni. Needham’s message was, enough special treatment to athletes and eliminate the sneaky recruitment tactics used on the young men attending prepratory schools. Needham gets his point across by using actual examples of young men receiving special treatment, as well as the schools providing this treatment. The names Needham refers to are unfamiliar to me and therefore have less of an impact on me as I read. I can only imagine the impact an article of this magnitude would have using the names of today’s college athletes.

        Needham’s real life examples are his most convincing source by far.

The readers of the time could put a face to the name. People knew of William Matthews and James Hogan and put their faces to their names when they read Needham's article. It would have the same effect on our time if an article suddenly emerged revealing that Tradjen Langdon and Rickey Williams were playing professional ball in Europe under assumed names and getting paid for it. The public would be outraged. Needham acquired his information first hand; he uses actual quotes from his sources. He also uses letters written by the athletes and trainers of the time. The use of example evidence such as actual letters written by athletes is very convincing. Throughout his article Needham wants to convince his readers that college players are playing summer ball under assumed names and getting paid for it. He produces a letter written by the manager of the summer nine to Walter C. Clarkson, the Harvard captain. “Such a pitcher (referring to Clarkson) would be used most liberally here-in fact, he could almost have anything he wanted, and he would be protected in the matter of privacy concerning any arrangement.” (Needham 262) There is no arguing with Needham on this issue; he proves his point perfectly with this letter.

        Needham proves his thesis, that there is scandalous activity going on in college sports throughout his article, but I don’t totally agree with where he stands on the issue of playing summer ball. The issue of unfair recruiting I totally agree with. The extent that Charles Patterson goes to recruit boys from Andover and Exeter is ridiculous. College athletes should play for the coach and the program they feel comfortable playing for and if they are talented enough and the schools budget can afford a scholarship, then so be it. There is no room for blue chips in college sports. College players should only have one incentive to play and that is to win. Let the NBA play for money. I do agree with Mike Murphy on summer play. “Those fellows who played at Paul Smith’s might have better played with fellows who’d help their game more. I believe in it. I think it’s all right. A man has a right to get his board, and to take twenty five dollars a week to help him through college.” (263) The summer does not belong to the school it belongs to the student. If a player wants to play ball in the summer let him, what better a summer job then playing baseball with friends. Players are not signing million dollar contracts to play in the summer, they’re making enough money to have a place to live and have a little extra spending money, as well as practice all summer long. I think it is a crime to tell someone they can’t play baseball in the summer.

        During the time this article was released, college sports were taking over the nation. This article must have opened a lot of eyes and disappointed a lot of people. Opened the eyes of the school board and polititians and really disappointed the athletes whose names were released. I can only imagine what today’s media would have done to a story like this.