Bo Gets Commitments for 1921
Before the Kentucky game, Bo held another team meeting. He had been thinking a lot about Harvard and the next season. However, it was important to him, and to Centre's chances, that the team stick together in order for the Colonels to be able to challenge the Crimson in 1921.
Everyone knew that due to the S.I.A.A.'s having declared the 1918 season as not being counted regarding future eligibility, Bo and many of the seniors would be able to play in 1921, and Bo, in particular, wanted to get a head count about who planned to return for a 5th year at Centre. Also, for the others who weren't affected by the 1918 ruling, were they coming back?
Bo unloaded a bombshell in the meeting held in the lounge of Breck Hall.
"I've been offered $50,000 over the next five years to turn pro. I can't tell you who made the offer, but you can believe me when I tell you that the offer was for real, and I have received a contract that they want me to sign."
Bo's major offer
There were several whistles and gasps.
"Bo, how can you turn that type of money down?"
It was a legitimate question. Bo and Marie, his long-time love, were determined to get married, eventually. They had decided to hold off until Bo either graduated, or until he got a good job offer, hopefully associated with football. The $10,000 yearly certainly was "a good job offer."
To understand exactly how good, it needs to be pointed out exactly what $10,000 would buy in 1920 dollars.
A Ford Model T cost $350.00. A nice home could be bought for $2,500 to $3,000.
You could stay in a really good hotel with private bath for $2.00-$3.00 nightly. A movie cost 25 to 50 cents. A gallon of gasoline was 30 cents. Milk was 58 cents/gallon.
But the really impressive statistic regarding the offer that Bo received was that the average annual salary in 1920 was less than $1,500. ( Adjusted for inflation, $10,000 in 1920 would be the equivalent of over $160,000 today. )
$10,000 a year was big time money for a young man from North Side High in Fort Worth! $10,000 would allow him to marry his childhood sweetheart.
"But I'm going to turn it down, if," and Bo paused, "I'm going to turn it down if you'll all come back next year, especially those of you who could graduate but who have another year of eligibility, because," and again Bo paused, "because, I know we can beat Harvard. I know we can beat Harvard."
One by one, Bo asked for commitments, almost like a drill sergeant.
Left to Right- Tom Bartlett, Bo, Hump Tanner, and Army Armstrong all were returning for the 1921 season
Army had received an offer of a job which would guarantee him a good salary. "But, I'll be back."
Hump Tanner and Tom Bartlett said they'd be back.
Chick Murphy, left and Sully Montgomery
Sully wasn't certain, but he said he'd try.
Chick Murphy said he'd be back.
"Bo, you know how financially stressed out I am. If I can afford to come back, I will. But I can't make a commitment."
Like Bo, big Red had received pro offers, but his loyalty was to Bo and his teammates.
"I'll be back, and I'll be in the best shape I've ever been in."
"You couldn't drag me away. Count me in."
Ben Cregor replied in the affirmative.
Ben "Baldy" Cregor
Bo closed the meeting after getting several more positive answers by saying, "Then I'll be back, because I'm telling you, we can beat Harvard. I know it, we can beat Harvard."