Trouble On the Horizon
Dr. Fred Rainey, faculty athletic advisor, had to miss the banquet due to traveling south to represent Centre at the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association's annual meeting.
On the agenda was an issue which was of critical importance to Centre.
Each year, the issue of the "one-year rule" had been brought up, and it had been defeated by the narrowest of margins at the previous meeting. The rule, if adopted, would have made freshmen ineligible to participate in any intercollegiate sports until 12 months after their enrollment.
Centre had grown a bit each year, and the entering freshman class contained the largest number of first year men to ever enroll in the college. The excitement and publicity surrounding the great success of the football team was credited with being the driving force behind the record number of new entrants.
Student Body 1921-22
Freshmen made up 48% of the students on campus. If they were declared ineligible, Centre would have had but 137 men to choose from in order to compete with colleges who would have had many more in their pool of possible athletes.
Half of the 16 men who played in the Harvard game were freshmen: Ed Kubale, Minos Gordy, Bill Shadoan, George Jones, Dick Gibson, Frank Rubarth, Herb Covington, and Ray Class.
Of the 28 players who made the trip to Boston, 14 were freshmen. In addition to those who got in the game, Don Beane, Hope Hudgins, Clifton "Hennie" Lemon, Case Thomasson, Les Combs and Weldon Bradley were all first year men.
"If you pass this rule, it will kill us," Dr. Rainey argued. "We'll be alright next year because we have such a strong freshman class this year, and most will be back. But in the future, it will place great hardship on Centre, and to other small schools our size."
Of the 27 member schools represented at the conference, 18 voted in favor of implementing the "one year rule."
As a consolation to the smaller colleges, the conference attendees passed the "migratory rule," which meant that once a young man had enrolled in a school and participated in a sport, he couldn't transfer elsewhere later and play, prohibiting athletes from starting their careers at one institution and then transferring to another school where it was felt they may garner more fame.
"That's not a problem with us," Dr. Rainey declared. "But the 'one year rule' will make it impossible for the smaller school to compete in the future."
Dr. Rainey's words were prophetic.