In previous postings we've been discussing delayed entry rules of the NCAA and how it affects athletes who do not go directly into university after high school or who seem to be getting some advantage from play in church leagues or against professionals in non collegiate competition. One of the things I brought up was how military teams during WWII used college players who were in the service and how it affected their eligibility in those days. It seemed possible that some could have gotten 8 years of eligibility and come out with a Phd. I don't know if any went that far. Bill Schnier answered this question in part , but he has now added some further information. I know that this applies to football rather than track and field, but it is still an interesting situation and a part of our history. Also let's not forget that a lot of guys went into the service after college careers and continued to run on military teams and participate in Conseil Internationale du Sport Militaire (CISM) international meets that in some races resembled a world cup or world championship type event back in the 50's 60's and 70's. One runner who was 'discovered' in the military and then went to university was Adolph Plummer who eventually set the world record in the 440 yards while at the U. of New Mexico.
Here is Bill's additional information about the Great Lakes Naval Station teams out of Chicago.
I have no idea whether college players avoided combat by playing football, but I do know that bases such as Great Lakes Naval Station and Quantico Marines wanted strong teams to indicate a strong military. College football was far more popular than pro football then so this provided a natural stage. Otto Graham played there as did many others such as Marion Motley. It was a time when black players played on those military teams which also helped to integrate college teams afterwards. Otto Graham had played at Northwestern before going to GLNS then the Cleveland Browns.
From Steve Price. Really enjoyed all the pap re; N.C.A.A. rules and "out of school" competitions. The runners who competed for the Kettering Striders probably broke some of those rules hundreds of times. Only good fortune prevented them from being caught. I know that I was always involved in some type of flap with the high schools as to who can compete, where, and when. Everybody wants to be in control don't they !
Steve, The Kettering Striders were an organization which was ahead of its time, doing much of their work before high school teams for girls had been established. In the early KS days there were few or no HS teams so there was no real problem. When HS teams began to proliforate in the early 1970s, the KS were at odds with them and had to be dealt with. I remember talking with you at the time about these controversies with high schools and coaches and was very glad I was at a school (Trotwood-Madison). I understood schools and did not really understand clubs although I certainly was a spectator as well as a member of the KS.
Here is a link to a blog about Notre Dame playing a professional studded GLNS baseball team during the war. http://tomandkatehickeyfamilyhistory.blogspot.ca/2013/08/notre-dame-and-my-father-play-major.html
m: Richard Trace Great Lakes could have won the pennant!
From George Brose;
One case, more modern, that just came to mind is that of Bob Schul, the 1964 5,000 meter Olympic champion. ln his autobiography he mentions that he did not attend college right out of high school, but instead, worked in a factory for a year. There probably wasn't much opportunity for a 4:30 high school miler to run in any open or road races then in the Dayton, Ohio area. Bob then went to Miami of Ohio for a couple of years and made significant gains but left for the Air Force before graduating. In the Air Force he worked a regular military schedule but trained after hours with some other good runners at his base including Max Truex. I'm not sure if this is when he connected with Igloi. After the Air Force he came back to Miami and ran for them for a season and trained through a hard winter outdoors for the indoor racing season. He eventually had some disagreements with the school about where he could compete and left the program. But there was nothing that the NCAA did about restricting his eligibility. Bob, if you are reading this and have corrections to make, contact me.
Les Hegedus who was a three time All American in the College Division of the NCAA back in the 60's did not go to school right after high school, but he did compete for the Cleveland Magyar Club for a year where he developed his talent. Subsequently he was discovered by the Central State coach Dave Youngblade and offered a scholarship to run.
The real grumbling in the ranks began when Houston and several other Texas schools and Oklahoma City University started having success with older Aussie imports. The Aussie Athletics Association also grumbled on their side saying the American schools were draining their nation of talent and put a ban on their own athletes going overseas to compete for US universities. Good Irish runners such as Ron Delaney and Noel Carroll were already in US universities but the Irish powers that be took a different view of their talent drain. Then by the late 60's American coaches discovered the Kenyans and Tanzanians. Getting secondary school education in English in their own countries made the transition to the US somewhat easier, compared to recruiting in Ethiopia. The recruiting wars overseas began, and eventually the age restrictions etc. began appearing in the rules. More aggressive coaches were always looking for an advantage, and as they found them, other coaches would complain and lobby for rules to change. Now it seems that we have arrived at the point that the NCAA has imposed a lot of restrictions on outside competition, but it applies mainly to sports that the NCAA is less and less interested in supporting. Most of our readers seem to feel that in football and basketball schools can get away with a lot more serious wrong doing and suffer less severe penalties, because they bring a lot of revenue into the NCAA coffers.