May 22, 2016

I was trying to decide what I wanted to put up on a rainy Sunday afternoon (at least rainy here in MD) and saw a great Sports Illustrated article written in Oct 1962 by a previous Pitt Chancellor, Dr. Edward Litchfield, about the national debate if Grant-In Aids (athletic scholarships) were a good thing to have on college campuses.

This intro below is a personal bit about why this article strikes my fancy.  The article itself is the other audio bar.

Here is the body of the article – excuse the small mistakes if you will, I’m not a professional at this.  I especially like the contrasts between Litchfield’s descriptions of Pitt athletics then and today’s state of college football.  There are some great points made here – especially some timeless ones that hold true today.

Hope you enjoy it!

“Camel Driver” – try putting that on a kid today!  I also love that we stole almost a whole opposing team –

Far back in 1903, for example, out-university felt mortified to have been defeated two straight years by the football team of little Geneva College. Football in those days seldom made much money at the box office but many colleges recruited passionately, simply because they found defeat unbearable. In the wake of our losses to Geneva, corrective action was deemed imperative and there seemed only one surefire way of seeing to it that we beat Geneva the next year. We took it.

We lured to our campus most of the Geneva players and the following season, 1904, defeated Geneva 30-0. During the balance of the decade Pitt football teams lost only 13 of 71 games. Now what sort of boys were they, do you suppose, that could be proselyted so frivolously? Because many of them have passed on, we were able to trace only 17. Of that number, four were physicians, five dentists, two attorneys and one a Ph.D.

And I cracked up about the Holier-than-Thou attitude Litchfield held toward our players trying to extort $100…

“Unhappily, in 1937, the university received a black eye which ultimately led to a prolonged period of de-emphasis in athletics and from which Pitt did not recover for many years. Pitt’s ’37 football squad, invited to the Rose Bowl, demanded that the university provide each player with $100 entertainment money.

The university refused, knowing full well its refusal would mean the loss of $100,000 in Rose Bowl receipts, and thus the team remained home on New Year’s Day. One may well imagine the notoriety Pitt received in the nation’s press. Even allowing that the commercial tone of intercollegiate football had contributed to our players’ attitude, no one could condone their behavior.”

Huh!  Now Pitt is extorting huge $$$ just for the right to buy some season tickets for our games… my, how times do change.

Here is a link to the .pdf of Irwin Shaw’s “Eighty Yard Run” short story that the author references. Hard to read but great writing…

A bit about the author:

Edward H. Litchfield, formerly the Dean of the School of Business and Public Administration at Cornell University, assumed the role of Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh on July 1, 1956. In addition to his new position as Chancellor, Litchfield maintained several connections to the business world, including committee memberships and directorships with corporations such as Smith-Corona, Avco, and Studebaker-Packard.

Litchfield orchestrated many changes at the University of Pittsburgh such as a reorganization of the administrative structure, salary increases for employees, and pension increases for retired professors. He focused many of his early activities on improving faculty conditions, reducing teaching loads, and implementing sabbatical leaves and the formation of the Senate Council. A second focus was on improving and developing the academic programs by limiting entrance to professional schools to graduate students and by improving the quality of the professors.

One of Litchfield’s most important contributions was physically expanding the campus through the addition of dormitories, the purchase of the Schenley Hotel and the acquisition or construction of several additional buildings. Financial problems, due to overspending and unforeseen problems, characterized the later part of Litchfield’s chancellorship, until his resignation in July, 1965.

He, along with his wife, his two youngest children, and his mother, were killed in a private airplane crash on March 8, 1968 over Lake Michigan near Meigs Field. The Litchfield Towers (dormitories) on Pitt’s main campus were named in his honor.

Litchfield sounds like quite a character and administrator. Thanks for the history lesson , Reed!

Comment by PittPT 05.22.16 @ 2:04 pm

Good read, Reed.

By the way, in your first recording you mentioned sitting at something you called a typewriter. What is that?

Comment by dinosaur 71 05.22.16 @ 3:39 pm

He was Chancellor when I was in school. I remember he wanted Pitt to join the Ivy league but we were not admitted.

Comment by Frank MD 05.22.16 @ 4:52 pm

Wow, wonder if I could have gone to Pitt if it was in the Ivy League ?

Comment by PittPT 05.22.16 @ 5:13 pm

Reed dont talk bad about the dead… Pitt would have been better off in the Ivy League He was Education minded thats not so bad is it?

Comment by Boo Boo #1 05.22.16 @ 6:11 pm

Reed i bought my new Pitt hat on here and 2 Pitt coffee mugs and 2 Pitt magnic decals for my car And am ALL IN BRING ON PENN ST H2P

Comment by Boo Boo #1 05.22.16 @ 6:18 pm

Reed, you are awesome because we must study history or are destined to repeat it. Something like that 🙂 College football has always been big, much larger than the NFL ever was or will be. The NFL didn’t sell out the super bowl in the early stages, first one being 1967. College football has always been large since the start of the century, not uncommon for 100K fans in the early 1900’s. An issue with these schools, is football larger and more important than the academics and the institution itself?

Some schools like Carnegie Tech, today’s CMU and University of Chicago said no! U of Chicago eliminated the football program and concentrated on academics. As a matter of fact they were a founding member of the big ten, and when they withdrew, the first school the big 10 reached out to was PITT. PITT said no and the next school they reached out to was Mich St.

What has transpired is the sad state of college athletics, where the raping of children is tolerated for the sake of the football program!

Comment by ptg 05.22.16 @ 8:25 pm

Ivies were right to deny Pitt. We aint Ivy league material. But we can be the Stanford of the East.

Comment by TX Panther 05.22.16 @ 9:09 pm

I was pretty upset during the conference realignment scramble, when the Big Ten showed no interest in Pitt. Now with Pitt being in the ACC, I think it’s a better spot for them.

Comment by Justinian 05.22.16 @ 10:12 pm

In some current recruiting news, Temple QB recruit who recently decommited from the Owls, visited Pittsburgh & the Pitt facilities this past weekend. Although rated only as a 3* at this time, his recent acholades from various QB camps suggest that he is under rated. His name, Kenny Pickett, and his visit went very well. Pickett sounds like he is seriously considering his offer from the Panthers.

Check out the review of his performance down in the DC area of Centreville, VA (my old stomping grounds). The kid sounds legit with a good upside potential.

link to

Comment by Dr. Tom 05.23.16 @ 5:35 am

I wonder what a 60 year look back at alumni athletes would show today.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 05.23.16 @ 5:45 am

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it’s failures….or something like that.
Great listen….need to read the book.

Comment by Sfpitt 05.23.16 @ 6:08 am

Dinosaur, a history of Pitt would show periods of time when the Pitt admin increased support of the FB program and then later de-emphasized the program … and this has been done over and over and over again. It is now on the upswing but sadly there will likely come a time when this is reversed.

Comment by wbb 05.23.16 @ 6:53 am

Quote from QB recruit Pickett – Coach Narduzzi showed us the new uniforms which were awesome. I really like the new Pitt script and the throwback uniforms.”

Has anyone else seen the throwback uniforms?

Comment by Winedogs 05.23.16 @ 7:51 am

TX – the last people to advocate Pitt being the Stanford of the East were Ed Bozik and Paul Hackett. Are you calling for that? 🙂

Comment by rkb 05.23.16 @ 8:11 am

So CV is a “tramp athlete”?. LOL Great history lesson. Thanks

Comment by rkb 05.23.16 @ 8:22 am

rkb – Recall my aside when I read that – “Remember this is 1962”?

Transfers are a lot different now – then they basically got paid to play at colleges.

Guys – thanks for listening, I know it was a long one but I thought it was an interesting look at ‘old’ Pitt football.

Speaking of uniforms – if you want to see them up close and personal here is the link for it…

link to

Interesting what is on the back of the BB jerseys… on the back of the women’s BB shirts it say “Meet me at Chief’s after the game”

Comment by Reed 05.23.16 @ 8:31 am

I have a great deal of respect for Chancellor Litchfield and his morals and accomplishments but it does mark the beginning of a deemphasis of athletes and football in particular.

Imagine Penn State agreeing that they would not play us if we didn’t meet academic standards – ripe for Paterno to come in and take advantage of Pitt’s adherence to deemphasis and strict academic standards.

All the while he was protecting a child molesting predator, having arrested athletes brought to his house and he would decide whether they would be charged (I’ve talked to state police in the know); protected an All-American wide receiver who committed no less than 5 burglaries of his fellow students dorm rooms and send over athletic department interns to plead “JoePa needs him Saturday” (from former student I worked with as prosecutor who witnessed) ,(pausing to sip Orange Juice).

Let’s not forget his use of Communications Degrees to replace basket weaving, Sandusky asking a potential starting linebacker what he intend to major in and when the well known athlete said “engineering” Sandusky responded “well I guess you don’t want to start at Penn State”.

Litchfield’s biggest fault in the athletics area was trusting others to be as committed to moral and academic growth as he.

I am proud in our real educated athletes. Go Pitt!

Comment by rkb 05.23.16 @ 9:01 am

Reed I did understand and I am indeed looking back. I believe he was a good Chancellor taken advantage of.

Word on Grant Street – AG Kane told her office they would not be prosecuting Ped State officials then two days later the new allegations surfaced which quieted this. Now she announced she is going after Second Mile and Penn Staters cheer as it will be used to exonerate Penn State in their minds see Trustee Lubrano’s quest to ‘clear JoeP’. Remember she got elected by promising to go after Corbett’s investigation.
Chancellor Litchfield based on the excellent podcast would be horrified to say the least.

Comment by rkb 05.23.16 @ 9:16 am

Actually as much as I love Pitt athletics I would not have minded us in the Ivy League
Now we must compete with the football and basketball factories and that in some ways is a losing battle
We probably would still have an OCS

Comment by Frank md 05.23.16 @ 9:34 am

I was hoping to see a new Pat signal over the rainy weekend – is California the new “WPIAL”?


Comment by Erie Express 05.23.16 @ 10:59 am

Reed….. Great stuff. My Aunt Helen loved Litchfield as did my mom but both feared Pitt would eventually drop football.

Pitt was really difficult to get into thru 64 because of him.

Comment by Dan 72 05.23.16 @ 11:00 am

I was at Pitt 57-60 as Litchfield was making us the “Harvard” west of the Alleghenies. He did start a great move to improve the Campus but my recollections highlight his ability to move Pitt into national and international circles highlighted by Nikita Kruchev’s visit and speech at the Schenley in 1960 or John Kennedy and Christian Herter’s(Sec. of State)visits later that year.He also changed the Business school to an upper level undergraduate school and therefore began its road to its’ present day status of excellence. I also remember the tuition increase from $150/ semester my fr. yr to $450 my Sr. yr that almost put me out of school,the changes in scheduling to adapt to the new programs and not end up requiring 5 yrs for a BBA degree and the destruction of a .500+ football team including the likes of Mike Ditka Foge Fazio and others to total disaster by hiring a high school coach and getting rid of John Michaelosen. The 50s and the 60s were turbulent if nothing else and on balance we became better and survived.

Comment by Pitt60 05.24.16 @ 11:55 am

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