Danville, Ky., Nov. 3, 1893 [November 3, 1893]
Mr. Herbert H. Hill,
Pres't [President] State College Foot-ball Assoc'n [University of Kentucky Football Association],
I wrote you yesterday acknowledging the receipt of your recent favor, and saying that I could not give a definite answer to your challenge until I had conferred with the Faculty of Centre College. I have to-day had such a conference, with the result that permission to play the proposed extra game of Thanksgiving Day is denied; the Directors of the College Athletic Association have also taken independent but concurrent action with that of the Faculty upon your proposition. The grounds of this prohibition by the two Boards of Control having authority in such matters are understood to be - aside from the fact that the proposed game would interfere with other arrangements which we prefer making - in substance the following:-
First, the bitter feeling already engendered between the two colleges, as evidenced by certain occurrences at the recent game in Danville, and by published articles since the game, make it highly undesirable to bring the two colleges again in competition this season. Athletics must be subordinated always and strictly to the higher interests of education and good fellowship between sister institutions; but a new contest of the kind suggested would almost certainly tend to unhealthful excitement and distraction of attention during the intervening weeks of anticipation and preparation, and would very likely to result finally
in further embitterment of feeling and possibly in still more serious trouble. It is hardly conceivable that the effect of such a game upon college life and intercollegiate relations could in any way be beneficial.
Secondly, the foot-ball team of this college will not be allowed to play with any other team that accepts the issue of a game in the spirit exhibited by those defeated in the late contest, and that continues to make or to countenance public charges against us of trickery and unfair dealing. It cannot be forgotten that the progress of the game last week was forcibly interfered with by those who wished to withstand a decision that was not to their fancy; nor can we forget that it has been freely charged that the gentlemen who acted as umpire was "rung into" the game by a subterfuge on our part,- an insinuation as baseless as it is offensive; nor can we forget that the candor and honor of the gentleman in question have been assailed in the persistent representations that he favored the home team, when as matter of fact he leaned in his strict impartiality if anything to the other side. Were there no other considerations involved, self respect alone would compel us to decline the challenge now submitted to us.
But, thirdly, there is no occasion or reason of any kind for a new game; there is no question or issue to try that has not been sufficiently and fairly,- at least as far as concerns our late opponents - tried already. If the hour and a half's struggle
of the other day did not settle which is the better team, how could that point be settled by a new struggle of the same kind.
If the team that now challenges us to further trial is the stronger, they certainly had the best opportunity in the world to prove it last Saturday, when they encountered our team weakened and discouraged, not knowing up to within ten minutes of the game whether or not their captain would be allowed to play with them, and obliged at the last moment suddenly to adjust themselves to new conditions. We thought that we had a right to claim that we were playing at an unfair disadvantage, because the final answer in writing to our proposal to play a certain list including myself as captain was expressly approved after the list had been submitted also "to several of the foot-ball management". We were unprepared therefore for the strict insistence in committee upon a technicality, which threatened us in case we refused to play under the conditions imposed, with forfeiture of the game, loss of the championship, and (what in the state of our treasury was of paramount importance) the loss of the profits of the afternoon's game. We therefore accepted the situation and won in spite of it, not by favor of it. We are sure in our own minds that the contest did not reveal the actual disproportion of the two teams in merit, but having accepted the conditions of the game we played under them, and after the game made no complaint. The State College [University of Kentucky] is entitled to the credit of the score made; we make no question of the issue,- and we cannot allow our opponents to question it.
And, lastly, we are strongly of the opinion that it would be setting a bad precedent to arrange a new game because one party to a contest once decided is dissatisfied with the result. The example would be pernicious even were there in the original instance some real occasion or excuse for such a re-trial of a contest, and not as in the present case where there is even no plausible pretext for it. It would thereafter be necessary only to question an umpire's decision, and the entire result of a game could be invalidated and a re-trial of it ordered. We do not believe it to be for the best interests of intercollegiate athletics to set such a precedent.
Constrained therefore by the prohibition of the Faculty and the Directors of the Association, and by the foregoing considerations which are held each and singly by itself to be sufficient, I have to return an absolute and final declination of your challenge. I beg to add, however, that on all other accounts than those mentioned it would give me personally and all the members of our team the liveliest satisfaction to have the opportunity of meeting again in the field the team that we beat last week by too small a majority.
Very truly yours,
Physical Director and Captain.
Mr. Durant Berry [Walter D. Berry]