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An informative piece of trivia from the 1915 Rose Bowl

I'm reading John M. Carroll's biography of Fritz Pollard, a black football player whose career was cut short when the NFL instituted a policy of segregation in 1933. Pollard, a collegiate hall of famer for Brown, probably belongs in the NFL hall of fame as well.

The book is packed full of interesting facts. Here is one observation from preparations for the 1915 Rose Bowl.

During its stay in the Los Angeles area, Washington State held its practice sessions on the movie set of the film Tom Brown of Harvard. The players worked as extras in the low-budget film with a football theme, and Coach Dietz had a principal role. Dick Hanley, a star halfback of the 1915 team, recalled that "for two weeks before the game we were busy all day filming the football scenes. We thus combined our movie work with training for the game." He added that the players made about $100 apiece for their movie work and "bet it all on ourselves to beat Brown." ... Most sportswriters, in deference to the alleged superiority of Eastern football, made Brown a heavy favorite in the contest.

That's not a bad chunk of change in 2004 dollars, and participation in the film would certainly violate NCAA rules today. And the gambling -- what a scandal that would be!

My point? Remember your history the next time someone alleges that the modern game has lost touch with the ethics of "the good old days." I'll have more on Carroll's book when I finish reading it.

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