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Letters to the Editor: Hetzel supports public health, Centre alum takes issue with Reed column

Public health crisis

Shameless, just shameless – the Republican Party of the United States, particularly when it comes to public health. They ignore and argue against proven methods to combat a deadly infectious disease. A political gain is more attractive to that pack than mitigating suffering or forestalling death.

Here in Kentucky, we have clear examples of that ravenous behavior in the persons of Senator Rand Paul, Representative Thomas Massie and Attorney General Daniel Cameron, along with the GOP state legislature. One could easily construct a substantial list of shortcomings but a few lines from a Rudyard Kipling poem go precisely to the heart of the matter.

His piece, The Hyenas, describes a burial party leaving a grave, with the animals coming out at night to dig it up. The Hyenas:

“Who, being soulless, are free from shame,
Whatever meat they may find”

Robert L. Hetzel
From the desk of Rob Robertson, M.D.

Billy Reed’s column on Centre College ‘cheating’
Billy Reed’s proposed plans published in the August 30 issue of the Northern Kentucky Tribune about exposing Centre’s “cheating” in order to build a team capable of playing and beating Harvard in 1921 are most unfortunate and based on a complete lack of understanding about the history involved. Reed plans to unleash his information while moderating an upcoming event in October at Centre.

Reed states that Centre’s coach, “Uncle Charlie” Moran, “cheated” by recruiting two Texans to come to Centre who had no interest in actually getting an education but merely to play football. He names Bo McMillin and Red Roberts as the Texans.

From Reed’s column-

The truth be told, the game was one of the first examples of the cheating that plagued the sport from that day to this.

The gist of the story is that Harvard had put together a string of five consecutive unbeaten, national-championship seasons. In order to beat the Crimson, the “Prayin’ Colonels of Coach Charlie Moran, imported a couple of Texans, Bo McMillin and Red Roberts, who had no interest in attending classes.

………. I will not ignore Centre’s cheating. As I see it, that’s the game’s most enduring legacy.

Here are the facts.

Bo McMillin was a product of North Side High School in Fort Worth, Texas. His coach was Robert L. “Chief” Myers who graduated from Centre in 1907. Myers dreamed from his Centre days about helping Centre build a football program which could someday reach parity with members of the eastern, established powers, particularly members of the “Big 3 ” of Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Myers built a successful program at North Side and had several players on his team who he felt had enough talent to help Centre reach national prominence.

Two of those players were Bo McMillin and Red Weaver and Myers took them to Centre in the fall of 1916 in order to enroll them. This was after the 1915 preceding fall in which Myers’ North Side “Steers” had been the runners-up in the Texas High School Championship game played in Austin.

Myers also took Matty Bell, Bob Mathias and Thad McDonnell.

When the 5 North Side players arrived with Myers in Danville, it was revealed that Bo McMillin and Red Weaver didn’t meet Centre’s academic requirements and Myers helped them go south to Somerset, Kentucky where they entered school at Somerset High in order to earn enough credits to enroll at Centre in the fall of 1917. A school which admitted just anyone with football talents wouldn’t have denied admission to such talented prospects because of their lack of sufficient high school credits.

That makes no sense! Centre had academic standards which had to be met.

The 3 other players who Myers sent to Centre were enrolled successfully.

“Uncle Charlie” Moran had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Bo McMillin coming to Centre as Reed so fallaciously asserts in his story about Centre “cheating.” He wasn’t even in the picture at the time.

Actually, Moran became the coach after Centre’s first game of the 1917 season against DePauw. He had come to Danville to see his son, Tom, who was on Centre’s team. Chief Myers knew about Moran’s successful coaching career at Texas A&M from 1909-14 because their time in Texas overlapped. Chief Myers asked Moran to become Centre’s coach because he felt Moran had more skills than he had.

Bo McMillin was already on Centre’s team in 1917 as the quarterback BEFORE MORAN BECAME COACH and again, MORAN HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH BO COMING TO CENTRE.

Regarding Red Roberts, Reed is again totally mistaken. He states that Roberts was one of the Texans that Moran sent to Centre as part of his cheating scheme.

Anyone who has even a minimal amount of knowledge about the Centre story should realize that Red Roberts was from Somerset, Kentucky, not Texas. Red Roberts came to Centre because Bo McMillin and Red Weaver had played on the 1916 Somerset “Briar Jumpers” football team along with Red Roberts. Roberts was a junior when McMillin and Weaver were completing their year in Somerset in order to secure the credits needed to meet Centre’s educational, admission requirements.

Naturally, Moran would have had some influence in getting Red Roberts to enroll in Centre in the fall of 1918. After all, he was the team’s coach AT THAT TIME!

I should hope that Reed doesn’t consider it “cheating” to recruit a talented player such as Red Roberts.

Centre’s successes from 1917-24 were historic and quite legitimate. Its program was extensively vetted by Harvard which would have never scheduled any program with a hint of scandal. A former All- American at Harvard, Eddie Mahan, who played in 1913-15, actually came to Danville and met with Centre’s administration in 1919 and determined that Centre ran an honorable program prior to Harvard putting Centre on its schedule in 1920. ( Centre and Harvard played 3 times-1920, 1921 and 1922. )

It is obvious that Reed wants the storyline to somehow connect what he considers modern-day “cheating” in college sports to having begun at Centre. He wants to make the claim that Centre’s win was accomplished by “cheating” and that is the game’s “most enduring legacy.” The actual facts, easily established, simply don’t support that assertion.

It is a shame that Reed wants to make what should be a day of celebration of Centre’s 6-0 win over Harvard to actually be the beginning of something sordid in college sports.

One can only wonder what is the motivation.
Incidentally, Reed also mistakenly states that the 1921 Centre-Harvard game was on October 30. It was October 29.
Rob Robertson, M.D.
Centre ’63

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One Comment

  1. Willie says:

    Mr. Robertson, thanks for setting the record straight.

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