- Purchase/rental options available:
This article examines the 1942 attempt by the trustees to discontinue the Athletics Department, especially the football program, at Mississippi State College. Sources include archival records of the correspondence between college officials, as well as student publications, newspapers, trustee board minutes, and state legislature records. The trustees expressed doubts that football could remain financially self-sustaining during World War II. The paper argues that Mississippi State's president and Athletic Department employees convinced the trustees that college football should be played during 1942 since it could remain self-sustaining and would make positive contributions to the war effort. This debate in college sport history provides an example of how college administrators successfully retained institutional autonomy by justifying college sport through its educational value when faced with the ethical dilemma of whether to maintain athletics during World War II.