I ran across the story-behind-the-story of the most lopsided college football game ever, Georgia Tech over Cumberland College 220-0, one hundred years ago. The wikipedia version is probably best researched and most accurate, but I liked this older version from the Chicago Tribune better. I had always assumed that it was just the classic Podunk U vs. national powerhouse story, but there is more to it than that. Cumberland had been a respectable football team two years before but had dropped the sport. Coach John Heisman - the name may ring a bell - of Georgia Tech insisted they play anyway or pay up $3000 because of lost gate receipts. That was big money in those days. Yet even that may not be the most important consideration - it was a revenge game.
How in the world could Cumberland College have done anything to invite revenge from one of the top programs in the country? They had beaten Georgia Tech's baseball team - also coached by Heisman - the year before, 22-0, by bringing in a professional team from Memphis and calling them the Cumberland squad.
Another reminder that the Good Old Days weren't. Only after WWII did college sports in general start to develop some standards. Until then it was Honor System, and that only works in some places. Perhaps it was seeing moral horror up close, perhaps it was the GI Bill bringing in respectable middle America, perhaps it was the ache to make America live up to its ideals. But not until then did we look around and say "Y'know, we really need to make sure these players aren't actually professional; and make sure they really go to classes; and fellas, we need to integrate these teams." You will note that we still struggle with all that. Standards are hard, and humans resist them.