The book published in 1960 entitled, "You Have to Pay the Price" was reviewed by many authors and sports reporters--one being Arthur Daley of the New York Times in the autumn of 1960 in his column, SPORTS OF THE TIMES, written exclusively for that paper. In it, Blaik writes about the most disapointing and discouraging time in his life and the experience he was forced to endure--The Cheating Scandal in West Point in 1951.
SPORTS OF THE TIMES
By ARTHUR DALEY
The New York Times
The Price Came High
When Earl (Red) Blaik was a 16 year-old schoolboy
in Dayton, Ohio, the turbulent Miami River broke
through the levees and inundated the city. The Dayton
flood was his introduction to catastrophe and the
retired West Point football coach uses it as the taking-
off point for his swift-moving, long-awaited
autobiography, "You Have to Pay the Price," written
with the unobtrusive ghostly assistance of Tim
"Thirty-eight years later," says the still scarred and
tormented redhead, "I was to know catastrophe and
desolation again, of a different sort, but carrying the
same kind of shock of a world torn asunder. That was
the expulsion from West Point of ninety cadets for a
breach of the Honor Code. The ninety included almost
my entire football team; among them was my own
son, the expulsion, in one sense, was the greater
If Blaik speaks with bitterness, he also speaks from
knowledge. For the first time, this ugly and unhappy
incident is presented in its proper perspective. Not for
an instant is any phase of the code violation
condoned, but the heading of that most rewarding
chapter makes clear Red's feelings. He calls it "The
"My objection," he writes with undisguised resentment,
"is to the inept, callous, and sometimes evasive
manner in which some of those in authority handled a
most complex problem."
To him the punishment never fit the crime.
"I shall always believe," he continues, "and not
without good reason, that if football players had not
been involved in such wholesale numbers, the
violations would have been internally resolved."
Although this cause celebre attained the tag of "the
cribbing scandal," there never was any cribbing, per se,
involved. In 1951, West Point authorities stupidly
gave the same examinations to half a class on one day
and to the other half of the class on the next day. The
repetitive-writ system they called it. Human nature
being as it is: there were leaks from the first group to
There was no cheating in the classroom at any time.
Some of those expelled took these illegally given tips
to shorten their work load. Others tutored less bright
cadets, but accepted no aid themselves. Still others
knew about the scholastic hanky-panky, but did not
report it. Ninety were men enough and honorable men
enough, to admit It. Some admitted nothing and stayed.
The ninety were dismissed.
"Certainly, ninety fine young Americans of good
families and records," writes Blaik, "do not suddenly
become 'men without honor' unless sornething basic in
a system Is wrong and extraordinary conditions and
circumstances are affecting them."
The entire affair was handled in such Draconian
fashion that it rankles the redhead as much now as it
"The involvement of so many prominent athletes,
especially football players," he recounts, "provided a
vindictive few on the Post a relished opportunity to
whet their blood-axes. From these came fantastic tales
almost too grotesque to recite. For example, one
officer assisting the investigatory group said, 'They
probably threw the Navy game." Dignity went out the
"Although I had the opportunity to present my views
to the superintendent of the academy, at no time
during the investigation was I called on to appear
before the Tactical Board. Nor was my request granted
to appear before the Academic Board. I had requested
that I be permitted to place all the information in my
possession before this board. This I was never
permitted to do. The recommendation of dismissal was
devoid of mature thinking."
Eventually, the matter went before George C.
Marshall, the Secretary of Defense. "Marshall's
services to his country are unquestione