Was Washington Offered Rose Bowl First?

In a discussion on Amazon.com of his biography of “Gloomy” Gil Dobie, William L. Borland, states that the University of Washington was offered the opportunity to defend the honor of the West and turned it down prior to it being offered to Washington State. UW’s account differs with that told by WSC. When asked where he found the information to support the claim, Borland responded that he found it in Seattle newspapers of the day. I have seen letters on Tournament of Roses letterhead to Washington State and to Brown University confirming that they would be playing each other on January 1, 1916, but I haven’t seen anything from the Tournament to UW. Research in Tournament of Roses and UW archives will be necessary to determine the truth. However, not finding anything in either archive does not mean that documents never existed, just that the institutions didn’t save them or that someone stole them from the archives. The latter happens more often than we’d like to admit.

It will be some time before I have the opportunity to do research at either institution, so basic newspaper searches will have to do for now. I do recall that an early report out of Providence stated that Brown would be playing the University of Washington. Prior to this, I thought that a reporter was confused. A quick search of an on-line newspaper archive found a November 10, 1915 article in The Bakersfield Californian that included the following:

“The undefeated University of Washington football eleven probably will be seen in action at Pasadena New Year’s Day, according to plans learned in Los Angeles yesterday. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has invited Coach Gilmour Dobie’s aggregation to meet one of the strongest eastern varsities at Pasadena January 1, and Washington is expected to accept the offer….Faculty permission is all that is needed, according to [Graduate Manager Arthur] Younger….Pasadena may bring Michigan out for the contest with Washington. However, as Michigan has been losing steadily it is believed that another school will be selected.”

To be continued…

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