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in the Foreign Field.
GEORGE W. LEAVITT, General Secretary Purdue Y. M. C. A.
REPORT ON ATHLETICS AT PURDUE UNIVERSITY.
LAFAYETTE, InD., January 12, 1900. To the President of Purdue Unirersity :
Sir—Not many years ago it was thought beneath the dignity of a college professor to be interested in the athletic games of students, and much less to take any individual part in any athletic exercises. Now there is scarcely a college or university which does not foster athletics to a degree, nor is this confined to colleges for men. This change of attitude on the part of college authorities is typical of that undergone by the public. The view is generally accepted that the development of the bodies of youth by systematic training and exercise is a desirable thing, and should receive attention simultaneously with the training of the mind. Out of this has grown an expectation almost equivalent to a demand on the part of patrons that institutions of learning shall offer opportunities of this sort. To this the colleges have responded heartily, not alone on account of the acknowledged benefits of physical culture to the student, but recognizing with equal force the value of athletic sports as a healthful form of recreation as well as a harmless outlet for youthful energy.
To the close observer of this movement the danger of excess has been from the first apparent, and in not a few instances has this apprehension been realized. It is not enough, therefore, to permit and encourage athletic exercises, leaving them to run any length; it becomes the duty of college authorities to place about them such reasonable restrictions as shall prevent their abuse or disproportionate emphasis in the student's life. These principles have governed the Faculty and Trustees of Purdue University in their attitude toward student and intercollegiate athleties. They believe that for students who are required to concentrate their attention upon an exaeting course of study, some form of diversion becomes a physical necessity, and that no other form is so rational as that of participation in athletic games and sports. Their experience shows also that such participation is wholly in the interest of the good dis
cipline of the institution, since it occupies the attention of students who might otherwise be tempted into vicious or unprofitable courses.
On the other hand, the natural enthusiasm of youth will often overrun their good judgment, and in their intense desire to excel they will sometimes yield to pressure and adopt methods which may be harmful to the individual or in violation of the principles of fair athletic sport. Such practices must of course be avoided.
Since Purdue students first began to evince an interest in athletics, the Faculty has, as a matter of policy, presented an attitude of sympathy and co-operation; at the same time insisting upon a constant recognition of the principles of clean, manly sport, and of a proper subordination of athletics to other important interests of the University and students. In the pursuance of this principle, Purdue has acquired an enviable reputation in athletics, and has been at all times recognized as one of the most progressive institutions of the middle West in its athletic policy.
A brief review of some of the more important features in Purdue's athletic history will not be out of place here.
There is no record of the first intercollegiate contests in which Purdue students participated, but it is probable that baseball games were played with neighboring institutions at an early date.
The first field day contests were conducted by the graduating class of 1887.
In the fall of 1887 the first intercollegiate football game was played with Butler College. Since that time, which may be considered as about the beginning of the introduction of this game in the West, Purdue has engaged regularly in this sport with all of the leading colleges of the Middle West.
In 1893 a number of citizens of Lafayette offered a handsome silver cup by Tiffany to become the property of the college which for three successive years should hold the championship of Indiana. This cup was won by Purdue, and is treasured among its athletic trophies. From 1891 to 1899 Purdue has been the acknowledged champion of the State in football, and during a portion of this time was unbeaten by any opponent, including the largest institutions of the West. This prestige was probably due to the fact that Purdue was one of the pioneers in the game, and advanced more rapidly in a knowledge of the same than did its opponents. Of recent years this difference has been more nearly equalized, and the advantages accruing to institutions with larger numbers of students has come more prominently into evidence.
Previous to 1891, games of baseball and football had been played on grounds located in the city, and Field Day sports were conducted upon the drives and lawn of the campus. In 1891 the Trustees voted to set aside a plat of eight acres, immediately north of the campus, to be used as an athletic field, and to be known as Stuart Field, in honor of the President of the Board, the late C. B. Stuart. Money was appropriated to enclose the field, and the work was completed on April 15, 1892. The field was dedicated the following day by a baseball game with Butler College. This field, with its subsequent improvements, has done much to stimulate athletic activity. From funds derived from admission fees, the Athletic Association constructed in 1892 "bleachers,” capable of seating about eight hundred persons, which still continue to do service.
In 1898, the Sophomore Class contributed money, labor and material for the construction of a banked racing track around the outer edge of Stuart Field, oval in form and one-third of a mile in length, and also a cinder path for straight-away running events.
The Class of 1898, upon graduation, placed in the hands of President Smart upwards of $500, to be used in the erection of a covered pavilion for the athletic field. This pavilion, capable of seating nearly six hundred persons, was erected during the summer of 1899 on the west border of the field.
These tangible contributions to athletics by our classes are indicative of the enthusiastic spirit and interest shown by students in this direction.
Turning now from the material aspects of athletics, it is to be noted that the organization of athletic affairs at Purdue has been based upon a fair representation of all interested, and upon a systematic and business-like management. Previous to 1890 each athletic sport represented in the University had its own directors, selected from the student body. In June, 1890, an athletic association was organized which, however, did not reach its full development until May, 1891, when at a student mass meeting, a constitution was adopted, and the machinery of the Purdue Athletic Association was set in operation. This constitution has since been once or twice modified, but continues in the main in its original terms. The Association has control of all athletic interests at Purdue; its membership includes any person connected with the University who pays the annual dues. The officers are elected from the student wdy, but the active committees of the Association include members of the Faculty. Independently of the Athletic Association the Faculty appoints a committee upon athletics, the duty of which is to furnish the Faculty with information upon athletic matters and to execute the rules of the Faculty concerning eligibility of players, zames, schedules, etc.
The rapid development of football among western colleges in the years 1890 to 1895 kindled an enthusiasm in intercollegiate athLetics which developed questionable practices, and at once demonstrated the necessity of some faculty regulation. Out of this has grown up, among the larger institutions of the Middle West, a system of control which has within a few years commanded the attention and respect of the entire country, and in many respects is unique. Purdue's part in originating and sustaining the movement has been a leading and consistent one, and constitutes one of her most valued athletic traditions.
At a meeting of Indiana College Presidents, in the winter of 1993-94, President Smart submitted a draft of rules for the regulation of college athletics, but these rules failed of the necessary approval of the respective faculties. In the fall of 1894, President Smart issued a call for a conference upon athletic matters between the Presidents of Illinois, Chicago, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Purdue. This meeting was held in Chicago, January 12, 1895, the Presidents from all the other named institutions being present with the exception of President Angell of Michigan.
A draft of rules, aiming at the regulation of intercollegiate Torts, had been previously prepared by President Smart, and was adopted in substance at this meeting. Since then similar conferences have been held annually, and while these original rules have been somewhat revised, they remain substantially the same as at that time. They relate to the eligibility of players for intercollegiate contests, as regards their college and amateur standing; the control of the time and place of games, and the general regulation of those features not susceptible of student control.
In addition to these specific rules, the faculties adopting them agree to do all within their power to restrict athletics within their