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Athletics in the University of Buffalo

The essay “Athletics in the University of Buffalo” seen below, first appeared in the 1907 issue (Volume 10) of the Iris Yearbook.

The present dearth of athletic activity in the University of Buffalo naturally forces all those who are directly interested, or whose attention is otherwise called to the University, to seek an explanation of this condition. Some are inclined to blame the faculty-others, the students.

The faculty itself is divided in its attitude toward athletics. Some believe that the question of athletics should not be considered in a university made up entirely of professional colleges. There are some good reasons for this opinion, especially in its application to the students of the Medical Department. In all universities, medical students are justly restricted in the degree to which they shall engage in athletics.

Some of the faculty do not believe in college athletics in any form. It is useless to argue against such ideas. However, it is fortunate that the adherents of this opinion are in the minority.

There is a third class who believe in athletics. They want athletics for the University of Buffalo, but they want them properly managed and honestly financed. Under various pretenses, they have so often been bled of good money, and have seen nothing returned except repeated calls for money to bury with financial honor a dying cause, that they feel the time is ripe for the students to show that they can do something in the way of athletics. They believe that the students should present in concrete form some successful athletic achievement.

On the other hand are the students. On them is the stain of repeated failure bequeathed to them from days when there was no guiding hand to see that organizations were conscientiously managed. This stain must be blotted out, but it cannot be done by sitting idle, waiting for the faculty to act. A beginning was made on November 27, l906.

At a mass meeting of the students in Alumni Hall, the constitution of the athletic association was adopted. This was a step in the right direction, but the students need to realize that all the pre~ hard work is not to be done for them but by them. They must realize that in unity only is there strength — that successful teams are only possible when they are made up by competition by all students who have athletic tendencies. They must realize that students who give their time and efforts to make up the teams deserve the support of the student body.

The students have the right to know to what extent the faculty will support athletics. There is no ground to expect that the faculty will respond until the management of athletics is placed in the hands of a graduate business manager, who shall act with the consent of the committee on student organizations. After such a move has been made, and after the students have shown a willingness to support athletics (and support should be obligatory at matriculation) it is fair to suppose that the means of support will be forthcoming.

No finished form of athletics can be looked for at present in the way of football or baseball. Attention, for the present, must be turned toward the laying of a substantial foundation for athletics, to the creation of university spirit among the students, and to bringing the student body and faculty to a position where they will cooperate on a sound working basis. The only feasible solution of this question of athletics is in a gymnasium.

Iris Editors – June 1907