ISU Athletics Humble Beginning

Football Hike

One of ISU’s earliest sports photos is a group of men in mismatched clothing getting ready to play a Baseball gameStarting as a school for educating teachers, Indiana State Normal School leaders were only slightly interested in athletics.  Though some students enjoyed an occasional track meet or Baseball game, it was not until 1892 that male students created the Athletic Association to establish various sports teams at Indiana State.  Student led, the Athletic Association formed numerous Men’s teams, beginning with Track, Baseball, Football, and Basketball.  The earliest teams often played only other local schools, including the present day Rose-Hulman, and even local high schools.  Yet sports at ISU remained relatively casual with the Athletic Board and student body canceling Football for several years when the school could not consistently get enough male students for the team.  Sports eventually became a more serious affair at Indiana State, with men having intercollegiate games, nice uniforms, and dedicated facilities.  However these early athletic teams consisted of primarily local Indiana white males.  Overtime, African American athletes from the area, like Leonidas Blake, demonstrated their prowess in the fields and on the track, earning praise for their athleticism.  As the 1920s and 1930s progressed, Sycamore athletics began to better represent the student body, with several African American students playing alongside their white counterparts, winning honors for athleticism, scholastic achievement, and dedication to ISU sports.  Yet it would be many more years before ISU’s budding Intercollegiate Athletic program truly represented the student population, with the inclusion of people of different ethnicities, different immigration statuses, and women.   

ISU Athletics Humble Beginning