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Intercollegiate Athletics records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-4.3

Scope and Contents

This collection contains early records from Intercollegiate Athletics, including a brochure from the MIAA Field Days of 1888 and 1898. It contains committee and conference reports dating back to 1906. Also included are the Athletic Program Budgets from 1954-1961 as well as lists of varsity award winners ranging from 1943-1972. For lists of award winners from previous years, consult Sports Information Recordsm UA 8.1.3. Two cubic feet of materials pertaining to women’s intercollegiate athletics was added to the collection in 2006. These materials span the years 1972-1979 and contain information on individual women’s sports, budgets, and scholarships to individuals (grant-in-aid). There are also records that relate to organizations for women’s athletics including the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW); the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport; the Midwest Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (MAIAW); and the Big Ten. These materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. There are several photographs that are also part of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics records. These photos date back to the 1890s for some sports. The majority of the photographs are of men’s athletics. They are arranged alphabetically by sport.


  • Creation: 1888-1979, 2008, 2011-2015


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

When students entered Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) in 1857, athletics was not part of the curriculum. Faculty members were opposed to students' participation in athletics, believing that the three hours per day they were required to work in the fields was enough physical activity. Students felt differently and began to campaign for an athletics program as early as 1862. The first intercollegiate athletic competition was a baseball game vs. Olivet in 1884, which MAC won. In 1886, MAC hosted Field Days in which MAC, Olivet, and Albion competed. Michigan Agricultural College began formal participation in intercollegiate sports when it entered the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) in 1888. The original four members of the MIAA were MAC, Olivet, Albion and Hillsdale. In 1899, MAC hired its first athletic coach, Reverend Chares O. Bemies, who stayed for two years. In 1903, Chester Brewer was hired as Director of Athletics. Brewer’s time as coach led to such dominance in the MIAA, that MAC was expelled in 1908. Also during Brewer’s tenure, the department changed names. In 1904, Intercollegiate Athletics moved from the Department of Physical Culture to the Department of Athletics. The department changed its title to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1945, four years before Michigan State University (MSU) entered the Big Ten in 1949. MSU was able to enter the Big Ten when the University of Chicago withdrew in 1946. MSU applied to take its place and was officially voted into the Big Ten on May 20, 1949. Women’s athletics have been around for almost as long as women have been students. Women were first admitted to MAC in 1870. By 1888, women were regular members of the tennis club and participated in Field Days. The Women’s Athletic Association, founded in 1924, kept women’s athletics going strong in the 1920s, but it was the passing of Title IX in 1972 that provided a big boost to women’s athletics. Though the women’s athletic program was active before Title IX, the legislation made changes possible which advanced the program even more. In 1976, women athletes were offered scholarships for the first time. 1980 marked the beginning of women receiving varsity letters for their participation in athletics. In a 2002 ceremony, nearly 300 women were awarded varsity letters for their participation in athletics from the 1930s through the 1970s.


2.33 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Preservica Internal URL

Preservica Public URL|2a6d08d1-d24e-4a13-a7ff-d9903dcf943e/

Related Archival Materials

See also Sport Information Office records (UA 8.1.3)

Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Records
4 Published And Cataloged
S. Martin
February 1993
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US