”Amateurism, Antitrust, and the NCAA”April 2004
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inventing the first “All-America team” to boost media interest.Camp’s football advocacy was grounded in student (and alumni)control. Camp and his supporters vehemently resisted efforts bythe Yale administration and faculty to control or abolish football.This resistance set the stage for conflicts at schools throughout thecountry, mostly in the east at this point, over the proper role offootball within an academic institution.The conflict would spread in the late nineteenth century asCamp’s disciples were sent to schools throughout the country toteach and coach the game.
The most important of these earlydisciples was Amos Alonzo Stagg, an 1888 Yale graduate, whobecame the first paid professional football coach in 1892, when thetwo-year-old University of Chicago hired him as athletics director,giving him a tenured faculty position and carte blanche to build awinning football program. Chicago president William Harper sawa traveling football team as a means of promoting his newuniversity.
Chicago’s early success led to the creation of the firstintercollegiate athletic conference—the Western Conference—in1895, which later became the BigTen Conference.
Stagg’s reign atChicago lasted until 1933
, when he was forced out by a reformistuniversity president who eventually abolished the football
program, citing conflicts with the university’s academic mission.
In contrast to Chicago’s Harper, most university presidents ofthe time did not embrace football. Charles Eliot, Harvard’spresident from 1875 thru 1909, was a leading critic of the sport.Like many academics, Eliot considered football too violent andcommercial (even in the late 1800s) for a university of Harvard’sreputation. In 1885 a faculty committee urged Eliot to ban the sportentirely, but that only lasted a year. Even with Eliot and the
“Sent” is an accurate term. Colleges that were building football programs often askedCamp to send a knowledgeable Yale alum (sometimes Camp himself) to come andorganize the team.
The University of Chicago was founded in 1890 by the American Baptist EducationSociety and businessman John D. Rockefeller.
The original Western Conference consisted of Chicago, Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan,Minnesota, Purdue, and Wisconsin. All but Chicago remain in the Big Ten Conference(which actually has eleven members.)
Stagg coached at three other schools after leaving Chicago before retiring in 1960 at age98. He won 314 games as a four-year college head coach, currently the eighth-highest totalin NCAA history.
Chicago reestablished its football program in 1968. Today the school competes in NCAADivision III.