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November 22, 2014

Slip stick, slide rule, M-I-T!

How Players at MIT Engineered a Football Team

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—In the 1970s, on this campus known for scientific innovation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology students engineered a rather unlikely experiment: a football team.

MIT had no intercollegiate football squad at the time. The student body in 1901 voted 119-117 to discontinue it. So one day in 1978, a group of MIT students huddled and created a team that would play its first game that fall. No one else at the school had any clue.

There were times when fielding a football team at MIT seemed like rocket science. The students wore uniforms that once belonged to another college. They borrowed their playbook from a local high school. They were known as both the Beavers and the Engineers. Either way, they lost every game they played that year, and even one they didn't play.

But these football forefathers, who are nowhere to be found in MIT's record books, are now taking their victory lap. The student club they created eventually became a university-run varsity team. This season, 36 years after winning no games, the Engineers are undefeated and will make their first appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III playoffs on Saturday. [MIT appears to be heavily favored. - JdJ]

Art Aaron enrolled at MIT when the only competitive football there was played in an intramural league. The games were flag football, but the fraternity members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha would beat each other up when they took the field.

"It's a bit of an oxymoron," said Mr. Aaron, a defensive end on the 1978 team, "but we were two of the jock fraternities at MIT." [...]

According to people who were at the game, and accounts in the student newspaper, cheerleaders led a standing-room-only crowd in spelling out "Massachusetts Institute of Technology." The marching band, despite rumors it would consist of kazoos, blared the national anthem and chanted:

"Cosine, secant, tangent, sine
3 point 14159!
Integral, radical, mu, DV
Slip stick, slide rule, M-I-T!"

Posted by joke du jour at November 22, 2014 10:02 AM

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