A Window Into the Past: NYU in Retrospect
academics       Athletics



Intercollegiate athletic competition began at NYU with the creation of the first basketball and football teams in the 1870s. In 1894, large playing fields at the new University Heights campus in the Bronx boosted sports activities. By the turn-of-the-century, the university had teams in baseball, basketball, football, tennis, and track. From 1904 on, NYU was sending men and women representatives to the Olympic Games.

The history of sports at NYU is marked by dramas and changes. Fencing and soccer were introduced in 1923. While fencing continued as a major sport for NYU, soccer was discontinued. The soccer program was revived in 1958 and has remained strong at NYU ever since.

In 1905, after almost two dozen deaths from brutal football injuries, Chancellor MacCracken decided to call for a conference among colleges. The result was the development of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association (IAA) which became the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Despite football’s popularity in the 1930s under coach John “Chick” Meehan, NYUs football program was discontinued in 1953.

Women’s Fencing has always been strong at NYU. The team has produced many college and Olympic champions such as Julia Jones Pugliese, who became the first National Intercollegiate Fencing Champion in 1927. The most recent achievement in women’s sports is the designation of the 1997 Women’s Basketball team as the NCAA Division III championship winners.

In the 1980’s NYU began to, once again, place emphasis on athletic activities. The University built Coles Sports Center and obtained its status as a Division III school. In 1986 NYU, along with eight other institutions, founded the University Athletic Association. The goal of the UAA is to successfully blend academics and athletics.

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