A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPORT - Local Histories

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Texas high school and college sports began in the unregulated environment of the nineteenth century, and football soon proved to be king at all levels of competition. Texas high school players ultimately achieved a reputation that brought college recruiters from throughout the nation. During the twentieth century, big-time college sports came under the umbrellas of the SWC and the NCAA, while other schools formed their own conferences. The UIL attempted to control sports at the high school level, with mixed results. The biggest issues facing all these sports programs were academic integrity, racial integration, and gender equity, in that order. During the early years, high school football teams were often composed of semiprofessionals who represented their home town or neighborhood, with few if any high school students in the lineups. The UIL attempted to change that and provide fair competition for legitimate students. They faced a long struggle against overage students, questionable scholastic records, and all-out recruiting battles between towns. The UIL grew out of the 1913 merger of two organizations, and operated as part of the University of Texas at Austin. In 1919, the UIL inserted the word "white" in its membership standards. The following year black teachers founded the Texas Interscholastic League of Colored Schools. In 1923 the TILCS came under the authority of Prairie View A&M College, thereby becoming the Prairie View Interscholastic League. By 1951 the UIL offered state championships in boy's track, football, basketball, baseball, and golf and in girl's basketball. The PVIL staged state championship games in football, basketball, baseball, and track. At its peak, the UIL enrolled 6,000 schools, the PVIL 500. After a protracted struggle, the UIL dropped the color barrier in 1965, and the PVIL ceased operations four years later. Under the leadership of , Rodney Kidd, Rhea Williams, and Bailey Marshall, the UIL grew to national prominence; today it enrolls approximately 1,100 schools and sponsors nine sports each for boys and girls, in addition to contests in other educational and cultural endeavors such as music.

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introduced gymnastics to Texas in the mid-nineteenth century through their turnvereins (gymnastics clubs). These organizations also provided community services such as volunteer fire companies and entertained both the public and themselves with elaborate gymnastic exhibitions. However, later generations of German Texans, though they enjoyed the social benefits of the turnvereins, lost interest in gymnastics, and many of the clubs took up bowling, which was already popular among other German-Texan organizations. They introduced nine-pin , which continues in isolated Texas turnvereins today, but some of the group went on to organize the Texas Ten Pin League, which still regulates mainstream bowling in Texas. Like the turnvereins, the , a gymnastic club brought by to the state, served a variety of other functions in the Czech communities. Unlike the turners, the sokols have remained true to their original mission and are engaged in gymnastics today. German Texans also formed Schützenvereine or shooting clubs, which sponsored the most highly organized of the many shooting contests around the state. By midcentury almost every community had some sort of gun club. Most held annual shooting tournaments and regularly scheduled matches against neighboring towns.

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Beyond this, the authors show us how sports fit into the larger contours of our past. "A Brief History of American Sports" reveals that from colonial times to the present, sports have been central to American culture, and a profound expression of who we are.

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Though college sports organizations also faced problems with eligibility and illegal payments, they lacked any real enforcement powers until the 1950s. Before World War I several prominent Texas colleges belonged to the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which did little to regulate their sports. Rampant abuses led , University of Texas athletic director, to contact his counterparts throughout the Southwest and ask them to help form a conference to raise the integrity of their programs and foster competition with teams from other conferences. Bellmont envisioned wide geographic diversity. Thus the original 1914 meeting to form what became the SWC attracted representatives from four states-Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas-although membership soon dwindled to two states. SWC schools won six national football titles. Coaches of Texas A&M and the University of Texas, of SMU, of TCU and Paul "Bear" Bryant of Texas A&M also gained national prominence and increased the conference's status. In the late 1960s, Darrell Royal of the University of Texas caused a national sensation with the introduction of the wishbone formation. An important element in SWC growth was its agreement in 1940 with the four-year-old game, whereby the conference champion became the host team. In the 1960 game Syracuse University defeated the University of Texas to capture the mythical national crown. That title was decided at the Cotton Bowl five times over the next eleven years. Eleven Heisman Trophy winners have played in the Cotton Bowl, including five Texans playing for SWC teams.

Labeling video games as sports is a controversial point of debate

The glory days of the SWC and its bowl began to wane in the 1980s. Problems exacerbated in 1987, when the NCAA shut down SMU's athletic program because of rule violations. To date, SMU is the only school to receive the "death penalty," although the University of Houston, TCU, and Texas A&M all received NCAA sanctions of varying degrees of severity. The resulting scandals hurt recruiting and the reputation of the conference, which the University of Arkansas quit in 1990. These events, along with changes in television policies relating to both professional and amateur sports, set off a chain reaction during the 1993–94 school year. Four SWC teams (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor) defected to the Big Eight to form the new Big Twelve Conference; the Cotton Bowl game went with them. Since the University of Houston expressed no interest in the SWC that remained, Rice, TCU, and SMU joined the Western Athletic Conference. The newly enlarged conferences are to begin play in the fall of 1996. Houston eventually joined with several other universities to form a new league, Conference USA. The old SWC was a member of NCAA Division I (I-A in football). Other Texas colleges formed their own conferences. Those affiliated with the NCAA are in Divisions I-AA, II or III, depending on size and athletics budgets. The smallest colleges belong to the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics. The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women began regulating women's sports in 1971 and continued for ten years. Women's and men's programs are now governed by the same agencies in each institution.

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The most formalized Hispanic sport was the corrida or bullfight, which arrived in the New World with rules and rituals intact. Although it underwent many changes in New Spain, the bullfight retained its essential character and marked most fiestas and holy days. The Spanish governor of Texas issued a proclamation in 1810 that included specifications for the location of a bullring. Although outlawed by the Texas legislature in 1891, the sport continued to flourish along the borders well into the twentieth century. Cockfighting was also popular, as was horse racing. Of greatest interest to early Anglo writers, however, were the equestrian games and contests of , the Mexican rodeo. Developed in conjunction with corridas and with ranching, the activities became a major pastime in Spanish Texas.