They Play Sports at That School, Too?
E to the U du dx, E to the X dx!
Cosine! Secant! Tangent! Sine!
Three point, one, four, one, five, nine!
Integral, radical, u dv
Slapstick, slide rule, MIT!
No, this is not something out of your old Math 1 b notes. They are the first few lines of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's athletic fight song.
It's probably a safe bet that when you hear the name MIT, it's almost never mentioned in the same breath with the word "athletics." But, surprise, MIT has the largest athletic program in the country--consisting of 37 men's and women's varsity sports, and an incredible array of over 23 club and intramural sports ranging from archery to yoga.
In 1988, more than 1150 teams from the different living groups and clubs at MIT participated in the student-run intramural athletic program.
Approximately 20 percent of all MIT undergraduates, compete in at least one varsity sport. Since 1980, more than 75 MIT students have received All-American honors in 15 different sports, and six have earned Academic All-American honors. MIT coaches have won national or regional Coach of the Year honors in at least 10 sports.
"We really have an excellent program here," MIT director of athletics Royce Flippin says. "Many of our athletes come here for the academics and are delighted that a fine athletic program exists here as well."
Some of the better athletes at MIT have transfered from other schools in order to get the superior academic training that MIT offers. Bill Singhose, who is the Division III decathalon champion, transfered from Oregon State to run track for the Engineers. Shane Lahousse, a halfback on the MIT football team and transfer from the Air Force Academy, won a Division III National Player of the Week award last year.
Senior Yvonne Grierson, a member of the varsity women's swimming team, also decided to attend MIT for the academics. She was the Division III national champion in the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle during her sophmore and junior years. Another woman athlete, Lisa Arel, was fourth overall in last year's NCAA all-around gymnastics championships.
Competition in athletics at MIT is so strongly encouraged that the faculty sets aside the hours between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. as a time when holding classes, tests or labs is prohibited. Coaches may hold practice during that time without trying to schedule around the 20 hours of class and labs that the average MIT student has.
MIT also has a physical education requirement that all undergraduates must fulfill, consisting of four quarter-courses of physical education class. In addition, all undergraduates must pass a 100-yd. swimming test or take swimming lessons in order to graduate.
Even though MIT does have its share of student-athletes, an over-whelming number of athletes at MIT are walk-ons. And most students at MIT do not take their athletics too seriously.
"Students here have a lot of work to do," women's cross country team member Theresa Derderian says. "If the choice is between going to practice and doing a problem set, most every student would choose the latter. Sports here are meant to be a fun learning experience and are not taken more seriously than school work."