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BEATING THEIR BRAINS OUT
John Underwood
May 26, 1975
...but rarely anyone else's. MIT fields teams in a record 22 sports without granting a single athletic scholarship or charging admission or caring if anyone turns out to watch, which is always a possibility
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May 26, 1975

Beating Their Brains Out

...but rarely anyone else's. MIT fields teams in a record 22 sports without granting a single athletic scholarship or charging admission or caring if anyone turns out to watch, which is always a possibility

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"You can't compete with the professionals," said the beard. "No gate receipts, no recruiting, no scholarships, no spring practice, no four-hour practice sessions. It would be a disaster."

"I still say it'd be fun to try. There are a hell of a lot of good football players on this campus."

"Good touch football players."

"A football team is great for school spirit."

"Not if it loses. Watch a team lose 26 in a row and see what happens to school spirit. We may lose the spirit we already have. Hell, no. Football would corrupt the entire program."

"And that," said a brother, "would be a shame."

The student adviser was flying down to Miami for a vacation from the Draper labs and from his work at MIT, where he has gotten his Master's. He said he loved it there because he'd become involved in the sports program. He'd actually learned to play squash and was running every day and allowing Maggie Lettvin to streamline him.

He said, too, that the more he got to know the MIT kids, the more he came to realize a remarkable thing, almost a phenomenon about the kids.

"After they've been exposed to MIT a few years," he said, shaking the ice in his empty scotch and soda glass, "and get into activities and athletics, a lot of them really blossom. I mean, the change is remarkable. It seems that they're a lot more normal as seniors than they were as freshmen."

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