Harvard University - Athletics

Athletics

Harvard's athletic rivalry with Yale is intense in every sport in which they meet, coming to a climax each fall in their annual football meeting, which dates back to 1875 and is usually called simply "The Game". While Harvard's football team is no longer one of the country's best as it often was a century ago during football's early days (it won the Rose Bowl in 1920), both it and Yale have influenced the way the game is played. In 1903, Harvard Stadium introduced a new era into football with the first-ever permanent reinforced concrete stadium of its kind in the country. The stadium's structure actually played a role in the evolution of the college game. Seeking to reduce the alarming number of deaths and serious injuries in the sport, the Father of Football, Walter Camp (former captain of the Yale football team), suggested widening the field to open up the game. But the state-of-the-art Harvard Stadium was too narrow to accommodate a wider playing surface. So, other steps had to be taken. Camp would instead support revolutionary new rules for the 1906 season. These included legalizing the forward pass, perhaps the most significant rule change in the sport's history.

Harvard has several athletic facilities, such as the Lavietes Pavilion, a multi-purpose arena and home to the Harvard basketball teams. The Malkin Athletic Center, known as the "MAC", serves both as the university's primary recreation facility and as a satellite location for several varsity sports. The five story building includes two cardio rooms, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a smaller pool for aquaerobics and other activities, a mezzanine, where all types of classes are held at all hours of the day, and an indoor cycling studio, three weight rooms, and a three-court gym floor to play basketball. The MAC also offers personal trainers and specialty classes. The MAC is also home to Harvard volleyball, fencing, and wrestling. The offices of several of the school's varsity coaches are also in the MAC.

Weld Boathouse and Newell Boathouse house the women's and men's rowing teams, respectively. The men's crew also uses the Red Top complex in Ledyard, Connecticut, as their training camp for the annual Harvard-Yale Regatta. The Bright Hockey Center hosts the Harvard hockey teams, and the Murr Center serves both as a home for Harvard's squash and tennis teams as well as a strength and conditioning center for all athletic sports.

As of 2006, there were 41 Division I intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men at Harvard, more than at any other NCAA Division I college in the country. As with other Ivy League universities, Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships.

Older than The Game by 23 years, the Harvard-Yale Regatta was the original source of the athletic rivalry between the two schools. It is held annually in June on the Thames River in eastern Connecticut. The Harvard crew is typically considered to be one of the top teams in the country in rowing. Today, Harvard fields top teams in several other sports, such as the Harvard Crimson men's ice hockey team (with a strong rivalry against Cornell), squash, and even recently won NCAA titles in Men's and Women's Fencing. Harvard also won the Intercollegiate Sailing Association National Championships in 2003.

Harvard's men's ice hockey team won the school's first NCAA Championship in any team sport in 1989. Harvard was also the first Ivy League institution to win a NCAA championship title in a women's sport when its women's lacrosse team won the NCAA Championship in 1990.

Harvard Undergraduate Television has footage from historical games and athletic events including the 2005 pep-rally before the Harvard-Yale Game. Harvard's official athletics website has more comprehensive information about Harvard's athletic facilities.

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