Inventory of the Texas A & M University, Department of Recreational Sports, Intramural Program Records:
Intramural sports events have been held at Texas A & M University as intrabattalion games for members of the Corps of Cadets since Texas A & M College was opened in 1876, but the Intramural Program as we know it today was begun by H. H. House at Texas A & M University in 1923.
House left what was then Texas A & M College for a position at Washington State, and William Lawren Penberthy was hired just after his graduation from Ohio State in 1926 to replace House. It is Penberthy, or "Mr. Penny" as he was known, who truly laid the groundwork for what is now the Department of Recreational Sports, acting as the first Director of Intramural Athletics in the 1920s and 1930s, until he was made Dean of Men in 1947. Penberthy remained very active in the development of sports programs at Texas A & M University until his retirement on 31 Aug. 1966, though he'd returned to full-time teaching as Professor of Health and Physical Education in 1959. His contributions to the program were commemorated in 1978 with the naming of the W. L. Penberthy Intramural Center. Penberthy is no doubt responsible for most of the early documentation for the Intramural Program as found in these records.
From the beginning of their institution at Texas A & M University, these intramural sports events have been valued as an incentive to the development of a spirit of fair play and leadership skills. At first only baseball and football teams were organized by each company for intrabattalion competition. By 7 Oct. 1912 the company Athletic Council was established to settle disputes and enforce rules for the various teams and events. Basketball was added to the program in 1914, though it did not become a successful enterprise until 1916. The first cross-country teams were put out in 1922.
As intramurals at Texas A & M University became more complex in organization, the need for a less informal governance was answered by the company Athletic Council appointing a committee to draw up a constitution and by-laws. These documents which were approved by the company Athletic Council in 1925. This reorganization installed the Intramural Board as the governing body of the Intramural Athletic Association. The Intramural Board consisted of: the Director of Intramural Athletics as Chairman of the Board; the Professor of Physical Education; one member of the faculty, appointed by the Athletic Council; a Senior Manager of Intramural Athletics; and one student representative from the Senior class to act also as Secretary of the Board.
The Intramural Program remained a part of the Texas A & M University Athletic Department, until 1937, when Penberthy was appointed as Head of the Department of Physical Education. At that time the Intramural Prgram became an independent Department of the University. The company Athletic Council was renamed the Texas A & M Athletic Council.
The Intramural Program was developing rapidly, and adjustments and changes were made in response to the changing character and make-up of the student population. In 1957, with Penberthy's support, the boxing program was dropped from intramurals as more detrimental than necessary to a student's psychological welfare or personal safety. Over time the Intramural Program was also reorganized from battalion level to smaller units so as many students as wanted to could participate in sports activities. Varying skill levels were instituted to reduce exclusivity of participation. In addition, after the official inclusion of female students in the ranks of undergraduates in 1970, women's and co-rec teams were established to encourage the widest possible participation of the student population.
Currently, the Department of Recreational Sports administers all sports and fitness programs at Texas A & M University, including: the Intramural Program; the Aquatics Program; the Fitness and Wellness Program; Ultimate Adventures with TAMU Outdoors; the Sports Clubs, offering intercollegiate competition in 28 sports; and the Texas A & M Golf Course.
Records for the early twentieth century of the Intramural Sports Program at Texas A & M University (1925-1934) are found in two ledger books, one loose-leaf, measuring 36 x 23 cm., the other bound measuring 37 x 24 cm.
The first ledger contains, in typewritten text, a short history of Intramural Athletics at Texas A & M University; the original constitution and by-laws, dated 1 Sept. 1925; and minutes of the first meeting of the Intramural Board for 1925-26. Also included in this volume, apparently continuing in sequence with the contents of the next volume, are the "Intramural Records, 1933-34," which, however, seem incomplete for that year, since they only record basketball games.
The second ledger inscribed by hand on p. 1 in blue ink as "Intramural Year Book", contains detailed records of intramural sports at Texas A & M University for 1927-28, 1928-29, 1929-30, 1930-31, 1931-32, and 1932-33. Student Handbooks for the years 1928-29, 1929-30, 1930-31, and 1931-32 are pasted onto the corresponding cover page for each year of records. The records in the yearbook list the names of the Intramural Board, the Intramural managers, and the results of elections for new officers that year, the name of each event with the names of all participants that year, along with their individual scores, and the various team results for each elimination and championship game, as well as listing the various leagues' overall performances. All entries and tables are printed or drawn by hand in blue ink.
As of 1925-26 sports events included: basketball; cross country; tennis; golf; football; volleyball; handball; playground ball; boxing; wrestling; horseshoe pitching; speedball; gymnastics; swimming; and track. A total of 924 individuals took part in these competitions that year, or 46% of the school's population. Events listed in the 1931-32 handbook included: basketball, speedball, football, cross country, rifle shooting, handball (team, singles, doubles); tennis (team, singles, doubles); horseshoe pitching, volleyball, boxing, wrestling, track, swimming, golf (and singles); and playground ball, with a total of 3,542 participants, nearly double the 1,574 participating in 1926-27. As of 2000 the Department of Recreational Sports fields 400-500 teams representing all the major sports events.
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Transferred from the Texas A & M University Office of the Director of Recreational Sports in July 2002.
Processed by Aletha Andrew in July 2002.
Additions expected on an irregular basis.
Detailed Description of the Records