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Athletic Tradition

The tradition of Concordia athletics dates all the way back to 1903 when the very first Cobber baseball team took to the field. Since then the Concordia athletic department has grown to 22 varsity sports and over 800 student/athletes.

The Beginning
An athletic association was formed in 1904 in order to have general supervision of all athletics at the college. The constitution provided for a number of departments and managers for each, including baseball, basketball, tennis, skating rink and gymnasium. Members of the association paid a fee of two dollars for the year which entitled them to the use of the gymnasium, the skating rink, baseball games and other athletic events on the college grounds.

The First Conference Affiliation
An organization called the "Interstate School Conference of Faculty Members" was founded at Valley City, North Dakota in December of 1911. Mr. F. W. Burkhalter, director of Physical Education of the State Normal School at that place, seeing of what mutual benefit a closer athletic relationship would be, issued invitations to several institutions to send a representative to the conference for the purpose of forming this conference of educational institutions in southeastern North Dakota and southwestern Minnesota. The following institutions were represented: State Normal and Industrial School, Ellendale, North Dakota; State Science School, Wahpeton, North Dakota; Jamestown College, Jamestown, North Dakota; State Normal School, Mayville, North Dakota, State Normal School, Moorhead, Minnesota, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota; and State Normal School, Valley City, North Dakota.

The Early Years
The facilities were somewhat marginal in the early years. The gymnasium located in the basement of Old Main served the basketball program and also gymnastics classes. There was adequate room for outdoor activities. The new gym, constructed in 1915, was a tremendous boon to the sports program as well as for other college activities.

Basketball and baseball were the two major sports. Sporadic attempts to introduce track, soccer and tennis were made at different times. Football seemed to draw much enthusiasm. Instruction in football was started as early as 1909, but it wasn't until 1916 that a schedule of games with other schools was developed.

The Birth of the MIAC
The MIAC evolved from the Tri-State Conference which was composed of schools from North and South Dakota and Minnesota. The Minnesota private college members of the conference became dissatisfied with the loose eligibility rules, methods of determining championships and the size of the conference. There were 15 colleges spread over three states. Hamline, Macalester, St. Thomas, St. John's, Gustavus Adolphus, Carleton and St. Olaf were members of the Tri-State Conference.

At a meeting in November 1919 members of the Minnesota colleges sponsored a motion for some rules changes which they thought would improve the league. They were outvoted by the Dakota representatives. The Minnesota schools met after the adjournment of the Tri-State meeting and decided to consider forming a league of their own.

A meeting was held in December 1919 for the purpose of forming a new conference. A constitution was developed as a basis for consideration by the member schools. The charter meeting was held March 15, 1920 at Carleton College. Each college sent a representative to the meeting. Colleges present were Carleton, Hamline, St. John's, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. Thomas and Concordia. Professor A. M. Sattre represented Concordia. All of the representatives voted for the adoption of the constitution except Sattre and all of the colleges except Concordia were declared charter members.

Concordia joined the next year in 1921, Augsburg in 1924 and St. Mary's in 1926. Luther College's application was rejected at the time to maintain the state identity.

As one of the early requirements the new league ruled that championships were to be awarded according to certain regulations. To be eligible for the conference championship in football, a team must have played at least four conference games; in basketball, at least eight conference games with four colleges and four of the games must have been played on foreign courts; in baseball at least six conference games with at least three member colleges.(1)

Concordia College was admitted to membership in the MIAC at the fall meeting at St. John's University on December 13.

Switching To The NCAA
The Concordia athletic teams began to switch over from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the late 1970's. In the late 70's Cobber individual athletes were competing for national championships in the NCAA while the majority of the team sports still participated in the NAIA national playoffs. The 1978 Cobber football team won the last NAIA national championship for the sch