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Throwback Thursday: Cornell Suspends Spring Athletics for WWI

One month after the United States entered WWI, during the first week of May, 1917, colleges across the country cancelled the remainder of athletics seasons for spring sports so men could focus on mandatory military training. Cornell was among the majority of schools who decided “continuance of athletic sports would seriously interfere with the military training of the men in the university.” This was not a decision imposed on schools by the United States government or military. Rather, individual schools made the decision to commit its male students to the growing international crisis.

One member of the Ivy League, the University of Pennsylvania, was the only major eastern university to decline to halt spring athletics. The entirety of the 1917 Cornell baseball season has no statistics due to season suspension. Other affected sports include track and field, rowing and tennis. 1917 was not the only year athletes would miss the chance to compete. Restrictions remained through the end of the war.

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