A History of Homecoming
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 16:10
As far back as I can remember, which, mind you, isn’t long if you consider the grand scheme of things or my calculus two exam scores, there has always been a homecoming celebration of some kind or another. When I was really young, I know my older siblings would have a good time at a dance after a football game. Didn’t matter if we won or lost, the show had to go on.
And so it continued to happen year after year, dress up days, pep rallies, homecoming court, football game and a dance, just like clockwork, but the question remained. Why did all of this happen to begin with, and when did it start? After gnawing in my subconscious throughout all of these years, I finally decided to do a little research on the subject only to find that people can’t really come to a concise, exact answer.
Though the first university to actually hold a homecoming style event would be Indiana University in Bloomington around the year 1908, and Baylor University’s collegiate parade in Waco, Texas at the end of the 1909 football season, the most referred to origin homecoming story would be the one at the University of Missouri in 1911.
The Missouri Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks, having the oldest D1 rivalry west of the Mississippi River (dating back to before the Civil War), would have games at relatively neutral sites. Around that time, however, a new NCAA regulation was announced that stated that football games between two schools had to be played on a collegiate campus.
The Tigers’ athletic director at the time, wanting to make sure that the rivalry event continued to be a success, invited the alumni to “come home” for the 1911 game. In what can only be quantified as a fantastic success at the time, they had their game, a parade and pep-rally, at that time called a “spirit rally,” with a bonfire; this brought back to their alma mater some 9,000 fans for the event. Though this homecoming rivalry game ended in a 3-3 tie, it has set a level of tradition that has been copied across universities and high schools nationwide.
With the coronation just around the corner, the parade and the game vs. Youngstown State University on Saturday, I guess the only thing left to say is stay safe this weekend, and Go Bison!
Stanley is a senior majoring in computer science.