marked by a great increase in student enthusiasm, by a revived band,
and by the installation of floodlights for night practice.
Soccer proved to be a successful competitive sport from its
inauguration in 1921. Each year the team won more than half its games,
which were usually played without the stimulus of a rooting
section. Basketball began to slip from the height of its championship
reputation in 1923, but not in campus interest. That year the team won
six out of fourteen games. The following year, without Tom Berry, it
won only four of its seventeen contests, and in 1925 only five out of
fourteen, chiefly because of ineligibility of players.
The coaching of track and cross country teams was taken over by
J. Oliver Johnstone, former Harvard athlete, in 1922. The teams were
moderately successful during the next three years. In 1922 Alumni
Field was chosen for the annual meet of the New England
Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Baseball was played with rather
indifferent success until the spring of 1925, when Coach Bigler
developed a team that won six and tied one in a ten-game season.
In 1923, the Institute opened an invitation tournament for school
basketball teams. It was highly successful from both athletic and
publicity points of view, and was continued for several years. That
spring there was also inaugurated an interscholastic track meet,
combined with a sub-freshman program, which became a more attractive
and closely contested event in succeeding years.
The difficulty of financing the athletic program caused by lack of
public interest in teams that produced few victories was increased by
the inability of the Athletic Association to collect the voluntary
activities tax of ten dollars from a majority of the students. The
President and Trustees were frequently asked to add this to the
regular charges on the term bills. A petition to this effect, signed
by more than threequarters of the student body, was submitted to the
Corporation in 1923. It was not adequate to break down the opposition,
so this action was postponed for several years.