100 years of Luther football
Saturday, Sept. 7, will mark the opening kickoff of the Luther football season and the 100th anniversary of varsity football at Luther.
Records show football was started on an intercollegiate basis in 1892, although it was first introduced to the college in 1877. During those early years, rugby rules were followed and any number of players were permitted on a side. The games were usually played between teams made up of seniors and juniors on one side and sophomores and freshmen on the other, and at times these games would go on for days. From 1892-1896, Luther played a total of five games, two against Luther Academy-which was not uncommon during this era-and three against other colleges, including a 32-0 loss to State University of Iowa in 1893 and losses to Coe College (12-8) and Carleton College (12-6) in 1896.
Following the 1896 season, football games against other schools were abolished, and the sport returned to intramural status. But the interest in the game remained alive and well. From 1897 until it was reintroduced as a varsity sport in 1918, class games became an essential part of Luther, keeping alive the desire to play football on an intercollegiate basis.
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