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Middlebury Rugby, 1902

I stumbled across this image on another Middlebury blog site.  This picture shows Middlebury students playing rugby back in 1902…well that’s what the other blog states…there have also been claims that this is american football (see comments below).  Let us know what you think – is this rugby or is this american football?

An official rugby club was only formed in the early 70′s but this image suggests that rugby has had a place in Midd culture for over a century…if it is rugby…

4 Responses to “Middlebury Rugby, 1902?”

  1. Allyn Freeman says:

    The picture that the writer claims is Middlebury rugby from 1901 is not rugby but football. The players are lined up in a tight scrimmage formation, typical of football of that period. (And some are wearing leather helmets, another tip off). For the record, after Walter Camp of Yale changed the rules of rugby to football in the early 1880s, rugby disappeared from all eastern universities.

  2. Muchadei Zvoma says:

    Thanks for the comment Allyn! Not sure that I see the leather helmet but here has been some debate on our end whether this is rugby or football. We have always landed on rugby (though we must admit our strong bias!!)
    What does everyone else think: is this picture Middlebury rugby in 1902 OR Middlebury Football in 1902?
    The very least I could do was add a question mark to the title as the debate has been publicly opened.
    Thanks again Allyn.

  3. Daniel says:

    If this is back in 1902, the lines between Rugby and Football still might not be clear.

  4. Bob Quinn says:

    Definitely not rugby! Rugby kit has always included shorts and only recently has moved away from the traditional rugby shirt with long sleeves and a collar. Moreover, many players appear to wearing leather helmets as well as shoulder and knee pads. Scrum caps and subsequently shoulder pads are relatively new to rugby. Nothing should be made of the position of the goal posts at the goal line as they remain there today for rugby and where only moved to the back of the endzone in football within the last 50 years!

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