Athletic Department (University of Michigan) records: 1860-2017
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All Series Level Scope and Content Notes

The records of the University of Michigan Athletic Department document the participation of University of Michigan Athletic teams in intercollegiate competition, 1864 to the present. The records include media guides, game programs and other printed material; press releases; team and individual statistics; photographs, films and videotapes; development and Fund-raising material, and a variety of accounts, audits and other administrative The records are organized into several sub-groups based on the administrative structure of the department. The subgroups are: Sports Information Office, Football Office, Athletic Director's Office, Development Office, Ticket Office and Business Office. The Sports Information Office sub-group constitutes by far the largest portion of the Athletic Department records and includes series for each of the varsity sports.

The Sports Information Office (SIO) as a separately functioning unit within the Athletic Department dates from 1925 when Philip Pack was hired as publicity agent. The SIO subgroup includes material created by the office and material it collected or assembled, including material pre-dating 1925. The sub-group is divided into a number of series based on record format and sport. The series are: Scrapbooks, Press Releases, separate series for each of the varsity men's and women's sports, Minor Sports, Miscellaneous, and Official Rosters of Letter Winners.

The Sports Information Office records contain a separate series for each of the men's and women's varsity sports. Each sport series in turn is composed of several standard sub-series and files, including Media Guides, Photographs (usually subdivided into files of team photos, individual portraits, and game action), and Game or meet results. For some sports there may also be game programs, and game films or videotapes.

The Media Guides are produced by the Sports Information Office. They include team rosters, brief biographical information on team members and coaches, schedules, individual and team statistics, pictures of some or all team members, and a variety of historical information. Modern media guides usually contain a roster of all individuals who have lettered in the sport. The first formal media guide was produced for football in 1931. Guides for other sports do not begin until the late 1930s or 1940s. The format and size of the media guides have varied considerably over the years. Until the 1960s, media guides for sports other than football consisted of two to ten mimeographed pages. Media guides for women's' sports begin in 1976/77. Initially they were simple brochures with roster and schedule information. They now are comparable to media guides for men's sports.

The Photographs subseries for each sport includes the "official" team photograph for each year and occasionally other "informal" team photos s well as posed portraits of athletes in uniform and game action photos.

An official team photograph for each sport appears to have been taken each year, however, the Athletic Department record group does not include team photos for all years for every sport. Other collections in the Bentley Library contain athletic team photographs that complement or duplicate the photos in the Athletic Department records. From approximately 1896 to 1968, the Rentschler Photography Studio took the official team photos for most sports. The University of Michigan News and Information Service began taking team photographs in the early 1960s and has taken team photos since 1969. The Bentley's Rentschler Studio and News and Information Service collections include original negatives of many team photos. A compiled list of team photographs located in a number of Bentley Library collections is available at the library. This is the most authoritative listing of team photographs. It is arranged by sport and year and indicates the location of the photo and whether or not an original or copy negative exists. For years for which a print or negative does not exist, a team photo usually may be found in the school year book.

Each sport includes a sub-series of Portraits and Action Photographs. The portraits may include formal studio portraits - typically in uniform or letter-sweater, but sometimes in suit and tie - or more informal portraits taken on the practice field. The latter are sometimes referred to as "picture day" photos referring to the annual "media day." The Sports Information Office has conventionally differentiated the portraits as "head shots" - close-up portraits, "posed in uniform" - a still pose wearing game or practice uniform, or "posed action" - in which the athlete strikes a typical or stylized action pose. The portraits are arranged chronologically. If the exact date of a photograph is not known, it has generally been placed in the folder for the last year in which the athlete competed. Researchers should examine folders for all years in which the athlete competed. The Athletic Department records do not include portraits of every athlete. For some years there are no individual photographs. After the university News and Information Service began taking "picture day" photos, in the mid-1960s for most sports, the Athletic Department records may include only contact sheets of individual portraits. Original negatives for most of these contact sheets can be found in the News and Information Service records. For several sports there are separate files of headshots or posed action shots of All-American athletes. As with team photos, the Bentley has many other collections that include photographs of individual athletes. There is no comprehensive list or index to these collections. Indexes to several of the more important collections are available at the library. The Sports Information Office has retained a significant number of photographs of "star" athletes.

The Action Photographs have been collected by the Sports Information Office from a number of "side-line photographers," including newspaper and wire-service photographers. Copyright restrictions may apply to some of these photos. Beginning in about 1970, some sports include game action contact sheets. These photos were taken by Bob Kalmbach, photographer with the News and Information Service. Kalmbach holds the negatives for these photos.

Several sports series, football in particular, contain files of photos of Facilities and Miscellaneous topics. Some sports also include a separate file of photographs of coaches.

Most sports series include a sub-series of Game Programs and/or Season Statistics and Programs. For football, basketball and hockey the game programs are filed separately and arranged by year. For other sports, individual game programs are inter-filed with a variety of game or meet results and statistics. The earliest football program dates from 1894. Through 1925 the football programs sub-series is very incomplete. There are two or three programs for most years, but for some years there are no programs. Following 1925, the collection of home game programs is nearly complete, while the away-game programs are about 60% complete. An item listing of all football programs in the Athletic Department collection and several personal manuscript collections is available at the library. Basketball and hockey programs are scattered until the mid-1960s.

Individual game or meet programs for other sports are often little more than one or two page flyers. Programs for major meets and Big Ten or NCAA championships are more substantial. The number of programs and the extent of meet and season statistical information vary considerably among the various sports.

Football is the only sport with a significant body of Game Films and Videotapes. The earliest game film (the Bentley has a videotape copied from the original at the Library of Congress) is of portions of the 1904 Michigan vs. Chicago game played in Ann Arbor. The game was filmed by Edison Company and is one of the earliest known football game films. There are scattered film clips and newsreels from the late 1920's including some footage of the dedication of Michigan Stadium in 1927. Beginning in 1930 there are a few films (usually not complete games) for each year, except 1934. After 1940 the game films are nearly complete. A complete listing of all football game films in the Athletic Department record group as well as several from other collections is available at the library. With a few exceptions, the films are the "coach's film" shot with a single camera from the top of the press box. A few games from the 1950s-- which were delayed broadcast on television-- have sound. Most films are black and white until the late 1960s. Most game films and videotapes are stored off-site. Generally two days notice is required for retrieval of these items. The poor condition of some films may preclude their being projected

The Athletic Department record group has some basketball films covering the years 1954-1966, including footage from the "Cazzie Russell era," 1963-1966. Most of the Cazzie Russell footage has been transferred to videotape. There are only scattered films of other sports. There are some videotapes of women's sports and men's minor sports from the mid-1980s that were taped by CTC Sports or by students for use on a local access cable TV program called "Wolverine Watch." These tapes have not been fully catalogued.

Media Guide, Team and Individual Photograph, and Program/Results subseries for varsity women's sports begin in 1977/78. The records for women's basketball, cross country, swimming and diving, tennis and track are fairly complete. The library's holdings in women's field hockey, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball represent only preliminary accessions, largely media guides and a few photographs. Records for these sports are still held by the Sports Information Office. Rosters and some statistical information for women's sports, 1972-1977, can be found in the separately cataloged "University of Michigan. Women's Athletics" record group.

There are five sets of Scrapbooks in the Athletic Department record group: The Athletic Department Main Series, Women's Athletics, Fans' Scrapbooks, Jay Kleinert, and Ben Friedman Scrapbooks. All are available on microfilm. The original volumes are stored off-site, but can be consulted if necessary.

The Main Series, 1902-1996, and continuing, was compiled by the Athletic Department. It covers men's intercollegiate athletics and includes newspaper clippings from the Michigan Daily, Ann Arbor News, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, and occasionally from other out-of-town newspapers and national magazines. The coverage for the years 1902 to approximately 1920 is somewhat spotty. After 1920 coverage becomes much more thorough. All varsity sports are covered. The volumes for 1902-1927 are arranged by sport. Beginning in September 1927 all sports are included in a single chronological order. Individual clippings are occasionally out of order by as much as a week and there is some overlap between volumes. Not all feature articles related to UM athletics appearing in the Daily or Detroit papers were clipped for the scrapbooks.

The Fan's Scrapbooks subseries was apparently compiled by a U of M fan and donated to the Athletic Department. The nine volumes cover the years 1942-1950 and are devoted almost exclusively to football. There is some duplication with the Main Series, but the Fan's Scrapbooks contain many items not found in the Main Series, including numerous clippings from out-of-town papers.

The Jay Kleinert Scrapbooks are oversize volumes (approx. 3'x 4' in size) compiled by Kleinert, an avid fan from Jackson, Michigan, and donated to the Athletic Department. They are devoted exclusively to UM football and include newspaper and magazine clippings, some photographs and original artwork by Kleinert. The Kleinert scrapbooks cover the years 1921-1989

The Ben Friedman scrapbooks were compiled by the Friedman family and loaned to the Athletic Department for microfilming. Friedman, all-American quarterback in 1926, was one of the first nationally prominent Jewish college athletes. The scrapbooks, which cover his high school and professional career as well his Michigan years, are mainly clippings for his hometown Cleveland newspapers and the Jewish press.

The Press Releases series consists of press releases produced by the Sports Information Office, 1943-1996 and continuing. Sometimes titled "Michigan Sports News," the releases were issued weekly. They provide information on upcoming games and events, give statistical summaries of the previous week's games and often a compilation of season statistics for teams and individuals. The press releases are arranged chronologically (by calendar year 1943-1979 and academic year beginning in 1979/80). Beginning in 1983/84 the year's releases are further subdivided by sport.

The Official Rosters of Letter Winners (referred to as the "Dope Books" by the Athletic Department) are arranged by year and sport. (Note that in the early years, 1864-188?, the calendar year rather than the academic year is used.) The record for each year includes lists of the officers of the Student Athletic Association, and/or Board in Control of Athletics, team managers, coaches and trainers; game and meet scores, list of letter-winners, and for some sports in some years, lists of junior varsity letter and freshman numeral winners. It is not clear when the "Dope Books" were first compiled or how the letter winners for the early years were determined. There are some anomalies, e.g., several captains of the football team in the 1880s are not listed as letter winners. The lists of varsity letter winners that appear in media guides for the different sports are derived from the "Dope Books."

The Football Office sub-group contains three series: Football Scouting Reports/Playbooks, 1938-1963, Miscellaneous Publications and Schembechler Topical Files. The Scouting Reports/Playbooks cover the coaching careers of Fritz Crisler, Bennie Oosterbaan and the early years of Chalmers "Bump" Elliott. They are arranged chronologically and include an analysis of each UM opponent and diagrams of Michigan plays and notes on game strategy. Miscellaneous Publications includes football rules books, 1894-1940 and two volumes of lectures by Fielding Yost and Elton (Tad) Weiman for a coaches course they taught. The Schembechler Files mainly concern administrative matters and social activities.

The Athletic Director's Office sub-group includes office files of Athletic Directors Jack Weidenbach and Joe Roberson, files relating to the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics, of which the Athletic Director was a member, and material concerning the NCAA and Big Ten. The records are organized in six series: Jack Weidenbach Files, Joe Roberson Files, Investigations, University of Michigan Certification Steering Committee, and Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Administrative records of the Athletic Director's Office had previously been accessioned as part of the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics records or as part of the personal papers of Fielding Yost, Fritz Crisler and Don Canham.

The Athletic Directors records consist of topical files, correspondence, and reports dealing with both policy issues and day-to-day management of the department and the department's relations with and the director's participation in the affairs of the NCAA and Big Ten. Also included are records of NCAA and Big Ten investigations of U of M athletic programs including baseball, 1989-1990 and basketball 1994-1997.

The Big Ten and NCAA Investigations series includes documentation and reports of the Athletic Department's internal investigation of alleged rules infractions and investigations conducted by the NCAA and the Big Ten. The files include investigators notes, exhibits, transcripts and tapes of interviews and reports. The series covers the baseball investigation of alleged payment to athletes, 1989-1990, and three basketball related inquiries: allegations regarding the possible transfer of basketball player Gary Trent, 1994; the 1996 auto accident involving basketball players and recruits, and the university's inquiry into the Ed Martin affair. With the exception of the final reports, which have been publicly released, the records of the baseball investigation are closed pending removal of individually identifiable student information.

The Big Ten Conference series includes minutes of the meetings of Conference Athletic Directors Committee, 1932-1986, and minutes of the Faculty Representatives, 1896-1959.

The Weidenbach series, which includes material created during the tenure of his predecessors Don Canham and Glen "Bo" Schembechler, is divided into three subseries: Topical Files, Correspondence, and Big Ten. Of particular note in the Topical Files are the Gender Equity files documenting the department's implementation of Title IX and the various files relating to broadcasting and marketing and promotion. The correspondence file consists largely of letters from fans and the public offering praise or criticism of some aspect of the university's athletic program --frequently complaints about tickets, seating or behavior of fans or athletes at games. Other correspondence is generally filed under the appropriate heading in the topical file.

Joe Roberson's records are also organized in three subseries: a topical file, correspondence, and Big Ten. The files on gender equity include a number of background articles, the university's response to the precedent setting Brown University case, staff and committee reports on the department's attempt to implement Title IX, and correspondence and proposals from Marcia Federbush, a local Title IX activist and critic of the Department's gender equity efforts. Other files of interest include several consultant' s reports on restructuring the department's sports information and publicity, development and marketing activities; files on corporate sponsorship-including NIKE, proposals to install sky boxes in Michigan Stadium and the awarding of television and radio broadcast rights. The file on the department's contract with NIKE consists mainly of correspondence from within the university and from the general public, much of it critical of the "selling of the university."

The Board in Control Records were received with the papers of the Athletic Directors and reflect the directors role on the Board, for many years the Athletic Director served as secretary of the Board. Some of these records complement material found in the Board In Control of Intercollegiate Athletics record group.

The series is organized in four subseries: administrative records, Committees, Correspondence and Topical File. The administrative records include original incorporation papers of the Board and its annual filing with the state; annual reports, 1969-1979 and audits, 1993-1996. The correspondence series consists primarily of internal communications of the Board. The topical file includes two significant reports: the "Johnson Report," 1988, on the role and administration of athletics on campus and the "Nordby Report," 1985, on the integration of women's athletics into Big Ten Programs.

The Development Office sub-group consists primarily of brochures and reports on endowment, Fund-raising, promotional and award programs; material relating to booster clubs of various sports; and reports, programs and directories of the Victors Club, Maize and Blue Club, and Kids Go Blue Club.

The Business Office sub-group includes three series of financial records: account books 1904-1941/1942; Audit Reports, 1922-1957/58; and Miscellaneous Accounts, 1925/26-1942/43.

The Ticket Office subgroup consists of game reports, 1927-1968, listing ticket sales and revenues for each sport.