Athletics and Physical Education
Athletics were a part of William Smith College from the very beginning. The year it was founded an old barn was made over into a gymnasium for the women. A William Smith College brochure from 1917 decribes the athletic program at the time:
"The physical welfare of the girls is carefully conserved. There are no extra-mural games, but basketball, field-hockey, skating and tennis are all 'major sports.' There are class-teams and house-teams, and every girl can take part in some activity. In addition to these there are classes in gymnastics and in aesthetic and folk dancing; with special corrective and apparatus work for any girl who needs it. The health of the individual girl is watched, and her exercise adapted to her condition."
Though they lacked an official William Smith team, the women often took part in inter-class basketball games. The class of 1912 was allowed to participate in an intercollegiate game once during their sophmore year as an "experiment." Alfred University had challenged them to a basketball game, which after due consideration on the part of the President, the Dean, the faculty, and the Physical Director, they were allowed to play. Sadly the William Smith women were defeated 22 to 4, and thus ended their career in intercollegiate basketball.
According to the 1912 Pine yearbook, some of the students, who were referred to as "the maimed, the halt and the blind," were excused from participating in gym.
"doctors' certificates stated that they had weak hearts, broken hearts, enlarged hearts and alas! that some had no hearts at all. Others claimed that they had weak lungs; a fact which none believed, judging from the amount of noise they were capable of making."
Despite being excused from class, the women were still given some physical exercises to do "before retiring," perhaps to improve their condition.