1905 Fairmount vs. Washburn football game
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|The Three Down Experiment
Fairmount vs. Washburn
|Date||December 25, 1905|
The 1905 Fairmount vs Washburn football game was a college football game between Fairmount College (now called the Wichita State University Shockers) and the Washburn Ichabods played on December 25, 1905. The game was played in Wichita, Kansas. It is unclear if the game was considered "regular season", "post season", or "exhibition" in classification.
Fairmount college was coached by Willis Bates for Fairmount. The head coach for Washburn that season was John H. Outland, but since he was officiating it is likely that the coaching duties fell to assistant coach (and next year's head coach) Garfield Weede. The game ended in a 0–0 tie.
New rule test
Safer but not "conducive"
What made the game unique was that it was a test of a proposed rule of play. During the game, each team's offense was only allowed three downs instead of four to earn a new first down.
Both teams had played a previous game that same season that was considered The experiment was considered a failure. Football legend John H. Outland officiated the game and commented, "It seems to me that the distance required in three downs would almost eliminate touchdowns, except through fakes or flukes." The Los Angeles Times reported that there was much kicking and that the game was considered much safer than regular play, but that the new rule was not "conducive to the sport."
Three days later, 62 schools met in New York City to discuss rule changes to make the game safer. As a result of that meeting, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, later named the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was formed and several other rule changes were made to improve safety for players, including the addition of the forward pass.
First forward pass
In his history of the sport of football, David M. Nelson concluded that "the first forward passes were thrown at the end of the 1905 season in a game between Fairmount and Washburn colleges in Kansas." According to Nelson, Washburn completed three passes, and Fairmount completed two.
- ^ College Football Data Warehouse Willis Bates 1905 results
- ^ New York Times "Ten Yard Rule a Failure" December 26, 1905
- ^ Los Angeles Times "New Football Rules Tested" December 26, 1905
- ^ "The History of the NCAA". NCAA.org. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. http://web.archive.org/web/20070430205324/http://www.ncaa.org/about/history.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
- ^ Nelson, David M. (1994). The Anatomy of a Game: Football, the Rules, and the Men Who Made the Game. University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0874134552. , p. 128