Ed. Note: For those of you new to Linebacker-U, every year we take a look at the universities behind the football teams on Penn State’s schedule. Think of it as a 411 of worthless knowledge. We’ll discuss on- the-field stuff when the season rolls around but for now we take a lighthearted look at the schools and traditions that make up the team. For those of you that were with us from the beginning (hi mom!) some of these will be repeats. For most of you this will be new. Today we take a look at Penn State’s first opponent Indiana State.
About the University
Indiana State University was established by the Indiana General Assembly on December 20, 1865, as the Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute, Indiana. As is the case with most schools, it started out as a teachers college and was renamed the Indiana State Teachers College in 1929. Like most schools ISU’s mission broadened and was renamed Indiana State College in 1961 and finally Indiana State University in 1965. Indiana State is the first public university in Indiana to require incoming freshmen to have a laptop. ISU offers Dell laptops to incoming freshmen with high high school GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) as part of its Laptop Initiative. Indiana State has a proud tradition of a yearly tricycle race. That’s right, grown men race “modified” tricycles.
This is going to get tricky, you might want to take notes to keep up. Early on, the athletic teams of Indiana State referred to themselves as the “Fighting Teachers” (creative, I know). Then the students, in their infinite wisdom, chose the incredibly intimidating name “Sycamores” because apparently there was an overabundance of trees in Indiana.*
During the 50′s and 60′s the mascot was an actual Sycamore tree, but let’s just say that a tree doesn’t lend itself well to athletic events (obviously). So what did every school of that error adopt as a mascot?? Some random Native American; enter Chief Quabachi. Chief Quabachi came from the Sycamore Indian tribe but there’s just one problem: there is no such thing as the Sycamore Indian tribe. So in 1989 for reasons of political correctness Chief Quabachi was officially retired. For six years ISU had no mascot until 1995 a blue-and-white “furry woodland creature” named “Sycamore Sam” was unveiled.
You’d think it was a fox right? WRONG says ISU Athletic Director Andi Myers, it’s not even an animal. “He is not an animal,” Myers explained. “He is described as a furry fox-like creature.” Confused yet? Me too, let’s move on.
Football related data
Last season: 6-5
Indiana State plays in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and has competed in 2 NCAA Division I Football Championships winning only 1 game back in 1983. The Sycamores shared the 1964 Heartland Collegiate Conference title with 4 schools when they went 4-2 in the conference and 6-2 overall.
The list of Alumni for Indiana State is very, very thin, but we’ll give it a try.
Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist Bruce Baumgartner was a Sycamore. Larry Bird graduated from Indiana State. tOSU head basketball coach Thad Matta called Indiana State home. Burl Ives was a Sycamore.
Someone named Bubba the Love Sponge graduated from Indiana State.
…and that’s about it. Hey if Bubba the love Sponge doesn’t impress you, nothing will.
*there’s rumor that the students chose this name as a joke, let’s hope for their sake that the rumor is true because Sycamore is a lame mascot.