We know that the real reason students choose to attend the University of Chicago is its outstanding athletic tradition. Who needs the Big 10 when students have intramurals on the Midway!
Each year, the Law School fields teams in a number of sports, including soccer, football, softball, basketball, and Frisbee, and the Law School was the University’s Phoenix Cup Champion for the 2011-2012 academic year. The Phoenix Cup is awarded annually to the graduate program earning the most points in sanctioned University intramural activities throughout the academic year (by way of participation and place).
Information about intramural sign-ups will usually be circulated on the LawAnnounce listserv in advance of the season. If you are interested in learning about the full range of intramural options or in starting up a new team, or if you have questions about entry due dates, you can get information at http://athletics.uchicago.edu/campus/campus.htm.
3.2 ATHLETIC FACILITIES
The University’s athletic facilities include the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and the Henry Crown Field House.
The Ratner Athletics Center is named for Gerald Ratner, A.B.’35, J.D.’37, and the 50-meter swimming pool is named for Helen Myers McLoraine. Architect Cesar Pelli’s design for the Ratner Athletics Center was approved in February 2000, groundbreaking was held in October 2000, and construction began in August 2001. The building opened in 2003. Located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Ellis Avenue and 55th Street, the Ratner Center includes, among other things: a 50-meter x 25-yard swimming pool with a moveable bulkhead, a multilevel fitness facility with cardiovascular exercise equipment, a multipurpose dance studio, a competition gymnasium and a smaller auxiliary gymnasium, classroom and meeting room space, permanent and day lockers and locker rooms, the University of Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame, and athletic department offices.
In addition to the Ratner Center, the Henry Crown Field House includes: four multipurpose courts, an indoor running track, racquetball and squash courts, cardiovascular fitness equipment, weight training equipment, a multipurpose room, permanent and day lockers and locker rooms, and classroom and meeting room space.
The University of Chicago’s recreational facilities are open to students, faculty, full-time employees, alumni, and their spouses/registered partners. To use the University’s athletic facilities, students must present a valid University identification card. The cost of an athletic facilities pass is included in each student’s tuition and fees. The fee-schedule for non-students is available at http://athletics.uchicago.edu/facilities/facilities-fees.htm.
More details about the University’s athletic facilities can be found at http://athletics.uchicago.edu/.
 The University of Chicago was one of the original Big 10 schools. The University decided to withdraw from the Big 10 in 1939 because faculty members and trustees found the pressures of Big 10 football to be incompatible with the University’s goal of academic excellence. A local sports columnist wrote of the controversial decision: “The school where they achieved gridiron immortality has abandoned their sport.… They belonged to an era when men were men and the University of Chicago wasn’t afraid of competition.” Chicago Tribune, December 23, 1939. The editor of The Maroon took quite a different stance: “It is a depraved system which has to depend on the prestige of eleven men to attract students to the university or to uphold the university’s name.” For a history of Chicago football, read Stagg’s University by Robin Lester (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995).