This week in sports history, Feb. 5, 2019

February 6

NFL rule requires completing a college degree (1926)

The NCAA altered an NFL rule, allowing students to be drafted only after they had finished undergraduate education at a college or university. According to Raymond Schmidt, the author of Shaping College Football, the NCAA Resolution of 1925 explained that the growing popularity of football was negatively affecting the chief education purposes of universities for students pursuing an education while playing sports. The rule still stands today as a way of bolstering the importance of obtaining a college degree, even if being drafted to the NFL is on the horizon.

First person to hit a golf ball on the moon (1971)

February 6, 1971 marks the momentous day in history when Alan Shepard became the first and only person to hit a golf ball on the moon. According to an article from PGA, Shepard had planned his actions month in advance of the lunar trip aboard Apollo 14. He contacted a local club pro in Houston and had the head of a six-iron attached to the shaft of a piece of rock collecting equipment, which he covered with a sock to avoid being discovered. When Apollo 14 landed on the surface of the moon, he unveiled his makeshift club along with two golf balls and proceeded to shoot the ball over 200 ft. The original club is kept in the USGA Museum, and a replica is in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

February 7

First MLB player to make $100,000 (1949)

Joe DiMaggio became the first Major League baseball player to make an annual salary of $100,000. Today the MLB has grown extensively and is made up of 30 teams and 750 total players. While $100,000 may have been a large amount in 1949, according to the Houston Chronicle, the average salary of an MLB player today is 4.65 Million dollars per year, with some players earning up to 20 million for a single season.

February 8

Invention of volleyball (1891)

Following the invention of basketball in 1891, William G. Morgan, a graduate of the Springfield College of the YMCA, designed a game in Massachusetts that we now know as volleyball. It was originally called “mintonette” and was made to be a combination of basketball, baseball, tennis and handball. The original net, borrowed from the concept of tennis, was six and a half ft. tall. The offensive movements setting and spiking were created in the Philippines in 1916, leading to a clear establishment of rules and gameplay by the USVBA (United States Volleyball Association),formed in 1928.

First women’s hockey team (1998)

Men’s six-a-side hockey has been a staple of the Winter Olympics since they were conceived in 1924 in Chamonix, France; however, it wasn’t until 1998 that a woman’s team debuted in Nagano, Japan. Unsurprisingly, the sport was dominated by Canada, Finland, Sweden as well as the Soviet Union before the USSR collapsed. The first game featured a 6-0 victory for Finland over Sweden.

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