11. October 2007 · Comments Off on Purdue and the Homecoming Tradition · Categories: Archive 2007, History, Homecoming

Factoids on this Saturday’s game:
– The Boilermakers’ trip to Ann Arbor this Saturday will mark the 53rd meeting between the two schools.
– This this will be the sixth time that Purdue will be the homecoming opponent.
– Purdue was actually the first Homecoming opponent back in 1900. Prior to that Michigan held a game against an Alumni team on what they called Homecoming. Michigan won the 1900 test 12-6.
– A quick Google search on homecoming led to the Wikipedia. According to the post there, while there are varying accounts of the first school to start a homecoming tradition, the roots seems to be much later than 1900. Check it out:

Many schools lay claim to having the first Homecoming, but three seem to have the strongest claims. The NCAA, Trivial Pursuit, and Jeopardy! give the title to The University of Missouri’s 1911 football game during which alumni were encouraged to attend.[1] Baylor University and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign both claim to have held homecoming-like events in 1909 and 1910, respectively. All of these events had homecoming-like characteristics such as a football game, visiting alumni, and a parade. It’s likely that the traditions at these schools and others merged and spread nationwide. By the 1920s homecoming was widely celebrated across the nation.

The Bentley museum is pretty clear that the three years prior to 1900 Michigan played homecoming against Alumni, and then the 1900 game against Purdue. Does M have a beef here? Did Michigan really start this tradition? Bruce Madej’s 1997 book Champions of the West backs up the claim of the 1897 origins and provides some more info.

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