The game has ended, and your team won. The prize? Nothing greater than the infamous Intramural Champion shirt. As you head to Beyer the next day, you might wonder to yourself, well where did this shirt come from? Who designed it? What did the old ones look like? If so, we have all the answers right here. Dive into the history, the making, and everything you need to know about the Intramural Champion shirt and how it got its start at Iowa State University.
Linda Marticke is the queen of Intramural shirts. She started the Championship shirt 40 years ago. I had the opportunity to sit down with her and chat about the history and making of Intramural Championship shirts. Linda tells me that she has been working at Iowa State for 42 years as the Coordinator of Intramural Sports for Recreation Services, and when she first started working here, Intramural champions used to receive a 5-inch-tall trophy with a little figure playing their sport. Each trophy was engraved with “Intramural Champion,” and then the name of the sport. These trophies were everywhere, covering shelves and taking up space.
During this time, t-shirts were becoming popular as everyday wear and Linda saw an opportunity to make a change. While the other staff wasn’t confident about the change, Linda pushed for it and finally found a student who was interested in designing them. This was in 1977-1978 and the first, official design was done by that student. After that first student, there were a few years that Intramural Sports had a contest to create the design for the shirt. However, many of the designs sent in were unprintable or unpopular, so the shirt design process was then passed onto a company who coordinated with the Intramurals office to create the designs that you still see today.
Throughout its history, only one or two shirt designs were done by a student.
A really interesting fact about the Intramural shirts is that many of the early designs did not feature our beloved Cy. The beginning intramurals shirts were often populated by stars. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Cy made his first appearance in the shirt design, and as Cy’s popularity increased, the designs have rarely strayed. One of Marticke’s personal favorites was done by a student in 2008, which she felt was a simple but a fun design.
Now you know a little bit more about the legend that is Intramural Champion shirts and how it got its start. We’re glad to say that this tradition continues on, and hopefully, you’re one of the lucky few that win one and become a part of its history! If you’re interested in winning one, head over to the Intramural Sports page on our website and see which sports you’re interested in trying your hand out! Maybe you can win one for yourself.