On This Day in IUPUI History: April 12, 1972

April 12, 1972. 

On this day, Indianapolis mayor Richard G. Lugar feted the new IUPUI men's basketball team and cheerleaders at a luncheon held in the mayor's office in the City-County Building. The mayor issued a proclamation and gave "key-to-the-city" pins to the players and cheerleaders to thank them for starting intercollegiate athletics at IUPUI. 

While in March 1971 an intramural basketball team represented IUPUI in a intercollegiate tournament at Indiana University-Kokomo, organized intercollegiate athletics truly got off the ground in January 1972 when a men's basketball team called the "Metros" took to the court. In the next three months the team played a foreshortened seven-game season and compiled a one-win and six-losses record. Still, it was a beginning, for which IUPUI and city leaders were both thankful and hopeful.

At the luncheon, Lugar lauded IUPUI administrators for starting the athletics program from scratch with almost no budget. According to the report published in the Sagamore, the IUPUI student newspaper, Lugar joked that "there are plenty of openings in government for those who can accomplish things without money."

As well, Lugar expressed the hope that Indianapolis and IUPUI would grow together. He pointed out the window of his office to the construction site of the indoor sports arena that later would be called Market Square Arena and said that he would be glad to see the IUPUI Metros playing in it. IUPUI vice chancellor Jack Ryder, present at the luncheon, replied that "IUPUI would be happy to play in the new arena--free."  

Finally, the mayor referred to his December 1968 speech in which he called for the creation of a new, independent state university in the city. He said that he still "likes the sound of an University of Indianapolis" but was not "militant" about it.

Indeed, after Market Square Arena opened in 1974 the IUPUI Metros played many games in the massive facility. 

The 1972 curtailed IUPUI Metros men's basketball season is largely forgotten in the annals of IUPUI Athletics. To learn more about it, consult records in IUPUI Special Collections and Archives. 

IUPUI cheerleaders at Market Square Arena, nd UA24-005127s

On this Day in IUPUI History is a daily blog highlighting notable events in IUPUI's first fifty years. Read all the entries here. Please contact us at speccoll@iupui.edu

Updated Apr 12, 2019 by Editor Name Missing