There is perhaps no man more important than Walter Camp with regard to the early history of American football as we know it. Walter Camp was an all-around athlete, skilled in swimming, running and table tennis with a strong ethic toward physical training. Born in 1859, Walter Camp is credited with being the first one to outline the rules of what would come to be known as American football. Camp played football while attending Yale, where he studied medicine and business and helped evolve the rules of football into its modern form we all know today. He continued working at this until his death, being credited with editing every football rulebook that was printed until he died in 1925. It’s no wonder that he is known as the “sire of football” in America, as he spent the better part of his life developing the structure of this game as a player, coach and administrator.
Walter Camp played at Yale from 1877 to 1882. He was Captain of the team three years during which time Yale had a record of twenty-five victories, one defeat and six ties. In addition to this great record, Camp also was known as someone who liked fair play. Due to this, he is credited with many aspects of the development in the early history of football to what it has become today. Walter Camp had an impact in the numerical assessment of the game, the restriction of the game to eleven players per team, set plays, sequences of play and game strategy. He is also credited with the original concept of a football scrimmage game as part of the intense physical training required of players who succeed as professional sports athletes. You can learn more about Walter Camp by visiting the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Inc. official website at http://waltercamp.org/.
The National Collegiate Association
Camp helped to found the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). You can learn more about the history of the NCAA and how it still exists today at http://www.ncaa.org/.
Walter Camp And The Structure Of Football
Walter Camp served on the rules committee from his college days up until his death. Rules such as legalization of the forward pass led to ball redesign and a more open style of play. The brutal, rough mass, plays which caused so much injury were prohibited by the rules committee along with locking of the arms by teammates. During his time on the rules committee Camp was also effective in helping the game time to be shortened to sixty minutes, as well as the development of the neutral zone in the history of football. The neutral zone separates the teams by one length of the ball before each play begins. As leader of the American Football Rules Committee, Walter Camp provided the leadership necessary to create a system of skill and training which outweighed the original brutality that was a part of the game, combining physical force with rules and game play to create a much beloved American sport that is big business today, as well as big entertainment for fans.