SDSU Men's Basketball Trip to Cuba Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

UA 046.01

Name and location of repository

Level of description



SDSU Men's Basketball Trip to Cuba Collection


  • 1975-1977 (Accumulation)


0.21 linear feet (1 small document case)

Name of creator


Administrative history

Five members of the South Dakota State University [SDSU] basketball team took part in a 1977 trip to Cuba as part of a South Dakota Delegation. The first mention of such a trip to Cuba came after Sen. George McGovern's 1975 trip to that country. Dave Martin, the SDSU sport's director, was in contact with Sen. McGovern almost immediately after his return from Cuba, interested in what sorts of sports exchanges would be possible with the broadening of relations with the communist country. Despite the numerous diplomatic troubles requisite in such an exchange, by March of 1977 plans for such a trip were well underway. Due perhaps to the continuing influence of Sen. McGovern and Sen. James Abourezk, the trip became a joint venture between the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University, and was finally taken on April. 4-8 1977. Twenty people were a part of the South Dakota delegation, among them five students and five advisors from SDSU.

Name of creator

Administrative history

Administrative interest and support for varsity athletics was non-existent in the early history of South Dakota State College. This situation was not unique at South Dakota State but very similar to the attitude that existed at other land-grant colleges. College administrators looked upon competitive athletics as frivolous, dangerous and unnecessary pursuits, which were totally incompatible with the philosophy and objectives of higher education. It was left to students interested in competitive athletics to provide the leadership, organization and administration of early athletic endeavors. / Football was organized in the fall of 1885 and like baseball, track and field participation was of the intramural nature. Early athletic endeavors usually found competition between classes or divisions within the college. / Before the turn of the century, intercollegiate athletic competition included a variety of sports and activities: baseball, football, track and field, tennis, bicycle races and oratorical contests were all popular. It is claimed that athletic contests among colleges actually got started as the result of oratorical contests. Contestants in state oratorical competition decided that the value of their meet might be enhanced by the inclusion of some form of physical endeavor. / One of the major obstacles in the development of early athletics was the disregard of the necessity for hiring a coach. Older students or an interested volunteer from the faculty often coached early teams. / The year 1922 marked a new era for South Dakota State athletic teams as the North Central Conference had been formed. Dr. Harry Severin, Professor of Zoology at South Dakota State, played an important role in the formation and administration of the conference and served continuously for 40 years as conference secretary. The first championship contested by the conference was won by South Dakota State College. / South Dakota State University has been very active in intercollegiate athletics since the 1920s. In addition to a great deal of success in North Central conference participation, SDSU has pioneered and promoted many new sports such as: wrestling, gymnastics, field hockey, swimming, and a variety of outstanding sports clubs. / South Dakota State University became an active member of NCAA Division I, starting at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection is composed of material related to the undertaking of such a trip. Much of the material contained here includes the media surrounding the event. There are numerous clippings and excerpts from radio spots highlighting the event. Some of the correspondence is interesting, as it shows the earliest stages of the trip. Much of the planning material for this event seems to be lost, however.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Languages of the material

  • English

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Finding aids

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Alternative identifier(s)




UA 46.1

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