Bladderball Coming Back to Yale?

The legendary, chaotic campus game could make a return despite the school's ban.

By + More

It's been 27 years since the legendary game of bladderball was played on Yale University's campus. But rumors around the New Haven, Conn., campus are swirling—bladderball may be back tomorrow, despite a campuswide ban.

The Yale Daily News reports that the chatter around campus has Yale wondering if this is the year the game will be revived. Yale's football team plays Dartmouth this weekend, which traditionally was the weekend that bladderball took place. Fliers appeared around campus on Tuesday night saying that the game would take place at 4 p.m. tomorrow, and viral E-mails have also been sent out.

Still, Yale College Dean Mary Miller tells the Daily News that she's skeptical.

"I think this is all a giant hoax," says Miller. "Bladderball remains banned by the dean of Yale College. It would be shut down."

But what is bladderball? According to the report, bladderball is a game that involves mobs of people and a ball 6 to 7 feet wide. The object of the game is for your team to control the ball and navigate it back to your corner. In older times, each group's designated corner was drawn on the ground, but as the game progressed, Yale's different colleges formed teams and tried to get the bladderball back to their respective courtyards.

Yale banned bladderball from campus in 1982. The school's president at the time, A. Bartlett Giamatti, said there were too many injuries among the participants. The report also mentions the heavy dose of vandalism that comes with bladderball.

"To me, bladderball captured the free spirit anarchy of the late '60s," one alum tells the Daily News. "It was just about wild and crazy and uncontrolled things. It wasn't about winning and losing. It was about going with the chaos, and that seemed very much in the spirit of the times."

We'll see how that flies in 2009.

  • Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.