Today in NC State History: Class controversy turns ‘physical’

November 14, 2014
By Chris Saunders

historyIconThe late fall of 1986 brought with it the women’s volleyball season. And it turns out the most troublesome opponent that team faced during that season wasn’t another ACC volleyball team.

It wasn’t any team they faced on the court. It was an aerobics class in Carmichael Gym.

On this day 28 years ago, that class was canceled as the Technician announced, “A conflict has arisen between the athletics and physical education departments over the temporary cancellation of the 4:30 p.m. Aerobics Club class.”

There were complaints by athletics teams practicing in Carmichael that the aerobics classy was too noisy. Even after what Richard Lauffer, head of the department of physical education, saw as a ‘sound’ solution — the purchase of a meter to gauge the noise level in the class — was carried outBdi6Reec9, the head volleyball coach, Judy Martino, still complained to Athletics Director Jim Valvano, according to the Technician article.

“As activities in the gym increase, the programs have gained in popularity,” Valvano said in the article. “From a coaching standpoint it has become very difficult to teach.”

The controversy then went through an entire he-served-he-served, with Lauffer feeling threatened by Valvano and Valvano saying he never threatened to take the issue to the chancellor.

“The temporary cancellation of the class affects 100 to 125 students…,” the Technician reported, citing the coordinator of club sports. “These students change from day to day, so that as many as  250 people could be affected.”

Those very students had to wait while administrators debated reinstating the class. “We’re not trying to create any problems,” said Karen Core, one of the club’s aerobics instructors, “we’re just trying to exercise.”


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