This month marked the most relevant change in UChicago’s undergraduate athletics since the reinstatement of the football team (which was, admittedly, pretty irrelevant). Aiming to bolster its flagging house participation, as well as its subpar performance in IM sports, Woodlawn Intramural experieNce-Not-Essential Recreation and Sports (WINNERS) announced the creation of a new inter-house sport: intramural Cockfighting.
“Honestly, we were pretty confused,” said Francisco Ludendorff, president of WINNERS. “First-years didn’t seem as excited about Zoom finger-painting and Count-The-Blades-Of-Grass-On-The-Midway as they were last year. We figured they weren’t participating because they were stressed about midterms, so we tried to pick a sport that requires no effort from them whatsoever.” Mason Smith-Wright, newly appointed (and self-styled) Cock Czar of Yovovich House, expressed similar feelings. “House culture isn’t what it used to be. Everybody seems to prefer going to Alpha Delt, or snorting lines outside Alpha Delt, or having clothing-optional molasses raves in the Alpha Delt basement. We’re hoping Tuesday night cockfights will make house life a better alternative.”
Following the announcement, the University community has begun to capitalize on the wave of “cock fever” gripping the campus. Economics professor Steven Levitt recently announced a new course for the autumn quarter, titled “Beakonomics: How I Got Rich Betting on Cockfights (You Can Too)!” Its syllabus will cover topics such as “how to tell a good cock from a bad one, how to analyze and cause corruption in cockfighting, and how gambling on cockfights can sometimes get you into trouble.” The Political Science department plans to follow suit with a course of its own titled “Cockblocked: Understanding Inequitable Access to Prize Roosters,” focusing on “how the Nixon administration’s unsuccessful Anti-Cock Campaign made the sport inaccessible to everyone but the wealthiest Americans.”
However, the houses themselves stand to be the biggest beneficiaries of the competition, with naming rights to the roosters “going for the price of a cute two-bedroom place at the Solstice.” Citadel founder Ken Griffin, for instance, spent $38.4 million on the Kenneth C. Griffin Cock, a 12-pound fighting whitehackle currently favored to win the tournament. Its victory is far from guaranteed, however, as the Joe and Rika Mansueto Cock and the Newberger Family Cock are also strong contenders. The auctions, nevertheless, have not been perfect: Rustandy House, owner of the Enron Corporation Memorial Cock, is still awaiting payment.
At this point, the competition seems likely to spread beyond Woodlawn, with houses from nearly every dorm investing in their own roosters. Snell-Hitchcock, however, has been noticeably silent; sources say they “thought the tournament was about something else.”