The Melbourne University Sports Association (MUSA), or the Sports Union as it was previously known, was founded on the 19th of April 1904.
The Union was originally formed to bring together all the different sporting clubs of the University and to ensure that a spirit of amateur sport prevailed. There came with it several key ideas as to the nature of sport at university level. Perhaps the most important of these was the recognition of the part that sport plays in education - a recognition that still prevails in MUSA today.
Over the last century, MUSA has helped define sport's place at the University of Melbourne. The success of this can be seen in the results the University has achieved in competitions at all levels. The University has turned out countless Olympians and other athletes at the highest levels but, despite this, it has nevertheless continued its support of sport at lower, recreational levels. Moreover, this has occurred not only in those ‘traditional' sports of football, cricket, athletics and rowing, but, especially in recent decades, has catered for the growing variety of sporting interests in the student population. In its facilities, too, sport at the University of Melbourne has benefited greatly from MUSA; examples of MUSA's contributions include the first extension to the Melbourne University Boat Shed and the Melbourne University Ski Lodge. These, as well as others, are examples of the first class sporting facilities offered at the University of Melbourne.
These days, sport plays a popular part in extra-curricular activities of the student cohort. There are currently 39 clubs representing all variety of sports, recreational pursuits and instructional activities ranging from football to rowing, mountaineering to waterski, and aikido to taekwondo. Clubs compete at inter-university competitions (previously referred to as inter-varsity) with great success and a number of elite student-athletes represent the University in addition to their Olympic, Paralympic or World Championship commitments.
MUSA's role in the University is, primarily, a representative one. It does not administer sport at the University of Melbourne but instead represents the students' sporting interests both within the University and out. It comprises a council of sporting clubs and an elected executive that represents, according to its constitution, all students engaged in physical recreation both in clubs and in other areas. It does, then, hold the privileged position of representing students and of being able to influence sport decision-making at University. MUSA also sponsors a large number of promising athletes through scholarships each year.
The superb results achieved by Melbourne students and the growing number and success of elite student-athletes at the University are gratifying to all. However, one of the fundamental aims of MUSA, to promote sport for the enjoyment of all students, remains central to its aims. The value of sport cannot be over-rated. Sport promotes physical and mental health; sport helps build a university community; and, furthermore, it promotes teamwork, leadership and helps equip students with that all-rounded liberal education which universities and employers worldwide seek.