The anti-war protests that swept college communities throughout the country influenced events at the university, but with diluted effects. ETSU witnessed its share of hippies, miniskirts and other countercultural expressions. However, the majority of university students devoted their energy to their studies, to traditional forms of entertainment and to athletics.
From 1964 and through the 1970s, Lions football won eight conference championships. The year 1972 was significant for Lions Athletics with both the football and tennis teams making university history by winning NAIA Championships. That year’s team, arguably one of the best in university history, showcased defensive end Harvey Martin, who later played a brilliant career for the Dallas Cowboys.
By the end of the 1960s, African American athletes could now join sports teams, but this first generation experienced discrimination from their coaches and from other players. John Carlos, celebrated for raising his fist as a black power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games, was one such athlete. Carlos was a member of the ETSU track team for just one year because he accused his coach of unequal treatment. Such allegations inevitably were part of the broader campaign by which African Americans began to force the acceptance of equal treatment.