North­eastern has signed a five-​​year trial agree­ment with the U.S. Col­le­giate Ath­letic Fed­er­a­tion to become the first school to offer table tennis as a var­sity sport.

The U.S. CAF expects a dozen other schools to follow in Northeastern’s foot­steps by the end of the year, at which point a gov­erning body will create two six-​​team con­fer­ences. The Huskies will pre­pare for Divi­sion 1 play in 2014 with sum­mer­time exhi­bi­tion matches against the Har­vard and MIT club teams.

North­eastern is thrilled to be the pio­neer of table tennis at the var­sity level,” the uni­ver­sity said in a state­ment. “We hope that we can start a nation­wide ping-​​pong tra­di­tion as rich and rewarding as that of our country’s most beloved sports.”

The university’s ping-​​pong team is expected to com­prise 10 of the country’s top players. All of them were recruited by head coach Phil Sardo, who com­peted for Team USA at the London 2012 Olympic Games but did not win a medal, let alone a single match.

My goal is to win some­thing for once in my life,” said Sardo, who stressed the impor­tance of pro­nouncing his name with a strong accent on the “do.” “I have a good feeling we’ll be able to sweep those club teams across the river.”

The Huskies will show off their ping-​​pong skills for stu­dents, fac­ulty, and staff during an open prac­tice on Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Cabot Cage.

Top recruit Chalky Stude­baker grew up playing a makeshift game of ping-​​pong in the base­ment of his home in Bluff­in­gton, Va., patiently hit­ting ball after ball against a cream-​​colored wall.

He mod­eled his game after For­rest Gump, the title char­acter in the Academy Award-​​winning film who wowed wounded mil­i­tary vet­erans with his back­hand and played for the All-​​American Ping Pong team.

I know For­rest is a fic­tional char­acter, but his hand-​​eye coor­di­na­tion is unri­valed in the world of pro­fes­sional table tennis,” said Stude­baker, a rising first-​​year stu­dent. “He could volley two ping-​​pong balls at once at warp speed.”

Stude­baker, a three-​​sport ath­lete at Bluff­in­gton High School, turned down a full schol­ar­ship to play quar­ter­back for the Uni­ver­sity of Southern Cal­i­fornia in order to play ping-​​pong for North­eastern. “Who needs foot­ball and sun­shine?” Stude­baker asked.

This article is part of news@Northeastern’s April Fools’ Day coverage.