It's graduation day for Ronald (Keaton) and his classmates. Amongst his fellow graduates are his girlfriend Mary Haynes and the school's star athlete and rival for Mary's affections, Jeff Brown who is finally graduating after seven years.
As part of his graduation ceremony, Ronald is given a special award as the school's most brilliant scholar. As part of his acceptance speech, Ronald gives to the auditorium a speech entitled "The Curse of Athletics" in which he praises studying and denounces sports. This earns him the ridicule of his classmates and the scorn of his girlfriend.
"When you change your mind about sports, then maybe I'll change my mind about you!" she informs him.
In an effort to win her back, Ronald enrolls in Clayton College with Mary and lots of his otehr schoolmates. He then enrolls in just about every sport he can in an attempt to win Mary back.
Of course, he also ends up making a fool of himself in just about every sport he's enrolled in and Ronald's ineptness earns him ruthless teasing and harassment from Clayton's self-assured jocks.
Just when things can't seem to get any worse, Ronald finds himself gaining an unlikely ally from the school dean, Principal Edwards, who is sympathetic to Ronald's plight, having suffered heartache himself. Dean Edwards arranges to have Ronald made the coxswain of the college rowing team for the upcoming race with their rival rowing team.
The coach isn't particularly eager to have the bookish weakling Ronald in the crew, so he arranges for the crew's normal coxn to slip a sleeping drug Ronald's tea. However, Ronald switches cups and soon ends up coxing the race, but only after capsizing the crew