Newcomb administrators and faculty members were rather unique in their ideas about the physical education of women, especially when compared to other schools at the time. Dixon hired Clara Baer to meet the challenge of winning over students and their parents to ideas linking health and exercise. She also had to deal with the cumbersome long skirts the girls were forced to wear. In 1894, she made the daring insistence that girls wear bloomers as the standard uniform during athletic activities.
Clara Baer not only was imaginative when it came to uniforms, but also when it came to the sorts of activities the students participated it. Besides inventing "basquette," a less intense version of men's basketball, she also came up with Newcomb Ball, a sport similar to volleyball, which soon spread to other colleges.