"Punting" was not just someone kicking the football to the other team on a fourth-and-long situation. Nor was it an activity that one could do on the Charles River on a sunny Spring afternoon (by the way, what were those?). No, "punting" was something every student at MIT learned to do when a situation became completely untenable and there was nothing else that could be done. You could punt a problem set, a lab, a term paper or that month-old pile of dirty laundry with equal dexterity. It was a response that brought relief to the user and allowed him to then focus on something far more serious...like whether or not to go to the mixer at Wellesley or the block party at Simmons/Emanuel/Wheelock. Some things could not be punted, though - like that night shift at Twenty Chimneys. That meant no paycheck, and what student could survive without a little pocket money for the weekend?
"Punting" also referred to the process of dropping a class in mid-semester. We discussed that previously, so I'm going to punt on the explanation.