For a leading university which is so good at so many things, both academic and athletic, Columbia’s perennial weakness in football seems hard to understand. Going into yesterday’s 48-7 loss to Brown, Columbia was already 0 and 9 this season. As reported in the New York Times by Julie Macur (“Columbia Football’s Dogged Futility,” 11/23/13), Columbia has been unable to find any sustained success on the gridiron for many, many seasons. This year’s team has been outscored 405 to 73 and in four games allowed over 50 points. In the 1980’s, the team sustained a 40 game losing streak.
Once an Ivy League “also-ran” (Fiske College Guide 2013), Columbia’s applications have surged in recent years. Their undergraduate engineering program is one of the nation’s best, and its Core Curriculum a magnet for serious scholars. While 60% of its students seek law or medical school admission, the intellectual atmosphere is not defined by pre-professionalism.
A superb institution like Columbia doesn’t need football to bring it acclaim, but a win once in a while would be welcomed at Baker Field.