Friday, August 14, 2015

Field Marshalling the Fans

Alma Mater will get the best seat in the house

I’ve been busy moving my family into a new house this week, but that’s given me a lot more time to think about the decision to hold football practices right on South Lawn on Fridays during the season.

This is a significant development for three very important reasons:

1)      It proves the new regime really is listening and really is different

The request to put some kind of practice or game run-through right on the main campus was made publicly and privately by people not usually associated with the financial power base in the football program. Not only did the athletic department and the football office listen, they made it happen in year one. For those who kept excusing the previous administrations and coaches and insisting they were doing all they could to improve the program, this group has proven them wrong in the bat of an eye.

2)      This makes Columbia #1… in visibility

We can complain about the fact that our football stadium and training facility is 100 blocks north of campus all we want. But the fact is that football, and just about all athletics, are out of sight and out of mind at every Ivy school. Columbia was just the most out of sight and out of mind. Now with these practices, Columbia will become the most “in your face” football program in the Ivies in a good way. There’s a tremendous amount of people walking along Columbia’s campus, especially on Fridays when there are few classes scheduled for undergrads. A lot of Columbia students these days did not grow up in the U.S. and they’ve never even seen football. This will bring the experience to them. Alumni will also come to check out the spectacle, especially on the Friday before Homecoming.  Essentially, this could turn into a nice pep rally every week.

New Athletic Director Peter Piling came to us from a sports marketing firm and this guy understands marketing. It’s as simple as that.

3)      It’s one less schlep to worry about

No, the bus ride and time spent up at the Baker complex really isn’t such a big deal. But one less trip is one less trip, and the players are going to love the extra time and freedom this gives them.  Practicing and eating on campus the day before a game will give the team an extra shot of physical and emotional energy just when they’ll need it most.

On the history, I was wrong about this being the first time since the 1920’s that the team practiced on the main campus. Lou Little’s teams did some infrequent workouts on South Lawn into the 1950’s. But that was a time when the campus also had several tennis courts and a track right where Ferris Booth Hall replaced those facilities and that’s where Lerner Hall now stands. Little’s successor, Buff Donelli, ended the on campus practices when he took over the program in 1957.

Bottom line, this is really a major positive development that should be celebrated and supported as much as we can. 


RLB said...

does anyone actually know if Mangurian and/or Murphy asked for permission to have FB on South Field? (who had to approve that?) money to redo the Kraft gridiron and for the program which Bagnoli requested and received?
if I got them right at a reception: $2M or 3M, a bubble (place not specified).

Anonymous said...

Yea, this new regime is not leaving us with anything to complain about. Perhaps I have outlived my usefulness as a CU Lions football fan.

oldlion said...

Jake, J Poppe is tweeting about a huge get,on the defensive side of the ball. Any details?