As Spec, Deadspin, ESPN, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post have recently reported, the Columbia University Marching Band has been banned from performing during the football team’s final game of the season against Brown on Saturday.
Last Saturday at Cornell, football coaches overheard the band performing an alternate version of the fight song that mocked the Columbia team. “We always lose, lose, lose; by a lot and sometimes by a little,” the lyrics read. (The team is 0-9, and gave up 62 points in the Cornell game). Coaches alerted the Athletics department, which soon introduced the sanctions. The ban means that the band is prohibited from bringing their uniforms and instruments to the game, and they won’t be allowed to perform pre-game or halftime shows. Many are upset since the Brown game is traditionally when CUMB and other Columbia spirit groups celebrate the senior members of the football team and band.
While the band has gotten in trouble before (most notably for mocking the priest sex abuse scandal at Fordham in
2001 2002 and the Vietnam War at West Point in the 70s), this is the first time the band has been banned from Columbia’s own stadium. This is also the first time the band has gotten in trouble for singing one of their many alternate versions of the fight song, which a bandie told Spec “are meant only for the band bus and Orgo Night.” The lyrics that offended Athletics were written earlier this year and had been sung at the end of a few football games before they were overheard.
When we contacted Head Manager Jose Delgado about the incident, he only provided the official comment below, adding, “Any future comments will be made after the football game to maintain the focus on our players and classmates”:
The Columbia University Marching Band would like to apologize to the members of our community, in particular to our fellow classmates and coaches, who were offended by the incident that occurred on November 12 at the Columbia vs. Cornell football game. We accept the consequences and look forward to continue to be a part of our school spirit for future athletic events. We are disappointed that we will be unable to perform at Saturday’s football game – the last game for seniors both in the band and on the football team. All season, we have been ardent supporters of the football team, rain or shine. The band will be at Saturday’s game just as we are every week cheering for our Columbia Lions, win or lose. We look forward to supporting our athletic teams for many years in the future.
Spec reported that “many members instead belted an original verse that reflected the losing ways of Lions football.” It is still unclear whether singing the alternative verse was a premeditated decision or whether they’ve gotten any feedback from the football team.
UPDATE: According to Spec, the Athletics department relented and will now let CUMB play at this Saturday’s game against Brown. The band’s managing board released the following statement:
The band is grateful to have been told this evening that the Athletic Department will allow us to attend the football game this Saturday against Brown. We look forward to honoring the senior class – both on the football team and in the band – and cheering the Columbia Lions on to victory.
The band’s Twitter confirms this.
Marching fellow via cumb.org