Just a quick mention of the Band. Newsday, 11-6-96, page A84, by Steve Jacobson. Nattering? (checking dictionary) Nattering negativism, my ass. We've always spread mirth no matter how the football team was doing, and even more so in the '96 season. We never forget the streak because it was a memorable time. It makes our current football juggernaut even more poignant. Any bandie can tell you the date (10/8/88) and score (16-13) of the legendary streakbreaker. We've incorporated the memory into one of our most popular songs. We'll always support the team, even when they suck again.

The Ivy League Ideal

   This is praise by faint damnation. Well, 
nobody expected Columbia to go undefeated, 
did they? These are guys who played with 
guys who played with guys who lost 44 in a 
row, which the nattering negativism of the
band never lets them forget.
   Since when does Columbia have a football 
player who is good enough to blame himself, 
as Marcellus Wiley does, for costing the 
perfect season and slowing the growing 
reputation as the juggernaut of football in 
New York? Marcellus Vernon Wiley, as he 
sometimes calls himself, not only blames 
himself, he takes it on himself to reverse 
the flow at Dartmouth on Saturday in a game 
for first place.
   Columbia plays its biggest football game 
in years Saturday - except for the first 
game of the season in most of those years, 
which may sound sarcastic and demeaning to 
the naked ear, except there is no naked ear 
at Columbia. "We understand where we've 
been," said Ray Tellier, the coach who is 
responsible for unusual times. In the Ivy 
League's 40 years, Columbia has tied for the 
championship once. It has not won at 
Dartmouth in 50 years.
   Wiley is not the usual football player 
for this time and place. "For a while, I 
thought, `There goes my perfect little 
dream.' Now we have to respond. This is a 
great university and to a lot of people, the 
presence of football was a blemish," Wiley 
said yesterday. "Some people expected the 
loss; they thought that was going to be the 
end. As a leader, I'm not going to let the 
team get that way."
   Wiley is 6-5 and 255 and if he hadn't 
been sick in training camp, he might be 275, 
which makes him stand out in the Ivy League. 
He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.71. He can 
eat an egg sandwich on the way to lunch. 
"If I got to the pros where there was a 
training table and I could get a steak more 
than once a year, I could be 290 and just as
fast," he said.
   More to the point, he said: "I'm more 
than meets the eye. I'm more than a guy who 
assaults someone for a leather ball."
   Wiley came to Columbia from Los Angeles, 
from three years at an all-black high school 
and one broadening year at Saint Monica. "I 
wasn't reared to be an Ivy Leaguer, as so 
many people here were," he said. That is to 
be taken as both a positive and a negative 
evaluation.
   He said he had never heard of Columbia 
or the Ivy League until Tellier knocked, and 
the only thing his friends know about 
Columbia is the scores that run across the 
bottom of the screen of the Notre Dame game. 
"I didn't want to be just another number," 
he said. "So many others wanted me to be 
`the new safety' or `the new running back.' 
I'm Marcellus Vernon Wiley. Guys I played 
with laughed; now I've heard them say they 
wish they had my depth of experience."
   Besides, where else could a young man 
learn to play defensive end and after 16 
games attract pro scouts, and play running 
back and blocking back in short-yardage 
situations, protect the kicker for punting 
and placements, and play on the "hands team" 
against an onside kick?
   Columbia and Princeton were scoreless 
Saturday in the second quarter on one of 
those perfect autumn afternoons at Wien 
Stadium.  Princeton was first-and-15 on the 
Columbia 36 when Wiley forced the 
quarterback to eject the ball an instant 
before the collision. Wiley lingered, 
straddling the quarterback for a moment, 
turned to the Columbia side and beat his 
chest as if he were aloft on the Empire 
State Building. He was penalized 15 yards 
for excessive exultation. On the next play,
Princeton ran 21 yards for a touchdown, and 
Columbia never fully recovered, losing, 
14-11.
   "I was trying to get the crowd and the 
team into it," Wiley reflected. He is the 
team's conductor of emotions. "I'm not 
perfect, but I look at myself for things 
that will do no wrong to the team. I know I
hurt this team. That cost."
   Late in the game, he made a marvelous 
play, deflecting a pass and intercepting it, 
which led to Columbia's touchdown and made 
the outcome a gasp. He was named to the Ivy 
League honor roll for his work. "I didn't go 
into the tank after the mistake," he said. 
He was proud of that. He likes that he sees 
"bubble eyes" across the line when the 
offense searches out No. 5.
   He is proud of the relationships he has 
formed playing football at Columbia and that 
he is headed for a degree in sociology in 
the spring, which will be a notable 
accomplishment, especially when he considers 
the shock of his arrival with B grades in 
high school.
   "I wrote a paper that was better than 
anything in my life and got a D," he 
recalled. "My goodness! I looked at the 
papers that got Bs and Cs and I didn't 
understand them. I thought, `How am I going 
to fake this?'"
   The background of his father being both 
Wiley's role model and a role model for 
other Little League and high school players 
who had none was "good background" in Los 
Angeles. He was "the man" in high school.
In the Ivy League, suddenly, his background 
was "bad," as he put it. He thinks, if he'd 
gone to UCLA, he'd be tutoring other players 
and here he needed the tutor. Here he was 
expected to know about Plato and Socrates.
"I had chemistry and physics in high school, 
but it wasn't the chemistry and physics they 
had."
   He spent last year away from Columbia, 
picking up his grades at a junior college in 
Los Angeles and working at a center for 
youth at risk. He said he feels values 
beyond the lure of professional football or 
the "green of the Ivy League education."
   Here they ask why does it take 2,001 
Columbia students to change a light bulb? 
One changes the bulb and 2,000 protest. It 
is a school of enormous diversity. "They 
respect diversity," Wiley said. "I've lived
diversity." Who can be certain he'll feel 
that social responsibility if he has access 
to football riches, or even if he means what 
he says now? I believe he says too many 
right things to have made them up on the
spot.
   "Too many people are saying, `Look at 
me,' instead of `How are you?'" he said. 
That's a rare concept in the era of the 
pampered athlete. Then again, the guys play 
football at this level for the purest of
reasons, and the big guy appreciates them.
   "I truly love the guys," Wiley said. 
"They're putting in their best. Some guys 
might put $20 in the pot and some are 
putting in a nickel, but they're putting in 
everything they have."
   They can teach that in senior philosophy. [sic?]