Columbia athletics

Columbia Athletics Tradition – Columbia University Athletics


THE LIONS | Learn more about Lions

The Lion was first adopted as a sporting symbol by the student council of Columbia University in 1910, following the presentation of a blue and white banner bearing a large lion with the motto “Leo Columbiae” (Lion of Columbia). George Brokow of the Class of 1909 first suggested the lion moniker as a reference to the institution’s royal past. The university was originally called King’s College since its charter in 1754 by King George II of Great Britain. The lion is the animal represented on the English coat of arms. The original banner was a gift from the Society of the Early Eighties.

COLOMBIA COLORS | Learn more about light blue and white

The Columbia colours, light blue and white, were appropriated from the Philolexian and Peithologian societies on campus, the former claiming blue and the latter white, and were used as a combination as early as 1852. The particular shade of light blue became popular . as Columbia Blue at the turn of the century and is commonly used today as a shade of blue. Several other colleges claim “Columbia Blue” as one of their school colors.

COLUMBIA-BARNARD CONSORTIUM | Learn more about the Columbia-Barnard consortium

Under a unique agreement, the women of Barnard College and Columbia University’s undergraduate division compete as members of college-wide sports teams. The arrangement, called a consortium, is the only one in NCAA Division I athletics. Established in 1983, the consortium was designed to coincide with the admission of women to Columbia College. It was built on an already established women’s sports program at Barnard College. The consortium offers the opportunity for female students registered in the various colleges to compete within the framework of an athletics program while drawing on the resources of all the colleges. Through the continuous development of the program, the University provides all undergraduate women with the best competitive opportunities.


Located on the shore of the Bronx, at the intersection of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers and across from Columbia’s Baker Sports Complex, stands the “C Rock”, a giant letter “C” painted on a 100 foot high cliff wall. high. In 1952, Columbia medical student and heavyweight crew coxswain Robert Prendergrast approached the New York Central Railroad for permission to paint the panel, which was granted. In the late fall of 1952, the crew completed the 60-by-60-foot panel in traffic white and ultramarine blue with a run of 12 feet. The work was aided by a bosun’s chair tied to drill holes at the top of the rock by ropes. The “C Rock” was maintained by members of Columbia’s rowing crews, who recently repainted the panel in 1987.

EMPIRE STATE BOWL | Learn more about the Empire State Bowl

In football, Columbia and Cornell play each other annually in the Empire State Bowl. The rivalry took on the name Empire State Bowl in 2010, emblematic of Ivy League football supremacy in New York State. The winner of each year earns the right to win the Empire Cup. Both schools have been playing on the grill since 1889.

LOU SMALL TROPHY | Find out more about the Lou Little Trophy

In football, Columbia and Georgetown compete for the Lou Little trophy. Established in 2015, the trophy’s namesake, Lou Little has served as head football coach at both institutions. Little coached at Georgetown from 1924 to 1930 and helped bring the Hoyas into the modern era by recording a 41-12-13 record over six seasons while also serving as athletic director. His winning percentage of .759 is still the highest among GU head coaches who have coached more than 20 games. Little took over at Columbia in 1930 and continued his Hall of Fame career until 1956. At Columbia he had 110 wins and his most notable win at Columbia came at the 1934 Rose Bowl, when the Lions beat Stanford 7-0. In total, his teams have won 149 games, lost 122 and drawn 11. Both schools have committed to playing a 10-game series in 2015.

ROAR-EE THE LION | Learn more about Roar-ee

Roar-ee the Lion is Columbia’s official mascot. Roar-ee made their Columbia debut on October 15, 2005 at Homecoming. The most recent physical reincarnation of the Columbia Lion, Roar-ee’s name was determined by an online vote with fans around the world. Roar-ee can be found at all Columbia men’s and women’s football and basketball games.


Formerly known as the Varsity C Event, the Varsity C Celebration is an annual banquet honoring Columbia student-athletes held at the University each spring since 1922. Hosted by the Varsity C Club, the event offers a variety of prestigious student-athlete awards honoring both athletic and academic achievement.

BOOK LEAGUE | Learn more about the Ivy League

In what has always been the nation’s premier group of college institutions, the Ivy League began as a sports league formed in 1954. In October 1933, Stanley Woodward of the New York Herald Tribune first used the phrase ” Ivy colleges” in the press to describe the current eight Ivy schools (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale, plus Army). On February 8, 1935, Alan Gould, editor of the Associated Press Sports, used the exact term “Ivy League” for the first time. In 1945, the first “Ivy Group Agreement” was signed, applying only to football. eligibility requirements and administration of need-based financial aid, without athletic scholarships. The agreement creates the Presidents’ Orientation Committee, comprising the eight presidents; the Coordination and Eligibility Committee, made up of a senior non-athletic administrator from each school; and the Board of Directors, made up of the eight Directors of Athletics. In February 1954, the Ivy Presidents extended the Ivy Group Agreement to all intercollegiate sports. Their statement also addresses presidential governance of the league, the importance of intra-league competition, and a desire that recruited athletes be academically “representative” of the student body at each institution. Although 1954 is the League’s official founding date, the first year of competition was in 1956-57.

ROAR, LION ROAR | Listen to it!

Roar, roar of the lion! is Columbia’s fight song and over time it has become more closely associated with the University. When the Columbia University Alumni Federation offered a prize for a new football song in 1923, Corey Ford, 1923 CC repurposed a song from that year’s Varsity Show (which he co-wrote) and “concocted new words for the show’s final chorus and sent the entry in. Thus made “Bold, Buccanneers!” become “Roar, Lion Roar!” In addition to crediting Ford for the lyrics, songbooks credit Roy Webb, 1910 CC and Morris Watkins 1924 CC for melody Today the song is performed without the first verse.


ROAR, LION, ROAR | Listen to it!

When the bold, the teams of old

Wore blue and white,

Deeds of glory, made their name,

Here at old Columbia.

Nowadays we can rent

Battle teams again.

Hear the lion roar with pride,

While the men of Morningside

Follow the Bleu et Blanc to Vict’ry…

Roar, Lion, roar,

And awaken the echoes of the Hudson Valley.

Fight for victory forever

While the sons of Knickerbocker rally

“Columbia Tour!” Colombia!

Scream his name forever!

Roar, Lion, roar,

For Alma Mater, on the Hudson coast.

COLUMBIA BOOTH (Columbia Alma Mater University) | Listen to it!

Mother, stay on the eternal rock,

Crowned and placed on a height,

Glorified by supernatural light

In your shine we see the light,

Torch your children’s lamps to light them,

Beacon star to encourage and guide,

Get up, Colombia! foster mother

Through the storms of Time, abide!

Get up, Colombia! foster mother

Through the storms of Tide abide!

Honor, Love and Reverence

Crown your brow forever!

Many grateful generations

I salute you as we salute you now!

Until Lord Hudson out to sea

Stop rolling its panting tide,

Get up, Colombia! foster mother

Through the storms of Time, abide!

Get up, Colombia! foster mother

Through the storms of Time, abide!

SANS SOUCI (Columbia College Alma Mater)

And if tomorrow brings

grief or whatever

Other than joy?

And if it wasn’t the winter cold

Rain, storm or thrills of summer?

Tomorrow is still the future;

It’s today !

Tomorrow is still the future;

It’s today !

On the stormy seas of life

All of us soon maybe,

Far far away.

Always hold your glasses high,

Here’s to the youth while it’s near

Even if we die tomorrow,

It’s today !

Even if we die tomorrow,

It’s today.

One last toast before we part,

Written on every heart.

This currency remains

Long may Colombia stand,

Honored nationwide,

Our great Alma Mater,

Now and for ay!

our grandmother,

Now and for ay.

WHO OWNS NEW YORK? | Listen to it!

Oh, who owns New York!

Oh, who owns New York!

Oh, who owns New York!

Some people say-

Why, we own New York!

Why, we own New York!



Stand up and clap!

Rise up and cheer on old Columbia!

For today we raise

The Blue and White above the lot,

Our boys fight,

Because they are bound to win the scrum.

We have the team,

We have steam

Because it’s the day of old Columbia.