October 29, 2021 | SPORTS | By Michael Braithwaite | Photo courtesy of The Catalyst archives
In the life of an American college student, one of the most popular forms of extracurricular entertainment is football. The top 10 largest stadiums in the United States are all used primarily for college football and games typically lie in between morning tailgates and evening parties.
To say that a football program at Colorado College would generate the same amount of excitement would likely be incorrect. However, that doesn’t mean there is no desire at all for a CC football program.
Although the CC football team has not existed for over 10 years, the program has quite an extensive history whichspans over a century of play.
In 1882, students organized the Colorado College Athletic Association and elected officers to regulate different sports; football was one of them.
Ten months later, the Tigers played their first ever football game, beating a group of local volunteer firemen 10-8.
CC’s first win against a college team came three years later, when the Tigers beat the University of Denver 12-0 in the first intercollegiate football game played west of the Mississippi River.
Washburn field was constructed in 1898 for Tiger football, and over the following 125 years of play, it was the home to numerous CC all-Americans and even a team which made the 1975 NCAA playoff.
However, even with this incredibly storied history, one can hardly find a trace of a varsity football program on CC’s campus today.
Magdalene Gonzales ’24 lamented the fact that CC does not have a varsity football program, and said that, if they did, she would attend games no matter how the team was performing.
Colorado College’s varsity football program remained a part of the school through the 2007 season, but the Tigers had fallen off significantly from their glory days of past.
In the previous 32 years, the team had only one winning season and was having trouble keeping the roster full.
In 2008, CC made the decision to cut three varsity sports: football, softball, and water polo. This was part of a larger effort to reduce the college’s budget by $8 to 12 million.
This budget reduction came due to the decline of the endowment value as a result of the ongoing financial crisis. The college saved approximately $450,000 per year by eliminating the football program.
Although this move may have made sense at the time, the endowment has more than doubled since 2008. It might be within CC’s financial capacity to bring back the varsity football team.
As seen with strong new head coaching hires for both Cross Country and Ice Hockey, the CC administration is determined to get Tiger athletics back to the forefront of both conference play and within the national sphere.
Bringing back the varsity football program would not only contribute to this determination but would also resurrect one of the oldest college football programs in the country. It would also give CC students another team to cheer for.
Bringing back the varsity football program would also take some of the pressure off of intramural flag football, which is the closest thing that CC currently has to a football program.
Nialo Kinney ’24 is on an IM flag football team. While he enjoys playing the sport, he said the lack of a varsity football program makes it so there are too many ultra-competitive athletes dominating what is supposed to be a casual environment.
“I think sometimes people take it too seriously for IM [football],” Kinney said. “That might be because we don’t have an actual football team [for them to play on].”
Football is an incredibly large part of the American college experience, and for some CC students, it is disappointing that they cannot take part in this experience.
“It’s a bummer that CC doesn’t have a football team,” Gonzales said. “There’s a different vibe at football games than, say, a volleyball game or lacrosse game.”
It may be unrealistic to say that a CC football team would draw 50,000 spectators, as large state schools do. However, it would resurrect the history of an old and storied football program and provide students with a new form of entertainment.