Early Days, 1870-1905
Columbia played its first football game, only the fourth intercollegiate contest in the history of the sport, on November 12, 1870, losing to Rutgers by a score of 6-3. Stuyvesant Fish, CC 1871, was elected captain of the twenty-player team (out of 125 students enrolled at the College). The leather ball was not yet in use. Players used a black rubber ball (a sphere, not an oval) which could be batted with a fist as well as kicked.
Columbia participated in intercollegiate football intermittently from the 1870s to the 1890s. After the arrival on Morningside Heights and the availability of a practice field, the team started to face a regular schedule in 1899 and had seven consecutive winning seasons from 1899 to 1905.