Roar, Lion, Roar: A Celebration of Columbia Football

Recent Days > The Streak, 1980s

The Streak, 1983-1988

On October 8, 1988, Columbia defeated Princeton 16-13 in front of 5,420 cold but happy Lions fans attending homecoming on a gray and windy day. The win broke Columbia’s 44-game losing streak from 1983 to 1988. It also marked the team’s first-ever victory at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium which officially opened in 1984.

The victory set off massive celebrations. Both goal posts came down. President Michael Sovern visited the Lions locker room and offered the team the University’s congratulations. Mud-covered students paraded the goal posts around the wet, chilly stadium. About 50 students and members of the Columbia band carried pieces of the goalpost on the subway and down Broadway back to the Morningside Heights campus, where a victory party thrown by the University was already under way. More than 200 pizzas and unlimited soft drinks were served to students reveling in and near Ferris Booth Hall and spilling out onto West 114th Street.  Meanwhile, on the steps of Low Library, College administrators served beef stew and chicken prepared by the University dining services.

While Columbia’s 44-game losing streak was an NCAA record at the time, it was eclipsed shortly thereafter by Prairie View A&M, which lost 80 consecutive games from 1989 to 1998.

Columbia Spectator Front Page. Front cover

Columbia Spectator front page from October 10, 1988 reporting on the end of Columbia's 44-game losing streak.

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