NEW YORK—Columbia University concluded its 2017 preseason camp with its fifth annual Columbia Football Players Club Alumni Player Draft and Kickoff Barbecue Saturday at Columbia’s Baker Athletics Complex.
Prior to the Kickoff Barbecue, the Columbia Football Players Club held its Alumni Player Draft. As part of the event, members of the Columbia Football Players Club draft first-year members of the Columbia team to mentor throughout their four years at Columbia. On Saturday, 31 first-years were “drafted” by 31 attending alumni members. Players were selected through a mock NFL Draft and several alumni members attended the draft via conference call. Participants can “improve” their position in the draft by donating money in order to move up in draft position. Following the conclusion of the draft, alumni attended the team’s Kickoff Barbecue and met their draftees.
The Alumni Player Draft immediately connects multiple decades of players, provides mentorship and guidance to the current Columbia student-athetes, allows for career guidance and is an inexpensive way for football alums to stay involved. In total, the Columbia Football Players Club received $12,900 in donations in the hour-and-a-half draft.
“It occurred to us a few years ago that it wasn’t good enough for us alumni football players to just sit and watch from the stands, we wanted to be more involved with the program,” Columbia Football Players Club President Peter Leone said. “One of the ways for us to achieve that was to connect current and former players and create relationships. This is the fifth year that we’ve done this. With new first-year players, we draft each player, then we connect with them much like a big brother or a mentor. We develop relationships with the players over a four-year period and we stay connected with them forever. We provide some tangible things like job placement, networking and professional contacts. We are trying to get alums back in the program and this is a great way for us to stay involved.”
Leone began the event with some business notes and opening remarks. Vice President of the Columbia Football Players Club Charles Britton ’05 CC followed with an explanation of the draft rules. Then Columbia Senior Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations Joe Quinlan opened the draft. Quinlan served as the emcee for the draft and announced trades and alumni picks.
“It’s a great opportunity to get together as a Columbia Football family, support the broadening of the relationships across generations and bridge the gaps,” Britton said. “Also, this process prepares the first-year student-athletes to become alumni. The best way is to do that is to prepare and introduce them immediately to someone has gone down the path before them. The event also helps increase interaction among the alumni by using the draft and mentorship program so the student-athletes get a broad array of sectors and industries that they’re interested in from a career standpoint. The different generations of the alumni interacting together through this program helps to keep everyone engaged. When we go to events, there is much more camaraderie because we all know each other. It helps the current student-athletes because we have layers of assistance from the different generations and geographical areas of players.”
“When you think about any program or initiative to be sustainable, it has to be interesting, it has to be engaging,” Britton said. “We have a bidding process through our draft, which creates competition. If you want to sponsor a particular player from a particular state at a particular position, each alumni member has the opportunity to bid in order to move up in order. That process raises money for the program. All the money raised goes our endowment that helps the broader initiative of athletics.”
Columbia Football alumni members who attended and participated in Saturday’s event included Matthew Barsamian CC ’07, Matt Bocci CC ’13, Charles Britton CC ’05, Michael Brown CC ’80, Mike Brune SEAS ’09, Wells Childress CC ’12, Craig Chodash CC ’90, Kevin Coco CC ’05, Ralph DeBernardo CC ’09, Toure Douglas CC ’17, Cameron Dunn CC ’17, Ted Gregory CC ’74, Gregory Guttas CC ’13, Bob Hauschildt CC ’12, Derek Jancisin CC ’10, Jared Katz CC ’17, Brock Kenyon CC ’17, Bryan Kipp SEAS ’11, BEvan Miller CC ’12, Jim Mooney CC ’56, Nick Mistretta CC ’12, Ross Morand CC ’12, Tom Nevitt CC ’82, Jeff Otis CC ’05, Willie Peoples CC ’17, Ben Popeck CC ’12, Michael Quarshie CC ’05, Hal Robertson SEAS ’81, Neil Schuster CC ’12, Matt Sodl CC ’88, Hank Trumbull EN ’15, Thomas Tryforos CC ’81, Chad Washington CC ’16, Jimmy Yukevich CC ’14.
Columbia Director of Football Operations Greg Lamb organizes and manages the yearly event.
“We couldn’t do this without Greg Lamb’s assistance and work,” Britton said. “He does a great job of organizing everything.”
The Columbia Football Players Club provides for various annual events for the Columbia Football Program. The purpose of the Columbia Football Players Club is to raise money, support the Lions on the field and communicate with alumni and current players on the field.
While the player draft was being conducted in the Campbell Sports Center, the Lions went through a situational practice at Robert K. Kraft Field. The Lions will have positional group meetings on Sunday. Game week practices begin on Tuesday.
Columbia opens its season against Wagner next Saturday at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. for a game which will be televised live on SNY and on the Ivy League Network. Wagner is 1-1 on the year after defeating Saint Anselm 37-7 last Saturday and dropping a 31-6 loss at Saint Francis U, Pa. earlier today. Next Saturday, Wagner will be playing its third game of the year, while the Lions open their season.
Now is also the time to lock in your season tickets! Starting at just $45, Columbia Football season tickets are one of the most affordable, fan-friendly entertainment options in New York City. Purchase yours today at gocolumbialions.com/tickets or call 888-LIONS-11. The 2017-18 True Blue ticket package is also on sale now. Designed for our most loyal fans, the package includes a season ticket to Columbia football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball at a discounted rate. The True Blue package is your gateway to all of the great football and basketball action plus our interactive in-game fan experiences and enhanced game day atmosphere.
2017 COLUMBIA FOOTBALL PLAYERS CLUB EVENT SCHEDULE
Homecoming Football Dinner; Friday, Oct. 13; Faculty House
Columbia Football Players Club Senior Day; Saturday, November 18; Robert K. Kraft Field
Columbia Football Players Club Team Banquet, Saturday, February 17, 2018; Low Library
Columbia Football Players Club Gold Dinner; Thursday, March 1, 2018; Racquet and Tennis Club
Spring Cookout Sponsored by CFPC, TBA, April, 2018, Robert K. Kraft Field
CFPC Golf Outing, Monday, May 7, 2018; Hackensack Golf Club
CFPC Membership Renewal Drive, May 1-June 30, 2018; online
2018 CFPC Rookie Draft & Kickoff Cookout, TBA, Robert K. Kraft Field