- Associated Press - Thursday, November 17, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Headed to another winless season, Columbia’s football team is going quietly.

The university administration has banned Columbia’s marching band from playing during Saturday’s season finale against Brown at Baker Field because the musicians mocked the team’s poor performance by using alternate words to the school fight song during last weekend’s 62-41 defeat at Cornell.

The school said in a statement that the group, which bills itself as the “Cleverest Band in the World,” used lyrics to the effect of “Why do we even try, we always lose” in a parody of “Road, Lion, Roar,” which urges the Lions to “wake the echoes of the Hudson Valley” and “fight on to victory evermore.”

According to the Columbia Spectator, the alternate lyrics also included: “We always lose, lose, lose; by a lot, and sometimes by a little.”

“The athletics program welcomes the band to our football games to promote school spirit and provide fan entertainment,” the school said. “We believe the actions of the band … were inappropriate and embarrassed our student-athletes, coaches, parents and fans.”

That prompted an apology Thursday from senior Jose Delgado, the band’s manager.

“We accept the consequences and look forward to continue to be a part of our school spirit for future athletic events,” he said in a statement.

Columbia is 0-9 this year and has lost 10 consecutive games. Not including one-game seasons in the 1870s, this could be the seventh year the Lions lose all their games and the 11th time they go 0-7 in the Ivy League.

Columbia won its only Ivy League title in 1961 and set a Division I record with 44 consecutive losses from 1983-87, a mark broken by Prairie View’s 80 in a row from 1989-98. Since 1971, the Lions’ only seasons with winning records were 1994 and 1996.

The band is known for its irreverence, such as a “Running Nose” formation in which the musicians form a nose and run down the field. It also plays countless renditions of “I Can Hear You Knocking but You Can’t Come In.”

“Our football players, coaches, alumni, and parents are extremely hurt, disappointed and angry by the band’s behavior at Cornell,” Athletic Director M. Dianne Murphy said Tuesday. “Because of the band’s disrespect for the feelings and efforts of their classmates and fellow Columbians, we believe that allowing the band the opportunity to perform at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium on Saturday undermines the university’s institutional support for our football team.”

Delgado emailed a statement to The Associated Press, saying the band “would like to apologize to the members of our community, in particular to our fellow classmates and coaches, who were offended,” he said. “We are disappointed that we will be unable to perform at Saturday’s football game _ the last game for seniors both in the band and on the football team. All season, we have been ardent supporters of the football team, rain or shine. The band will be at Saturday’s game just as we are every week.”

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