The tickets for Harvard's 100th meeting with Yale were especially quaint, decorated as they were with outlines of Elihu Yale (in blue) and John Harvard (in crimson) above an 1816 poem, Song, by Sir Walter Scott. ("Then strip, lads, and to it, though sharp be the weather,/And if, by mischance, you should happen to fall,/There are worse things in life than a tumble on heather,/And life is itself but a game at football.") A crowd of 70,097 gathered, many of them paying $5 for a souvenir program, and Harvard, led by Quarterback Greg Gizzi's 93 yards running and 94 passing, triumphed 16-7 to gain a share, with Penn, of the Ivy championship.
For the Elis, the loss ended their worst season in 111 years of football; they had a 1-9 record. Not surprisingly, their performance has produced a lot of disgruntled alumni. To many of them the culprits are Yale President A. Bartlett Giamatti and Athletic Director Frank Ryan, who's better known for having quarterbacked the Cleveland Browns in the 1960s.
In 1979 Giamatti cut back on football admissions. "When we were freshmen," says Eli senior Wingback Roger Javens, "it looked like Harvard had 100 guys and we had 30." In 1980 Giamatti gave a speech decrying overemphasis on college athletics and the excesses of recruiting. Since then Yale's assistant coaches have had to attend to duties on campus during the prime recruiting season, and funds reportedly have been cut back to the point that there was no soap in the showers for the Eli football players during a two-week stretch in September.
Coach Carmen Cozza, secure with a 119-53-3 record in 19 years at Yale, is pointing no fingers. "I don't want anyone but myself blamed for a losing season," he says. But the alumni, who have always revered Cozza, won't go along with that. Says 1955 Eli Captain Phil Tarasovic, " Ryan and Giamatti are destroying the program."