NYU Stern MBA students James Morris and Dave Jaroslovsky knew something was missing as they looked over their club options this fall. “Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States, so not having a club at Stern seemed odd,” said Jaroslovsky. After organizing impromptu pickup games and seeing an outpouring of interest, they knew they had to formalize the Stern Gridiron club. On Saturday, April 14, the group’s first official event—against Columbia Business School (CBS)—introduced their presence on a high note.
“[At] the game against Columbia, [we] had 29 people total compared to their 10,” Jaroslovsky noted; the demand was clearly there. Recognizing the unmet need at the beginning of the semester, they decided to take it upon themselves to officially establish Stern Gridiron.
“We wanted to attract the die-hard fans but also those who may not know much about the game,” Morris said of the goal of the club. “Football is a hard sport to learn, especially if you don’t grow up with it, so we want to help new fans learn more about the game. Our goal is to put on events and establish a camaraderie between new fans and lifelong fans.”
In order to ensure that the club is open to the entire student population, Morris and Jaroslovsky are planning a wide range of events for next year including Football 101 seminars and Fantasy Football primers, as well as watch parties and potential trips to professional and college games.
“It is important to us to continue these flag football games against other schools,” Jaroslovsky said, “but we also want to host an intra-Stern tournament,”. Morris echoed that he felt the games were very important and that the turnout thus far this year leaves him confident that this club will continue to grow in popularity.
Stern Gridiron’s first official event occurred this past Saturday at Randall’s Island, as they participated in the MBA Flag Football Tournament hosted by Columbia Business School. Stern Gridiron struggled to find its footing in the round robin portion of the tournament, but overcame their early stumbles and took home the MBA Tournament Cup thanks to the play of the quarterbacking triumvirate of MBAs Chris Costello, Reid Velo and Andrew Schwartz. After opening the day with a loss to a talented Booth team and a convincing win over Yale, Stern was upset by MIT and faced an uphill climb in bracket play. However, both Morris and Jaroslovsky pointed to an acrobatic, one-handed grab by Rohan Williamson as not only the standout play of the day but also as a turning point for team morale.
The Stern squad capitalized on that momentum in their playoff games, played later that day. Playing as the 4th seed, Stern faced Tuck in their opening game. It was a back and forth affair not decided until the final seconds. Tuck was lined up for a game-tying 2-pt conversion that Stern stopped not once, but twice, after a controversial pass interference call to win 26-24. In the championship game, Stern fittingly faced our uptown rivals, Columbia. Up 8 points with two minutes to play, Stern drove the length of the field and sealed the victory when Schwartz connected with James Sutton in the corner of the endzone.
The Stern squad was able to overcome injuries to two quarterbacks in part because of the depth provided by high participation from both full and part-time students, all of whom contributed to the victory.
“The number of players we had definitely contributed to the victory,” said Morris. “We knew our full-time classmates would play because of our [pickup] games in the fall, but we had a great Langone turnout, too.” Both Jaroslovsky and Morris also credited the pre-game meal provided by incoming LSG President Allie Coffin as a pivotal part of team-building that contributed to the victory.
Morris and Jaroslovsky are excited to start things off on such a positive note and are clearly passionate about making the Stern Gridiron Club a staple of the MBA experience. Both intend to continue spreading the word about future programming; they also praised the Office of Student Engagement’s efforts to formalize the club as well as their suggestions on how to appeal to a broader audience moving forward.
If you are a football fanatic, if you want to learn more about the game, if you are compelled to join your classmates in their fantasy football obsession, or are interested in becoming a member of the Gridiron Club for any other reason, you can join on Campus Groups by searching “Stern Gridiron.”