Friday, July 22, 2011

The end of a football career in the Ivy League

Pease's life just peachy in the Big Apple
Author(s):    Joe Bush
Date: September 29, 2000
Page: 1
Section: SportsXtra
New York City, imagine that. It's a line from a Michelle Shocked song, to give due credit, and it applies to St. Charles grad Jason Pease.

For almost four years Pease has bitten from the Big Apple, and not only has it helped him grow, it's shaped his growth potential.

Pease has been playing football and studying economics at Columbia University, an Ivy League school 20 minutes from Wall Street.

In the summers he has had internships in Chicago's financial district and on Wall Street. In the autumns, Pease has done on-the- job training on fields at Princeton, Yale and Harvard.

Most likely, the suit-and-tie work will come in more handy than the helmet-and-shoulder-pads duty.

Still, anytime a guy letters (playing in at least seven of 10 games) for four years at a Division I-AA school, he could get NFL consideration.

"Definitely something I would follow up on," Pease says.

The NFL, imagine that.

Pease speaks in what-if terms from a unique perspective. Some Ivy League players would be taking a pay cut by choosing NFL rookie contracts over jobs they might snag with their hallowed degree and alumni contacts.

Entering Saturday's home game with Princeton, the 6-foot-3, 240- pound tight end has 17 career catches and many more key blocks.

"The not-so-glamorous side," he says.

The Lions installed a one-back offense this season, and there was a chance the change would mean more catches for Pease. Instead, he has 1, mostly because of standout running back Johnathan Reese.

"Without question the best athlete I've ever seen," Pease says. "There's a reason the coaches switched to a one-back set."

The quote is far from simply the right thing to say. Pease is a co-captain, as voted last spring by his teammates. To him, that's more important than stats.

The Light Blue's player-to-captain ratio is 60:1, so Pease already has a lot of people working under him, a fact that only enhances his career opportunities.

"It's a different thing when you're trying to relate to so many people," he says. "It's a continuous challenge."

For Pease and the rest of the Ivy Leaguers who balance a sport with some of the world's most demanding academics, life is an ongoing demand.

"When you play athletics in college, you've got to be pretty heads-up," says Randy Pease, Jason's father. "In the Ivy League it's intensified to the max. It totally impresses me."

When pressed, Randy admits that "impressed" is a synonym for "proud." His son returns the feeling.

Randy is a truck driver, his wife, Sally, is a physical therapist. There are no scholarships in the Ivy League, only financial aid.

"They work a lot harder during the week than I do," Jason says. "I give them all the credit. Without question, without their support, there's no way I could be here."

Callous New Yorker? Hardly.

Pease says the highlight of his week is phone conversations with his parents, and the highlight of his career?

In his freshman year, Pease's only reception was for a 2-point conversion on a post-snowstorm day at Cornell, in upstate Ithaca, N.Y.

Cool, sure, but that's not why it's his favorite memory. St. Charles grad Chris Allen played for Cornell and pushed Pease out of the end zone.

Standing on that side of the end zone, with sideline passes supplied by former Cornell and NFL great Ed Marinaro, was Allen's father Mark, Pease's brother Josh, and Randy.

Imagine that.

Joe Bush can be reached at (630) 587-8641 or at
© Copyright Daily Herald, Paddock Publications, Inc.


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