Ivy League May Be Looking To Become Competitive Again


It has been decades since the Ivy League fielded a powerhouse football team, choosing in the early 1980s to let the conference be relegated to Division 1-AA status when the NCAA split the big football programs apart from the smaller programs. But, even as football declined in status, you could always count on a lacrosse, wrestling, ice hockey or fencing team from an Ivy League school to succeed in post season play, unfortunately those glory days seem to be few and far between.

Ivy LeagueBut now there seems to be renewed interest in making the Ivy League (schools and there locations listed on the map) competitive again, not on the level of the PAC 10 or Big 12 conferences, but perhaps just enough to allow football teams to accept post season bids while maybe making it a bit easier for student athletes to gain acceptance at the eight conference schools.

This past Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the conference’s current executive director is retiring on June 30th and that his replacement, Robin Harris, who is an attorney and former NCAA official, will be conducting a listening tour of all eight schools when she assumes the directorship this July. Harris plans to visit each campus and speak with administrators to gauge their thinking when it comes to improving athletic competitiveness.

Academics And Athletics Don’t Mix

Ask most outsiders what they think of Ivy League sports and the chorus usually chimes, “academics and athletics don’t mix at Harvard, Princeton, Yale and five other conference schools.” This observation despite Cornell appearing in this years Division 1 Lacrosse championship match versus Syracuse (they lost, 10 to 9) or other decent showings in “lower tier” sports. But, with much of the attention in college sports on football as well as men’s and women’s basketball, then it certainly seems that this statement rings true.

Some school officials insist that athletics is still important at member schools but acknowledge that over the years its place on campus has waned. Nobody believes that the Ivy League football teams will compete again on the highest level where teams such as Yale once won national championships, but some alumni are urging that schools be allowed to participate in post season play if qualified. In addition, the Ivy League is the only conference without a post season basketball tournament and is just launching a post season lacrosse tournament for the first time next year.

Will Harris’ listening tour bring about much change? Probably not. Though it would be good to see Ivy League schools succeed in most sports, football and basketball appear to be out of reach with little interest on the part of administrators to ramp things up more than a slight notch.

Adv. — No matter if you’re attending an Ivy League, Big Ten, Big East, Mountain West or even a nonaffiliated school, you may need help finding financial aid this coming academic year. If so, please visit our private student loans site to find out if you qualify for a loan.


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Categories: Collegiate Sports