Ivy League announces addition of men’s and women’s conference tournaments

The Ivy League announced Thursday it will add men’s and women’s basketball tournaments beginning with the 2016-17 season. It’s a historic move since the Ivy League was the last of the 32 Division I conferences that did not hold a conference tournament to determine its automatic NCAA Tournament representative.

The League’s Council of Presidents approved four-team tournaments in men’s and women’s basketball, with a one-game reduction for each team in the regular season. The tournaments will determine the conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Division I Basketball Championships. Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be held at the Palestra on March 11 and 12, 2017.

Each tournament will consist of two semifinal games on the first day (Saturday) with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed, followed by the championship game played the next day (Sunday). The release notes that “teams that finish with the best records from the 14-game, regular-season conference schedule will continue to be recognized as Ivy League champions,” but now that honor comes without a guaranteed NCAA Tournament bid.

The location of the 2018 tournaments and the location and dates of the 2019 tournaments will be announced at a later date.

The league’s release included quotes from those who worked on the conference tournament proposal:

“The presidents adopted the proposal to establish men’s and women’s basketball tournaments after thoughtful discussions and careful review of the thorough information provided by our athletics directors and head coaches. Ultimately, this decision was based on enhancing the overall experience for our basketball student-athletes, while also paying attention to time demands by shortening the regular season.” – Peter Salovey, Yale President and Chair, Council of Ivy League Presidents

“The structure of our basketball tournaments is consistent with our model of college athletics and the format allows us to preserve the significance of the regular season.” – Robin Harris, Ivy League executive director

“I witnessed not only a great game at last year’s men’s basketball playoff, but also a perfect example of what the atmosphere for Ivy League tournaments will be. Combining our teams and their historic rivalries at one venue will make these tournaments a memorable experience for our alumni, fans and student-athletes.” – Harry Sheehy, Dartmouth athletic director

“This is a great opportunity to showcase our talented student-athletes when all eyes are on college basketball. These tournaments enhance the importance of every single game of our conference schedule as our teams compete for the opportunity to be a part of a championship experience.” – Mitch Henderson, Princeton men’s head coach

“These tournaments will be a great celebration of basketball. They provide us the opportunity to feature our League during a time of year when national attention is focused on basketball.” – Kathy Delaney-Smith, Harvard women’s head coach

8 thoughts on “Ivy League announces addition of men’s and women’s conference tournaments

  1. I defer to the judgment of those who make the policy. If Mitch wants it that’s good enough for me.. I must admit, however, that the announcement, while hardly a surprise, got my fan juices boiling. Looking forward to a great time next year at The Palestra and am hoping the Quakers make the field with us!!! How about an IHO reception?

  2. I would be very nervous about next year if I was a Princeton fan. They have the most to lose, despite Mike James’s confidence in potential #2BidIvy situations. Penn, Makai Mason & Yale, and Evan Boudreax & Dartmouth would seem to be the teams that will battle it out for 3rd and 4th next year and have the most to gain. Columbia is going to take a hard fall, and despite its talent, Cornell won’t be going anywhere if the tragic loss of their President precludes any coaching change.

  3. I would not write off the Lions so quickly. C.J. Davis, Kendall Jackson, Nate Hickman, Kyle Castlin, Jeff Coby , Lukas Meisner and Luke Petrasek all are experienced players who know how to play in the Ivy League. Between the improvement that Columbia players show year to year under Kyle Smith and any highly rated freshmen, its conceivable that Columbia could win 6-10 games which even at the lower end might qualify for a foruth place finish and the tournament.

  4. Just curious: What would occur if there is a tie for fourth place?

    A play-in game?

    Tiebreaker based on head-to-head, which could easily be a tie itself?

    Tiebreaker based on overall season record (including non-conference games)?

    As a Penn alum, I’m happy that the tourney will be (at least initially) at the Palestra; however, I wonder if that location is the fairest to the other seven teams?

    • Good question. I asked Scottie Rodgers, associate executive director of communications for the Ivy League office, and he said a fourth-place tiebreaker has not been determined yet but will be before the start of next season.

Leave a Comment