Report: Harvard men’s basketball poised not to play in ’20-’21, at least one other team considering the same

A quiet Saturday on the college basketball front was upended just after three o’clock with Adam Zagoria’s tweet:

 

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Read moreReport: Harvard men’s basketball poised not to play in ’20-’21, at least one other team considering the same

NCAA allows return of basketball in November, Ivy League will wait to decide

With most regular seasons and championships for fall sports postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college athletes and fans have been anxiously awaiting word on the winter sports schedule. They received good news on September 16, when the NCAA Division I Council, chaired by Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, announced that the men’s and women’s basketball seasons could begin on November 25.

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said to ESPN. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”

While basketball enthusiasts around the nation rejoiced with the news that meaningful games would soon be returning to the hardwood, fans of the Ancient Eight were left wondering if the league would move from its July 8 decision that teams could not participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.

The short answer is no.

“There are no changes at this time,” responded Ivy League associate executive director, strategic communications & external relations Matt Panto to a request from Ivy Hoops Online. “The decision we have made is it (hold on competition) goes through the (end of the) fall term.”

Read moreNCAA allows return of basketball in November, Ivy League will wait to decide

Could an Ivy hoops bubble be considered for ’20-’21?

With a growing number of colleges cancelling in-person plans as well as fall sports in response to COVID-19, questions will soon shift to the status of winter sports. Since experts believe there will be a significant increase in cases and deaths as flu season arrives and activities moving indoors amid colder weather, it is difficult to image a return to a normal world, much less a normal sports world, by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.

If there is no large-scale vaccine available or significant improvement in testing as previewed by Yale’s SalivaDirect COVID-19 test, winter teams, including men’s and women’s basketball, will not be permitted to play their traditional 4 1/2 month schedules (or 2 1/2 months in the Ivy League’s case).

Could something shorter and less traditional be done to allow college hoops to be played this winter?

Read moreCould an Ivy hoops bubble be considered for ’20-’21?

Penn AD Grace Calhoun has been busy, but to-do list from Jerome Allen infractions remains

Penn Director of Athletics M. Grace Calhoun has had an incredibly busy and productive spring, but it appears that Penn Athletics hasn’t completed at least two of the required penalties from the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ February report under her leadership.

Calhoun, who has been in charge at Weightman Hall since the summer of 2014, oversees a staff of 165 employees, 33 varsity athletics programs, and nearly 40 club sports, as well as broad-based intramural and recreational offerings for students, faculty and staff.

To add to her full-time job and parenting of four homebound children during the coronavirus pandemic, Calhoun is the chair of the Ivy League’s committee on administration, the chair of the NCAA Division I council, a voting member of the NCAA board of directors and a non-voting member of the NCAA board of governors.

Read morePenn AD Grace Calhoun has been busy, but to-do list from Jerome Allen infractions remains

Theresa Grace Mbanefo fights for racial equality at Cornell

Theresa Grace Mbanefo is a rising Cornell women’s basketball junior. (Cornell Athletics)

As the country continues to grapple with a deadly pandemic and a growing protest movement against police brutality and centuries-old racial inequalities, Cornell women’s basketball rising junior Theresa Grace Mbanefo and her organization, Women of Color Cornell Athletics (WOCCA) are looking to make structural changes on the East Hill of Ithaca.

On June 1, WOCCA initiated the “Hear Us Now” photo campaign to “demand informed allyship from the Cornell athletic community and beyond.”

The posts of the various female and male student-athletes of color show each holding up a sign describing times when they heard the crowds cheering for them.  The last shows all of the athletes holding posters with “But do you see us? #BLM”.

Read moreTheresa Grace Mbanefo fights for racial equality at Cornell

Katie Benzan changes course, decides to play at Maryland for 2020-21

Harvard’s Katie Benzan shifted from the burnt orange of Texas to the black and gold of Maryland as the Terrapins announced her arrival for the 2020-21 season.

The three-time first team All-Ivy guard surprised Ivy hoops fans in late August when she decided to forgo her senior season at Harvard.  Two months later, she chose to play for coach Karen Aston at the University of Texas as a graduate transfer.

After the season, Aston’s contract was not renewed and the Longhorns hired Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer on April 5.

Shortly after that, Benzan decided to change course and look elsewhere.

Ivy Hoops Online spoke to Benzan from her home in Wellesley, Mass., where she is taking classes to finish her undergraduate degree in psychology.

Read moreKatie Benzan changes course, decides to play at Maryland for 2020-21

Bella Alarie goes to Dallas with the fifth pick in the WNBA Draft

Bella Alarie is a Dallas Wing now. (WNBA)

Princeton’s Bella Alarie didn’t have to wait long to hear her name, as she was called with the fifth overall pick by the Dallas Wings in Friday night’s WNBA Draft.

“It’s been my lifelong dream to play in the WNBA, so it was a really special moment,” Alarie told WNBA media. “I’m glad I got to share it with my family.”

Earlier in the week, Dallas President, CEO and General Manager Greg Bibb discussed his interest in Alarie with Ivy Hoops Online and sealed the deal with the team’s second pick of the first round.

Bella becomes the second member of the family chosen in the first round, following her father, Mark, who went to the Denver Nuggets with the 18th pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.  She also joins former teammate Leslie Robinson as the only other Tiger to be drafted in the WNBA and equals the highest spot ever by an Ivy League hoopster with Harvard’s Allison Feaster (1998; Los Angeles Sparks).

Read moreBella Alarie goes to Dallas with the fifth pick in the WNBA Draft

Pre-WNBA Draft buzz for Princeton’s Bella Alarie

Three-time Ivy Player of the Year Bella Alarie has long demonstrated that she’s a WNBA-caliber talent, and league evaluators are taking stock of her potential for success there. (Princeton Athletics)

With the nation continuing its fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the sports world on hiatus, the WNBA will provide some actual live entertainment on Friday night as the league’s draft will be televised at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN. Ivy hoops fans will have an additional bit of interest waiting to hear Bella Alarie’s name.

Alarie, a three-time Ivy League Player of the Year, four-time first team All-Ivy, two-time AP Honorable Mention All-America and all-time Princeton leader in both points and blocks, looks to be the third Ancient Eight athlete picked in Draft history and the first chosen in the opening round since Harvard’s Allison Feaster went No. 5 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks in 1998.

Read morePre-WNBA Draft buzz for Princeton’s Bella Alarie

Brown chooses Monique LeBlanc as its new women’s head coach

Monique LeBlanc takes over the helm of the Bown women’s basketball program after a nine-year tenure at Merrimack. (Brown Athletics)

On Friday afternoon, Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes announced the hiring of Monique LeBlanc as the Bears’ new women’s basketball coach, the fifth in program history.

LeBlanc, a native of Cumberland, R.I., will arrive in Providence after a nine-year tenure at Merrimack College.  This past season, when the Warriors made the jump from Division II to Division I, LeBlanc had her best season with a 20-10 record and a 13-5 third-place finish in the Northeast Conference.

Read moreBrown chooses Monique LeBlanc as its new women’s head coach

Ivy League’s lead followed as NBA suspends season due to coronavirus outbreak

A little more than 24 hours after their controversial decision to cancel the league’s postseason tournament was chastised by players, media, Ancient Eight enthusiasts and general sports fans, the Ivy League appears to have been ahead of the curve, as the NBA abruptly canceled the remainder of the season on Wednesday night.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Ivy League canceled the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments three days before they were to begin.

Read moreIvy League’s lead followed as NBA suspends season due to coronavirus outbreak