The Ivy League announced Monday that all regular season men’s and women’s conference games will be played at the Palestra in 2019, in addition to the Ivy League Tournament in March.
“The Palestra is the league’s most storied venue, and we want the kind of electric atmosphere all season long that Ivy tournament games with Penn playing in them has given us,” an Ivy League official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the Ivy League hasn’t yet finalized details of a forthcoming press conference about the move at the Palestra likely to be conducted by Penn Athletic Director Grace Calhoun.
“This is a great win for the Ivy League,” Calhoun said. “It’s a real game-changer. Almost like when the Missouri Valley Conference got Loyola-Chicago, you might say.”
“All conference tournaments are gimmicks when you think about it,” the Ivy League official said. “Why not extend the gimmick the whole season long? We want an amped-up atmosphere at all games, not just a couple hundred people in Hanover wearing flannel or fans having to sit through technical difficulties up in Ithaca.”
The Ivy League and its athletic directors are looking forward to season-long continuity throughout its women’s and men’s basketball schedules and reclaiming the league’s reputation for doing things differently from the other Division I conferences, one cultivated by years of being the only league without a conference tournament, per league sources.
The league initially wanted a neutral site for all conference games and the league tournament, but shied away after a league analysis found that the equidistant point among all eight Ivy schools is a broom closet on the campus of Western Connecticut State University.