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

Ivy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:

We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:

  • As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
  • When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
  • Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
  • We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
  • Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.

This is just the beginning.

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Ivy hoops community shows support for Seth Towns, racial justice

Seth Towns on the sideline for a Harvard men’s basketball game during his senior campaign, which he missed due to injury | Photo by Erica Denhoff

Just a day after graduating from Harvard, former Ivy Player of the Year Seth Towns was detained and subsequently released by police Friday in his hometown of Columbus after he protested nonviolently in response to the death of unarmed black people at the hands of police officers across America.

The protest in Columbus was one of many sparked by the video record of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis while three other officers stood nearby Monday.

Seth Towns addressed the incident on Twitter Saturday afternoon, noting that he was as proud of his nonviolent protest in downtown Columbus to cry out against the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician fatally shot in her home by police in March.

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Fallout continues over decision to cancel the Ivy League Tournament

Things have not calmed down after Tuesday afternoon’s bombshell announcement from the Ivy League and its eight presidents that this weekend’s Ivy League Tournaments were canceled, making the league the first conference to cancel tournament play.

The conference likes to refer to its tournament as Ivy Madness.  To paraphrase Harvard senior Seth Towns, the 2018 Player of the Year, it’s more like Ivy Mayhem.

Read moreFallout continues over decision to cancel the Ivy League Tournament

Penn men cruise over Columbia to take No. 4 seed in Ivy Madness as AJ Brodeur makes history

Penn senior forward AJ Brodeur set three program records in his final game at the Palestra as the Quakers easily dispatched Columbia, 85-65, on a historic night at the Palestra to earn the No. 4 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.

The Red & Blue (16-11, 8-6 Ivy) nabbed their fourth straight Ivy League Tournament berth, knocking Brown (also 8-6 in Ivy play) on the strength of a Brodeur triple-double: 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Penn split the season series with Brown but held the second tiebreaker, a better record against league top seed Yale.

Brodeur’s triple-double was the first in program history, a feat that followed two more records from the Northborough, Mass. native.

With the game well in hand in the second half, the focus became whether Brodeur would pass Ernie Beck ’53 to become the all-time leading scorer.

Read morePenn men cruise over Columbia to take No. 4 seed in Ivy Madness as AJ Brodeur makes history

How Penn arrived at another letdown against Princeton

Princeton shot just 2-for-11 from deep, got outscored by double-digits in second-chance and fastbreak points and didn’t score a field goal in the game’s final 6:37.

And yet the Tigers never trailed en route to a surprisingly easy 78-64 win over Penn at the Palestra Saturday night, their sixth win there against Penn in six seasons (including their 2017 Ivy League Tournament quarterfinal victory).

So what did Penn (7-5, 0-1 Ivy) do wrong against Princeton (5-8, 1-0) this time?

Read moreHow Penn arrived at another letdown against Princeton

Penn proves it’s not all about the three-point line in loss at No. 23 Villanova

Penn may have lost 80-69 to Villanova at Finneran Pavilion Wednesday night, but the final score doesn’t reflect the fairly even play between the Big 5 rivals, notwithstanding the strong finishes the Wildcats ended both halves on to clinch the win.

How reigning Big 5 champion Penn (5-4) hung with the Wildcats (6-2) is important.

Read morePenn proves it’s not all about the three-point line in loss at No. 23 Villanova

Penn can’t complete comeback versus No. 14 Arizona, but there are still positives to take away

Penn did a lot of things well against No. 14 Arizona in their Wooden Legacy semifinal matchup in Anaheim that lasted past 1:30 a.m. EST Saturday, but it still wasn’t quite enough.

That’s all right, though. Penn fans who stayed up to follow along got a lot of positives to take away anyway.

Read morePenn can’t complete comeback versus No. 14 Arizona, but there are still positives to take away

Thoughts on early Ivy men’s action

DINGLE’S DEBUT

Jordan Dingle’s 24 points in Penn’s 81-80 win at Alabama marked the highest scoring total by a rookie in his debut in school history.

Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable players on offense has allowed rookies to be major contributors in any given matchup, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of the offensive load Dingle carries going forward. But the fact that Dingle scored 16 points in the final 12:40, including the game-winning shot with six seconds left, is impressive. Freshmen often fade late, but in his first ever collegiate game, Dingle became dominant instead.

Read moreThoughts on early Ivy men’s action

Penn rolls Tide, 81-80

Or, would you prefer Quakers over Oats?

Penn traveled down to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday night, upsetting Alabama and ruining the debut of new Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats.

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