April Fools: Ivy League Tournament will return to Palestra, boast unprecedented star power

Not satisfied that it degraded a 14-0 league finish and an entire double round robin slate for a forgettable Ivy League conference tournament title game debut on ESPN2 and a dramatic spike in league officials’ ultra strength Rolaids tablet consumption during the Penn-Princeton semifinal, the Ivy League announced Friday it was doubling down on the Ivy League Tournament by ratcheting up the tournament weekend’s star power with an eye toward increasing the visibility of the league.

The tournament will be held Thurs.-Sun., Mar. 8-11, 2018 at the Palestra.

“We wanted to follow the idea of having a conference tournament for a celebration of the league and television exposure to its logical conclusion, which means just entertaining everybody for the weekend at all costs,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said.

Thurs., Mar. 8 will mark the inaugural Ivy slam dunk contest, featuring Miye OniJordan BrunerTrey Phills and Mike Smith.

Fri., Mar. 9 will mark a historic night for the league, as the league announced it has recruited famous alumnae entertainers from all eight Ivies to roast another Ancient Eight school.

“We picked all women so that maybe fans will consider sticking around for a women’s game or two the following day,” Harris said. “Anybody who attends the Friday night roasts will have a GPS ankle monitor placed on them to ensure they will attend the women’s matchups on Saturday and Sunday. If we see on the GPS that fans aren’t coming, we’re sending Courtney Banghart after them. It’s the only way we could think of to ensure better attendance at the women’s games, since this year showed that pairing the men and women tourneys together isn’t enough.”

The league spared no expense in setting up entertainment for those who agree to have a GPS ankle monitor installed, as Friday night will feature enough star power to light up the Palestra and certain rooms in DRL.

Roasting Penn, Princeton ’98 alumna Ellie Kemper will play a Penn grad from a doomsday cult where she had been held for 15 years who is traumatized when she discovers what has happened to Penn’s

“Glen Miller is the Little Brown Jug guy, right?   Something Brown, I can’t remember. Also, speaking of colors, I’m still dealing with the trauma of the bunker in ways that I don’t understand.  I’m afraid of middle-aged men who wear red socks, I attack anybody with a bronze tan, I just realized that crimson is a thing and when my friends suggest I go out to play with them anywhere other than my own backyard, my face turns blue.”

Roasting Princeton, Penn ’04 alumna Vanessa Bayer will play Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy:

“Our junior high coach taught us a 2-3 zone the other day. It worked really well in practice, and coach said that if we use it in the game, it might scare the other team.”

Bayer will also reprise her role as Laura Parsons:

“Donald Trump won nearly 11 million more votes in the 2016 Republican primary than Bill Bradley did in the 2000 Democratic primary, so take pride, Penn fans!”

Roasting Yale, Jane Lynch, Cornell M.F. A. ’84, will reprise her role as Sue Sylvester from Glee:

“Brandon Sherrod left you to sing with the Whiffenpoofs!  How pathetic are you?”

Roasting Harvard, Columbia ’06 alumna Kate McKinnon will play Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren:

“In 2010, Mr. Amaker, is it not true that Harvard declared an unintentional secondary violation in connection with conversations in the summer of 2007 between current assistant men’s basketball coach Kenny Blakeney and members of the Harvard coaching staff that occurred before Blakeney was employed by Harvard? And is it not also true that your program has made questionable ethical decisions including poorly timed cutting of recruits? And most importantly, weren’t you a guest speaker at a global alumni leadership summit last year with a senior adviser from Goldman Sachs?”

Roasting Columbia will be Yale ’85 alumna Jodie Foster, who will air portions of a documentary she has directed to be released next year titled The Silence of the Lions: 50 Years of Not Winning an Ivy League Championship:

“If Columbia wins the league championship next year, that’ll end the streak of non-title seasons at 49, and I’ll change my documentary to “The Silence of the Bulldogs” and focus on Yale’s total lack of message board participation.

Roasting Dartmouth will be Harvard ’97 alumna Rashida Jones:

“You remember how Ann Perkins was kind of easy to forget about on Parks & Recreation and how cumbersome it was fitting them into the plot of what’s going on? That’s Dartmouth for the past six decades.”

Roasting Cornell will be Dartmouth ‘01 alumna Mindy Kaling, who will simply show clips of Andy Bernard from The Office.

Roasting Brown will be Brown ’14 alumna Emma Watson, who will perform a magic trick as Hermione Granger to try to get Professor McGonagill back on the team again.  No, not that Professor McGonagall.

Prior to the semifinals, Saturday will feature a re-airing on the Palestra scoreboards of highlights from the first seasons of shows launched in fall 2017 on the Ivy League Digital Network to boost the league’s profile, including:

Undercover Voss, a show in which Conor Voss goes undercover to observe various jobs only to reveal to stunned bystanders at the end of every episode that he is Conor Voss, renowned Columbia ‘17 basketball center.

Lamebridge, a show in which Penn ‘65 alum Ed Rendell and Princeton Athletics dad Chris Christie  eat cheesesteaks and complain about Harvard.

Spieth vs. Spieth, a show in which Steven Spieth and his brother Jordan square off against each other in various sports, including cheerleading and parkour

AJ/DJ, a show in which AJ Brodeur plays his favorite Kanye West tracks and keeps Ivy hoops fans up to date on what the Kardashians are doing:

Oh, and then there are some games.

Chairback tickets will cost $750, while upper level baseline seats will cost just $600.

“We had to raise the price just a tad to accommodate the celebrities,” Harris said. “But we know there are plenty of fans of Ivy League basketball that went to Wharton.”

Harris noted that the league’s ticket price hike was also driven by having to direct half of the ticket revenue to Gabas Maldunas, without whom she acknowledged there would be no tourney in the first place.

“You’re welcome,” Maldunas told Harris.

When informed of the Ivy League’s promotional push for next year’s tourney, a senior-level ESPN executive predicted the semifinals would remain on ESPNU and the final on ESPN2 anyway.

“I hope they’re not doing all this just to get attention or anything,” the executive said. “Or money either, because I’m sure it’s won’t be enough to pay Conor Voss.”

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