Penn all-time moment No. 7: Formation of the Philadelphia Big 5

The Big 5 is a Penn creation. It was conceived by Penn athletic director Jerry Ford and announced by University President Gaylord Harnwell at Houston Hall in 1954.  The Quaker sports staff then helped formulate the round robin format between Temple, St. Joes, Villanova, LaSalle and Penn.  Since that time Penn basketball really has had two seasons, the Ivy and the Big 5.  Of course the Ivy title provides the coveted entry to The Dance, but the Big 5 is often just as important. It is Philly bragging rights in a town that loves college basketball.  Most years, it was not at all unusual for four out of the five schools to make the NCAA Tournament; Such was the high level of play. Naturally the best intra-city hoops rivalry in the nation deserves a special place to perform and the Palestra is the perfect venue. No other arena in the country, despite their larger size and glitzy sterility, can possibly provide the intimacy for such historical competition.

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