Ivy Madness reporter’s notebook: Days 1 & 2

Ivy Madness became Ivy Gladness for Princeton women’s basketball after its 72-67 Ivy League Tournament semifinal win over Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

“As we battle in the WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association), they’re always talking about “create this environment.”  Any time I talk equity with anyone, they always say there’s more pressure on a man because the gyms are full, and the bands are playing.  The opposite is true.  It’s much easier to play in a (packed) venue like this.  It’s very, very hard for women all over the country and play in empty gyms without bands, fighting their schools for support to get the bands there and to get the cheerleaders there.  There’s been huge growth at Harvard, but there’s such a long way to go.  It’s really wonderful for the athletes to play in this kind of venue and it’s fun to watch as well.” – soon-to-be retiring Harvard women’s coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, talking about the boisterous atmosphere during her team’s 72-67 loss to No. 1 seed Princeton

Some random thoughts after two great days at the 2022 Ivy League Tournament:

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Decision time for the Ivy League: What the NCAA v. Alston Supreme Court decision means for the Ivy League’s policy of not providing athletic scholarships

Editor’s note: The authors of this article submitted this article to the Ivy League’s eight presidents Monday to share their views and recommendations, eight days after it was published here:

In June 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously decided in NCAA v. Alston that the antitrust laws prohibit the NCAA from limiting in any way its Division I schools from offering “education-related compensation or benefits” to student-athletes (men and women) who play basketball and football.

This means, for example, that the NCAA is barred from preventing any college from giving full tuition, room and board or other education-related benefits — such as tuition for graduate or professional school, textbooks, or internships while in school — to these college athletes. The Supreme Court agreed with the federal district trial court that the NCAA could set standards or definitions of what types of expenditures are “education-related,” including those items just noted. In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court recognized that the antitrust laws exist to ensure and protect competition and to prevent practices that interfere with a student athlete’s right to have schools compete for their services.

As the Supreme Court described the effect of the district court’s finding, “competition among schools would increase in terms of the compensation they would offer to recruits, and student-athlete compensation would be higher as a result … Student-athletes would receive offers that would more closely match the value of their athletic services.”

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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.

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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.

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Report: League officials makes changes to the Ivy Tournament

As the college basketball world gets ready to tip off on Tuesday night, the Ivy League has its eyes on its end-of-year tournament.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald reported late Monday morning that the conference has decided to move each of the women’s events up one day making Ivy Madness a four-day event.

Prior to the 2018 Ivy Tournament, the Harvard Magazine’s David Tannenwald wrote “A Gendered Schedule”, a piece that described the frustration that a number of Ivy women’s basketball coaches had with the schedule from the inaugural tournament in 2017.  That year, the women’s semifinals were played in the late morning and evening, book-ending the men’s semifinals. Despite the conference’s best intentions, the coaches and their teams felt like second-class citizens in an event that was supposed to reflect equality.

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How to fix Ivy Madness

While Harvard and Yale were fighting for their March Madness lives in New Haven several months ago, I was flying (first class, of course) towards Asia in a hurtling, subsonic piece of aluminum. As we chased the sun eastward, I indolently pulled up my window shade and looked out upon the vast, barren, frigidness that is the Arctic Ocean. Then, through the miracle of Wi-Fi (you know, that powerful, invisible force that allows our planet to torment one another through magic), I proceeded to watch the Bulldogs dismantle their arch rivals before a, well, ”mostly filled” John J. Lee Amphitheater. Regardless of how the crowd appeared on site, I can assure you it did not “show well” at 33,000 feet on a 15-inch screen. In fact, the view from my window of Arctic Ocean seemed to be an appropriate metaphor for the vast sea of empty seats above the hardwood. (I exaggerate, naturally, but not too much.)

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Ivy hoops roundup – July 25, 2019

  • The Dartmouth men have completed its staff for the 2019-2020 season with the hiring of Steve Ongley as an assistant coach.  Ongley spent last year on Jim Engles’ staff at Columbia, where he worked with the front court players.  Prior to that, he was an assistant for four years at Colby College, the alma mater of Big Green head coach Dave McLaughlin.
    Ongley replaces John Andrzejek, a Columbia graduate and one-time Lions student manager who joined former boss Kyle Smith’s staff at Washington State.  There has been no announcement from Columbia for its replacement of Ongley.
  • Princeton women’s coach Carla Berube finished the hiring of her new staff, with the announcement of Helen Tau as director of basketball operations.  Tau, a 2014 graduate of the University of Texas who was a walk-on in her senior year, spent 2014-2016 as a graduate assistant for the Longhorns and then worked for Georgetown as director of video operations the last two seasons.
    Tau replaces Jessica Imhof, who went to the University of North Carolina to join former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart.

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Ivy hoops roundup – May 13, 2019

Former Penn and Temple coach Fran Dunphy was honored for the impact he made throughout his coaching career during a ceremony at City Hall in Philadelphia Monday, four days after he received an honorary degree as Temple University graduated its 132nd class last week.

Mickey Crowley, long-time NCAA basketball referee and former Ivy League Coordinator of Officials for men’s basketball, died on May 5 at the age of 85.  Crowley played for the All-Army baseball team from 1954-1957 and the Yankees minor league system in the early 1960s before turning his attention to basketball.  He was the assistant executive director of officiating for high school athletics for more than 20 years in Nassau County (Long Island) before becoming an NCAA referee.  He officiated in 21 straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 1989 and 1991 championships.  Crowley eventually became the head of officiating for the Ivy, Patriot and A-10 Leagues, retiring from the Ancient Eight in 2009.

“Mickey was a well-respected fixture in college basketball officiating thanks to his engaging personality, devotion to the integrity of the game and knowledge of the rules,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “The Ivy League is deeply saddened to hear of his passing and we extends our sympathies to his wife Pat and entire family.”

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April Fool’s Day: Ivy League Tournament to require the Common App

The Ivy League Tournament had a difficult time selling out the 8,722-seat Palestra in its first two years, so a move to the 2,800-seat John J. Lee Amphitheater seemed to ensure an overflow crowd for 2019.  Unfortunately, the arena was not filled to capacity for its recent edition, and many seats were left empty during the opening Harvard-Penn semifinal.

To ensure sellouts as the tournament goes forward, the Ivy League has looked to its embattled undergraduate admissions departments to help solve the problem.

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