It’s that time of year again. It’s time for some Ivy League football action and, for yet another year in a row, we’d like to report on the Ivy League football preseason rankings. And for those of you who are wondering why we write about Ivy League football, know that we write about all things Ivy League-related and it should be noted that the Ivy League was first formed as a football league. That’s right. A football league. Anyhow, Harvard, the defending Ivy League champion, enters the season as the preseason favorite to win it all again, securing 130 points (and 11 first place votes) in the 2015 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll. Dartmouth College, a university that has historically had the Ivy League’s strongest football team, found itself in unfamiliar territory of late, landing second in the preseason poll, buoyed by their resurgence last year and fight for the Ivy League crown that lasted through the final week of action. Upstart Dartmouth secured 116 points in the preseason poll, along with four first place votes. Well deserved indeed.
Finishing third in this year’s preseason poll is Yale University, with 98 points and one first place vote. Princeton University finished in fourth place with 82 points but no first place votes. Brown University finished in fifth with 80 points and one first place vote. The University of Pennsylvania, which has been a football powerhouse for much of the twenty first century but has fallen off a bit of late, finished in sixth place, with 51 points and no first place votes. Columbia University, which will be led by first-year Lions coach Al Bagnoli (the coach who led Penn through all of those successes) finished seventh in the preseason poll, with 29 points and no first place votes. Cornell University finished in last, with 26 points and no first place votes.
We’re excited to see what’s in store for this Ivy League football season. Will Dartmouth College reclaim the Ivy League crown, something that has eluded the College on the Hill for many years? Will Al Bagnoli lead a resurgence for Columbia, a university that claimed the Rose Bowl title in 1934 under the masterful play of our dear friend, and an inspiration for the formation of Ivy Coach over a quarter century ago, Cliff Montgomery? Will Harvard win it all again? We’re pumped to see it all play out on the gridiron.
Former Dartmouth College All-American and two-time Women’s World Cup gold medalist Devon Wills has broken a significant barrier in sport. Today, Wills became the first woman to ever sign with a Major League Lacrosse team when the New York Lizards (formerly the Long Island Lizards) signed her to a contract. According to an article on Devon Wills on “Dartmouth Sports,” “Fresh off leading the US to its second straight FIL World Cup this summer in Oshawa, Ontario, Wills will now have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot this April when the Lizards’ training camp begins. A three-time All-American and Ivy League First Team player, Wills has a wealth of big-game experience, including leading the Big Green to the Final Four in 2005 and 2006 as well as winning gold at the World Cup in 2009 and 2013. In her first World Cup, Wills was named the Player of the Match in the championship game, helping the US beat Australia while making eight saves along the way.”
As you may note, the Lizards have broken barriers before when they signed our friend the first openly gay professional team sport athlete (who was originally drafted by the Boston Cannons). He never played in a game for the Cannons, but he did suit up and play for the Lizards. This player, Andrew Goldstein, was also an All-American goalie out of Dartmouth College and he happened to play at the same time as Wills. We salute the Lizards for breaking barriers not once but twice with not one but two Dartmouth lacrosse goalies. What chutzpah! And Ivy Coach is the first to report this connection, even beating “Outsports” and “Towleroad” to press.
Want an Ivy League athletic recruiting tip? Do your research. What do we mean? Well, let’s say that you’re a rising high school senior who hopes to swim in college. Specifically, you’d like to attend Princeton. You’re a backstroker who goes a 1:02 in the 100 back and a 2:12 for the 200 back. Alright, so we’ve got some data points. Let’s start researching!
At Princeton University, the all-time varsity record in the 100 backstroke is held by Lisa Boyce. She swam the event in 54.10 (quite a bit faster than 1:02). But just because the record-holder has a faster time than you doesn’t mean in itself that the Princeton coach wouldn’t be interested. That would be quite foolish. But we’re just trying to give you some benchmarks to better understand where you fit in. With a time of 56.52, Karen Wang has the tenth fastest time in Princeton’s history. It’s still a far cry from 1:02, but at least we’re getting closer. In the 200 back, the all-time record is held by Meredith Monroe with a time of 1:55.58. Ming Ong went the tenth fastest time in Princeton’s history with a time of 2:03.02. So you’re nine seconds slower in the 200 than the tenth fastest swimmer in Princeton’s history.
Alright, but that’s just the fastest times in Princeton women’s swimming history. For the really great information, it’s important to check out the schedule / results. Under the results, you can see how your times compare to other Princeton swimmers in actual meets. You should literally be going through the heat sheets! We dove through a few meet results and after reviewing seed times and results of Princeton women’s swimmers, a 1:02 isn’t that far off the pace. But it’s not good enough to warrant getting recruited.
In a few meets, Princeton’s slowest 100 backstroker went a 1:01. In the 200 back in the few heat sheets we scanned through, Princeton’s slowest female swam a 2:10…so you’re definitely not that far off the pace. Again, not good enough to get recruited but, if you improve your times a little, you might be able to hold your own on the team.
Was this helpful as you begin to think about the Ivy League athletic recruiting process? Let us know your thoughts and ask your questions about Ivy League athletics here!
As the Supreme Court takes up affirmative action based on race once again, we wonder if the Supreme Court will ever take up Affirmative Action based on athletic ability. Recruited athletes, after all, have better odds in the college admissions process than minority applicants who don’t happen to be recruited athletes. Basketball and football players in particular gain admission to highly selective schools in spite of subpar grades and SAT scores. The standards are truly lowered for athletes. It might be trite to say but it’s trite because it’s true.
At Ivy League colleges, the eight member institutions use what is called the Academic Index system. Each of the eight Ivy League schools computes an average Academic Index for the student body. While each applicant to an Ivy League school has an Academic Index, the system was designed to measure recruited athletes against the rest of the incoming class. Recruited athletes must meet a minimum Academic Index to compete in the Ivy League (though indeed there have been exceptions to this rule in the past). And let’s just say that the Academic Index of a typical recruited basketball player isn’t exactly on par with the Academic Index of a first-chair violinist.
If you’re a top running back who is drawing the attention of a ton of Division I scouts and you’ve got respectable SAT scores and grades, you’ve got a much better shot at admission to an Ivy League school that a violinist with perfect or near-perfect SATs and high school grades. It is how it is, unfair as it may be. Do you think the Supreme Court of the United States should take up the issue of affirmative action for athletes? Do you think athletes should have just as good of a chance of admission as other applicants? This would inevitably hurt the quality of the teams universities could field. Your football team may not be as competitive. Does this change your opinion? Let us know your thoughts on athletes and college admission by posting below!
Harvard superstar Jeremy Lin’s story is just getting started. If you thought his numbers were going to drop when Amar’e Stoudemire returned to the lineup for the Knicks, you’d be mistaken. With Amar’e back last night against the Toronto Raptors, Jeremy Lin delivered perhaps his best performance yet. While torching Kobe’s Lakers for 38 points was impressive, last night, Jeremy Lin hit the game-winning three-point bucket to seal the Knicks’ sixth straight win — on the Raptors’ home court no less. It was a come-from-behind thriller orchestrated by the Harvard superstar.
For all the doubters who feel the sample size is too small to proclaim Lin a phenom just yet, Jeremy Lin continues to dazzle. He dished out a career high 11 assists last night to go along with 27 points on 9 for 20 shooting. He has become a floor general for the Knicks, the likes of which they’ve been needing for years — since the 80’s on Mark Jackson’s first stint in New York. Not Chris Childs, not Charlie Ward, surely not Stephon Marbury, not Nate Robinson, not Chauncey Billups…none of them proved to be the answer to the Knicks’ decades-long search for a quality point guard. But Harvard superstar Jeremy Lin seems to be that answer.
Do you think that there are other players who could become professional sensations overlooked in the Ivy League? Do you think pro scouts will now pay more attention to the Ancient Eight since Jeremy Lin has become such a global sensation? Do you think that Jeremy Lin is the exception to the rule or are there others like him in Cambridge, Hanover, New Haven, Ithaca, etc.? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting below. At Ivy Coach, as you can see, we’ve got the Linsanity bug like the rest of the world!
This year’s NFL Playoffs has not been without Ivy Leaguers on numerous teams. Indeed, Super Bowl XLVI will feature an Ivy League grad (or grads) on both the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. For the Giants, Cornell’s Kevin Boothe as well as Brown’s Zak DeOssie mark their return to the Super Bowl. Once again, they’ll be facing the Pats, whom they upset a few years back in what would have been an undefeated season for New England.
According to the “Ivy League Sports” website, “A sixth-year NFL veteran, Boothe played in all 19 games this season, starting in nine during the regular season and all three in the postseason. DeOssie, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has been a special teams mainstay for New York at long snapper. He successfully executed the snap on the game-winning field goal in overtime to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.”
And who else in these playoffs once competed in the Ancient Eight? Harvard grad Matt Birk is now in his 14th NFL season, competing for the Baltimore Ravens. Alright, so we’re nearing the end of this post and we haven’t yet specified who will be representing the Ivy League on the New England Patriots come Super Bowl Sunday. The answer would be Robert Kraft, the owner of the Pats, who is a Columbia University graduate as well as an alumnus of Harvard Business School. So not exactly a player but owners count, too!
Check out this post on the Ivy League and NFL.
What makes athletes from the Ivy League different from athletes from, say, the ACC, Big East, or SCC? Well, for one, Ivy League athletes don’t earn scholarships. They also have to meet certain admissions criteria (see our post on the Ivy League Academic Index) and they tend to be student-athletes more so than athletes who happen to also go to school. One great example of such an athlete is Andrew Goldstein, a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played goalie on the lacrosse team and earned two honorable mention All-American nods.
Andrew Goldstein is regarded as the first male professional team sport athlete in North America to be openly gay during his playing career. Goldstein played for two seasons of Major League Lacrosse – first with the Boston Cannons and then with the Long Island Lizards. Goldstein was openly gay at Dartmouth as this SportsCenter piece points out, a piece we at Ivy Coach happened to have a whole lot to do with.
Since leaving lacrosse, Goldstein has become an outspoken advocate of not saying “gay” in a derogatory way in locker rooms. He’s also become a biology professor at UCLA and made a notable publication in the prestigious “Science” magazine by leading a team of researchers that found the possible cell of origin for prostate cancer. Wow.
Now that is an Ivy League athlete for you! Want to read more? Check out this piece on ESPN about the Ivy League athlete or this one on the historic nature of Goldstein’s example as an openly gay athlete.
Yale athletic recruiting isn’t like athletic recruiting at other Ivy League colleges. Why not? Well, it can all be traced to the actions of Yale’s president, Richard Levin. If you’re familiar with “Moneyball,” one could well argue that Richard Levin is in some ways the Billy Beane of Ivy League sports. The Oakland A’s are a small market team with a payroll that simply doesn’t compare to teams like the Yankees. And yet for many years, Beane’s teams found a way to compete by going after players that other teams undervalued. He found a way to transform a subjective scouting system into an objective system built on the foundation of data-driven analytics. Richard Levin hasn’t gone this far but he has certainly put his stamp on Yale athletics.
When Yale’s athletic director, Tom Beckett, took office in 1994, Levin charged him with trimming athletic rosters across the board. He simply didn’t want so many admissions slots reserved for recruited athletes. Said Levin in 2010 to the “Yale Alumni Magazine,” “I have wanted to maintain a strong athletic program, and I believe we have demonstrated this can be accomplished without admitting quite so many athletes. We now admit significantly fewer recruited athletes than the Ivy League allows.”
Go to a swim meet, a volleyball match, a field hockey game at Yale and you’ll notice the disparity. There aren’t as many Yale athletes on the teams. Sometimes, you’ll see ten Yale athletes on one team and 20 Princeton athletes on another. The disparity is a big one! And yet Yale’s athletic teams are generally still all competitive. Many of the teams are in fact Ivy League champions. So the university is able to admit more students with grades and SAT scores to make the school one of the most academically competitive colleges – if not the most competitive college – in the country and at the same time field competitive athletic teams with fewer recruited athletes whose academic numbers are, overall, generally lower.
A preseason poll forecasting the seasons of Ivy League football teams has come out this week and the University of Pennsylvania has been projected to win the Ivy League, collecting 12 of 17 first-place votes. Following Penn is Harvard and then Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, Princeton, and Cornell, respectively. Penn has won the last two Ivy League titles so it is no surprise that they’ve been projected to earn another championship. They also boast a 15-game winning streak in Ivy League play, a streak spanning over two football seasons.
And now for some Ivy League football trivia to get you ready for the upcoming season! Post your answers below!
– Which Ivy League college boats the most Ivy League football championships?
– In one of the greatest upsets of the 20th century, this Ivy League college won the 1934 Rose Bowl over Stanford University thanks to a trick play known as KF-79 by QB and eventual MVP Cliff Montgomery.
– The starting QB for the Buffalo Bills attended this Ivy League college.
– Jay Fiedler starred at QB for this Ivy League university.
In a previous post, we told you about how Brown University administrators decided to eliminate its men’s and women’s fencing, men’s wrestling, and women’s ski teams beginning this 2011-2012 academic year. We told you about how the university has a difficult time attracting recruits from middle-class backgrounds, in part because Brown’s endowment is the smallest in the Ivy League. And we told you how back in 2002 when Dartmouth College decided to eliminate its men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, students, alumni, and parents fought back. Their fight ended up being successful, endowing the Dartmouth College teams for at least another ten years. It seems Brown University students, alumni, and parents are fighting back as well!
According to the “Brown Daily Herald,” “The men’s and women’s fencing teams, men’s wrestling team and women’s ski team will be allowed to compete through next academic year, wrote President Ruth Simmons in an email to the Brown community Friday afternoon. Simmons’ recommendations to the Corporation about potential cuts of varsity teams will be postponed until the fall.” Simmons also added that Brown still needs to come up with a way to improve financial aid, raise athletic coaching salaries, and reserve fewer spots in its incoming class for recruited athletes.
And so the eliminated Brown University teams have received a temporary reprieve. They’ll be allowed to compete next year. But until a final verdict is rendered, these teams need to keep up the fight. It seems to be working!
Check out the “Brown Daily Herald” article on the Brown teams.