Friday, October 08, 2004

A Quick History Lesson

Just for any newcomers out there, here is a quick history lesson on the Ivy League, Division I-AA, and why we are in the predicament we are in right now....

  • The Ivy League is comprised of eight schools: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale.
  • The "Ivy League", despite many stories or rumors about its origins and creation, is really an athletic conference, formally created in 1954 with the Ivy Group Agreement. Rather than being administered by the athletic directors of the respective schools, the Ivy League is governed by the Council of Ivy Group Presidents.
  • The Ivy Group Agreement of 1954 was an extension of a 1945 pact that only governed the eight schools' football programs.
  • Although the Ivy League programs competed on the Division I level for most of their histories, they decided to stop giving athletic scholarships in the name of more academic integrity. All Ivy programs still compete at the top level of their respective sport with the exception of football, which is at the I-AA level. (NOTE: The I-AA level was not created until 1978, and is only for football).
  • All (or virtually all) I-AA football programs give scholarships. Until recently, only the Patriot and Ivy Leagues did not give athletic scholarships, but Patriot member Holy Cross was instrumental in making changes in that policy, and now I'm pretty sure all Patriot schools give scholarships for football.
  • Many schools that you would think of as having big-time programs in other sports have I-AA football programs. It has to do with school size, facilities, and other factors. Some examples of I-AA schools include Georgetown, UMass, Delaware, Villanova, Lehigh, Colgate, Fordham, as well as all of the traditionally Black colleges and universities. (However, Florida A&M has petitioned to become the first traditionally Black school to play in I-A).
  • Some notable I-AA alums in the pros include: Jerry Rice, Steve McNair, Dexter Coakley, and Jay Fiedler.
  • Perhaps the most important factoid you need to know is this: The Ivy League competes in 33 NCAA sports at the Division I level....all programs participate in their sport's championship EXCEPT for football! Why? This makes NO SENSE!!! This will be explored soon.....

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