By Ken Reed

The Ivy League isn’t perfect. They’ve had some scandals of their own.

But life in college athletics is all relative. And the Ivy League still gives more respect to the “student” part of student-athlete than any other Division I conference.

The Washington Post’s Fred Bowen pointed out recently that the Ivy League college basketball season is scheduled on Friday and Saturday nights so the athletes won’t need to miss school — or very little. No games on a school night. That seems like a rational policy for an institution of higher education.

Also, the Ivy League is still geographically aligned in the Northeast. The schools are close together, meaning less time wasted traveling and more time for studying.

The Big East has a team in Omaha, Nebraska (Creighton) and the Big 12 a team in Morgantown, West Virginia (West Virginia University)! The Big Ten now includes teams from New Jersey and Maryland. The story is similar in all the major conferences. Thus, athlete-students are forced to miss more class time to get to these conference outposts.

Moreover, the power five conferences play every day of the week, school be damned! If the Mothership, ESPN, says you’ll be playing on Wednesday night at 10pm then so be it, that’s when these “student-athletes” will play!

As Bowen points out, Georgetown scheduled a December game against Kansas during the middle of Georgetown’s final exams!

The Ivy League still has fair competition as well: eight teams each play the other schools home and away. The Big Ten and Atlantic-10 have 14 teams, the ACC 15. Therefore, there is no home and away schedule for every conference team, resulting in some schools having easier schedules than others. Not a great way to determine a conference champion.

The Ivy League is the only Division I conference that operates more like Division III conferences than the power five conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC and Pac-12).

And that’s a very good thing for athletes at those schools who would still like to be students.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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