PRINCETON, N.J. - The Ivy League is set to add another milestone in its storied history, adding men's and women's basketball tournaments to its slate of conference championships beginning with the 2016-17 academic year.
The League's Council of Presidents approved four-team tournaments in men's and women's basketball, with a one-game reduction for each team in the regular season. The tournaments will determine the conference's automatic bids to the NCAA Division I Basketball Championships. The 2017 Ivy League Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments will both be held over the same two competition days, March 11 and 12, at The Palestra in Philadelphia.
"The presidents adopted the proposal to establish men's and women's basketball tournaments after thoughtful discussions and careful review of the thorough information provided by our athletics directors and head coaches. Ultimately, this decision was based on enhancing the overall experience for our basketball student-athletes, while also paying attention to time demands by shortening the regular season," said Peter Salovey, Yale president and chair, Council of Ivy League Presidents.
The format for each tournament will be two semifinal games on the first day (Saturday) with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed, followed by the championship game played the next day (Sunday). The tournaments' winners will receive the League's automatic bids to the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. The teams that finish with the best records from the 14-game, regular-season conference schedule will continue to be recognized as Ivy League champions.
"The structure of our basketball tournaments is consistent with our model of college athletics and the format allows us to preserve the significance of the regular season," said Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. "Most importantly, this creates a landmark event during March Madness for our basketball student-athletes to anticipate while they are in school and to cherish throughout their lives after graduation."
The 2018 tournaments will be played March 10 and 11. The location of the 2018 tournaments and the location and dates of the 2019 tournaments will be announced at a later date.
QUOTES FROM SELECTED INDIVIDUALS WHO WORKED ON DEVELOPING THE PROPOSAL
Harry Sheehy, Director of Athletics, Dartmouth
"I witnessed not only a great game at last year's men's basketball playoff, but also a perfect example of what the atmosphere for Ivy League tournaments will be. Combining our teams and their historic rivalries at one venue will make these tournaments a memorable experience for our alumni, fans and student-athletes."
Mitch Henderson, Men's Basketball Head Coach, Princeton
"This is a great opportunity to showcase our talented student-athletes when all eyes are on college basketball. These tournaments enhance the importance of every single game of our conference schedule as our teams compete for the opportunity to be a part of a championship experience."
Kathy Delaney-Smith, Women's Basketball Head Coach, Harvard
"These tournaments will be a great celebration of basketball. They provide us the opportunity to feature our League during a time of year when national attention is focused on basketball."