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Ivy League Votes Against Conference Hoops Tourney

New York Times

The athletic directors of the Ivy League have turned down a proposal by its coaches for a postseason conference tournament in men’s and women’s basketball, the league said Thursday.

“After careful consideration of these proposals, the athletics directors decided that our current method of determining the Ivy League champion and our automatic bid recipient to the N.C.A.A. championship is the best model moving forward,” Robin Harris, the Ivy League’s executive director, said in a statement.

The prospect of an Ivy League basketball tournament comes up every now and then, and Jonathan Tannenwald showed where the old guard of men’s coaches stood on the issue in 2008. The Harvard Crimson outlined the structure of the proposal last month, describing a two-round tournament for the top four finishers in the conference’s regular-season standings.

In an interview with The Daily Princetonian last month, Kyle Smith, the men’s basketball coach at Columbia, explained why coaches favored a conference tournament, citing the possibility of having multiple teams in the national tournament or perhaps improving the league’s seeding. There were other pros, of course: attracting new recruits, the possibility of the title game being televised and increasing participation for alumni. Among the negatives were the break with tradition and the possibility of the league’s best team being upset and missing the N.C.A.A. tournament altogether.

Some traditionalists voiced disgust with the proposal or at least supported the current system, which awards the N.C.A.A. automatic bid to the winner of a 14-game round-robin. Each team plays the other seven teams twice, home and away, mostly on Friday and Saturday nights, and some people have even come to refer to the Ivy League season as the 14-Game  Tournament.

Harvard won the men’s title last season, its first outright Ivy League title ever after sharing it with Princeton the season before, then lost to Vanderbilt in the N.C.A.A. tournament. Princeton won the women’s title for the third consecutive year, then lost to Kansas State.


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