Ivy League basketball coaches are proposing a two-round tournament involving the four highest regular-season finishers to fill the conference’s automatic bids in the national men’s and women’s championships, a league spokesman said.
Under the proposal, the league would reduce non-conference schedules by one game to make room for the postseason. The 14-game league schedules, with every school playing conference opponents twice, would be unchanged, according to Scottie Rodgers, the spokesman.
The Ivy League is the only conference in the top level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association that doesn’t have postseason basketball tournaments.
Harvard University won the Ivy men’s title last season and was eliminated in the round of 64 by Vanderbilt University in the Crimson’s first NCAA appearance since 1946. Princeton University won its third consecutive Ivy women’s title and lost in the opening round to Kansas State.
The proposal, which will be presented to the league’s athletic directors May 8, comes three years after presidents of the eight member schools approved a similar postseason tournament for men’s and women’s lacrosse.
Approval for the lacrosse tournament took about two years from start to finish, Rodgers said in a telephone interview.
If the athletic directors approve the proposal, it will be sent to an Ivy League Policy Committee on May 30. If it passes the committee of vice presidents and administrators, it would then go the presidents for their approval on June 12.
Rodgers refused to speculate on the chances of the plan being adopted.
“Any proposal that a coaches group puts together to forward to the athletic directors is to be taken seriously,” he said.
Ivy coaches have suggested a postseason tournament before, the spokesman said. What makes this time different is that the lacrosse tournament proposal was adopted.
The Ivy League sponsors 33 varsity sports, with lacrosse, baseball and softball the only team competitions that have postseason tournaments to determine champions, Rodgers said.
The league has been in talks with television networks about developing an expanded regular-season broadcast package mostly for football and basketball. A postseason basketball tournament may be seen as an added benefit to the networks.
The Ivy League is an association of eight elite, Northeast U.S. schools that have high academic standards and don’t provide athletic scholarships. They are Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey; Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; Columbia University in New York City; Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire; the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.