The Ivy League will hold four-team men's and women's conference basketball tournaments beginning in 2017, the conference announced Thursday.
Both the men's and women's tournaments will be held on March 11 and 12 at The Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. Every Ivy League team will shorten its regular season schedule by one game as a result.
“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,” Yale President and Council of Ivy League Presidents Chair Peter Salovey said in a statement. “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.”
The conference tournament will determine which team earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, rather than the regular season champion as the conference is currently structured. Yale won the Ivy League title this season to end its 54-year NCAA tournament drought.
The top four seeds will be determined by regular season standings, with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed in one semifinal and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed in the other.
“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,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “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.”
- Andy Wittry