Mike Jensen: When Ivy League basketball tips off is up to the virus

By Mike Jensen, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Basketball

If there's one thing we've all assumed, and this pandemic has confirmed, is that Ivy League presidents are not going to let any athletics tail wag their institutional dog.

While virtually every other NCAA Division I league is moving ahead (with crossed fingers) on winter sports plans, the Ivy League is taking it more slowly.

Ivy League athletic directors got together virtually last week for several days of meetings. Again, if you think Ivy League athletic directors are going to announce plans ahead of their presidents, you haven't been paying attention.

"What we spent a lot of time talking about this week is what types of information would be helpful to the presidents as they walk up to this decision," Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun said Friday afternoon, adding that individual campus plans for the spring semester are expected to be announced between early November and early December.

"The presidents have certainly advised that until decisions are made about who will be welcomed back to campus, you can't really talk about athletics."

Well, they can talk about it.


"All possible ways we could conduct a season if we are able to play," Calhoun said of last week's discussions.

What that means locally ... It's looking like if Penn waits until January to get on the court, the rest of the Big 5 schools already might have full schedules without the Quakers. Nobody can blame the other four. Everyone had a full slate of opponents set before COVID-19, then had to cut a few games, and also try to mostly get the nonconference games out of the way early.

There have been reports that the Ivy League could play a more limited league schedule even if some campuses don't welcome all their students back to campus, meaning all eight schools wouldn't have seasons.

"What I can tell you, there absolutely have not been decisions made," Calhoun said. "Our league mindset is that, yes, we do, like to do things as a league. At the same time, as athletic directors, we've acknowledged that our continuation approaches have been very different. We as a league have probably been unified, with more commonality, than any other — we like when we have 8-0 votes and do things the same way ..."


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