Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big Red Means Business

It's no secret that Princeton is the 2000 pound gorilla of Ivy League sports (with the notable exception these days of football). As old friend TigerBlog writes, one of the questions around Old Nassau these days is ..
"Can Princeton break the Ivy League record for championships won in an academic year? The record is 14, something Princeton has done twice (1999-2000/2000-01) and Harvard has done once (2004-05). Can Princeton get three more to tie and four more to win?"
You might think Harvard could challenge the Tigers for Ivy supremacy and that Yale should be able to (although it doesn't seem serious about doing it) but the school to watch is Cornell. They are quietly building a very solid all-around athletic program out in Ithaca, with the same notable exception as Princeton. Football.

That, however, may be changing thanks to a program that allows Cornell to match financial aid packages for students admitted at other Ivies. In the lead story of the spring issue of Spirit, The Magazine of Cornell Sports, Athletic Director Andy Noel wrote:
Football is a prime example of the positive impact the new financial aid program has had on recruiting scholarship-level student athletes. Head football coach Kent Austin was able to attract to Cornell eight of the ten top candidates who had been heavily recruited by one or more of the Ivy triumvirate: Harvard, Yale and Princeton (HYP). These financial aid packages were based on need but, as you may recall, HYP in particular are able to use a more liberal “needs analysis formula” based on their larger endowments and smaller student bodies. Other Ivy schools have become increasingly aggressive in their financial aid packaging in order to compete with HYP as well.

Coach Austin stated to a group of football alumni at a recent gathering that he would not have been able to matriculate 20 of his 26 top candidates without the ability to match the most generous financial aid packages offered within the Ivy League. Almost all of these candidates were offered full athletics scholarships from mid-major Division 1 schools and, in one case, a full scholarship from Stanford. Quite frankly, HYP and some other Ivy schools have been successfully competing for scholarship athletes for many years and it shows on the scoreboard and in the final team standings.
Jake Novak over at his Roar Lions Roar blog has a quick and dirty look at the Columbia football opponents next fall. Regarding the Big Green, he giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other, writing:
Dartmouth is definitely on the upswing after getting back to a winning record last season and returning most of the key players for 2011.

On the other hand, one of those players is NOT the graduating Charles Bay and there’s a good argument to be made that the Big Green will fall a bit closer to Earth this fall.
Prompted by yesterday's posting about the Georgetown football field, an emailer commented on the Sacred Heart field, where Dartmouth will play this fall. The Pioneers' Campus Field has a listed capacity of 4,000 and can be seen in photos on this page. As is the case with Georgetown, good photos of the facility are hard to find. The same used to be the case with future opponent Butler, although that changed with stadium renovations that are well documented in this photo page.
Kudos to the Harvard football team for hosting a blood drive this Friday and to the Colgate football team for raising money for the fight against Ependymoma, a rare type of brain or spinal cord tumor with its Lift For Life competition tonight.
I would have mentioned the Dartmouth men's lacrosse team playing North Carolina last evening on ESPNU if I'd been paying more attention. An email sent me scurrying to the TV with the score tied, 2-2, in a game that was dead even until No. 6 UNC pulled away in the fourth quarter of a 12-7 decision. Find the Dartmouth Sports Information release here.

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