Monday, September 05, 2016

On The Soapbox

Here's a look at Saturday's Green-White scrimmage, courtesy of the Dartmouth Football Office. What you'll notice is that while there's no tackling, there is contact, and plenty of it. And yeah, guys do hit the ground on occasion.

There's a little jumping on the soapbox ahead, so apologies in advance.

Working on an essay for the ESPN College Football Encyclopedia some years back, I asked some very important people to please explain the ban on postseason play for Ivy League football teams. The answer I got most frequently was the telephone equivalent of a blank stare. In the end I got two unsatisfactory explanations. One was along the lines of, "That's the way it's always been." The other?

Ivy League rules prohibit it.

Let me see if I can simplify the second explanation for you. It's against the rules because the Ivy League rules prohibit it.

As silly as that is, it seems it might be wrong.

A good friend of BGA who has been doing some digging found a copy of the Ivy Manual online. Flip ahead to page 159 where the text of the Presidents Agreement of 1954 starts and read away. When you get to page 161 you'll find this:
The members of the Group shall not engage in post season games or any other contests designed to settle sectional or other championships. (NOTE: National Collegiate Athletic Association, Eastern College Athletic Conference, A.A.U. competitions and international competitions such as the games, meets and matches with Oxford and Cambridge Universities shall not be considered as post-season games or contests within the meaning of the above rule.)
Here's what it says to me: Postseason bowl games to determine a "mythical national championship" (Rose Bowl, etc.) are prohibited.

Postseason games to determine an NCAA championship are not prohibited.

If that's the case, Ivy League teams should be allowed by rule to appear in the NCAA FCS football playoffs, and allowing every last Ivy League sport except football to go on is indefensible.

BGA Take: As a lawyer friend explained, there's enough ambiguity in the Presidents Agreement to allow the Presidents to weasel out of letting football participate in NCAA playoffs. Of course, the rules in the Agreement are hardly written in stone. Here are several that have been rewritten, with my thoughts in italics:
Football schedules shall not be made more than two years in advance of the current calendar year. (Dartmouth's schedule through 2022 can be found HERE.)
No football practice shall take place at any time except during the fall season (What was it I covered for 12 practices in the spring?)
No student shall be eligible for a varsity team until he has completed satisfactorily an academic year’s work at the institution he is to represent. (There are now freshmen who play in a game before ever sitting in on a class.)
Football practice for all institutions in the Group shall start not earlier than a date to be agreed upon each year by the Administrative Committee, which may not be earlier than September 1 in any year. (Practice for all schools begins in August.)
The coaches and players of institutions in the Group shall not participate in clinics for secondary school coaches or players (Football camps are held on campus.)

Here's mine: In summers when I was a kid we had to sit on the beach for an hour after eating lunch, watching the clock and begging to go back in the water. The belief in those days was if we went right back in the water after eating we might get a cramp and drown. That, of course, ended up being hogwash. I've thought ever since that my mother actually owed me about a year worth of swimming. Well, I think the Ivy League owes every football player who won a championship since the start of the NCAA playoffs in 1978 a chance they'll never get and that's too bad. The time has come to let Ivy League football teams test the water just like every other Ivy League team.

End soapbox (for today).
From last night's BGA Premium:

One of Dartmouth Coach Buddy Teevens’ regrets is that with the reconfiguration of the school’s academic calendar several years ago it became pretty much impossible for his freshmen to go on one of the legendary First Year Trips.

To give his players – many of whom haven’t spent much time on trails – a feel for Trips, he began several years ago to bring them on a hike up the Appalachian Trail near the Dartmouth Skiway.

This year he tried something new, having the team hike Gile Mountain in Norwich, Vt., across the river from Dartmouth. The rewards were a chance to look over the world from the fire tower atop the mountain, followed by a steak dinner at the college’s Tom Dent Cabin in the woods overlooking the Connecticut River.

Here's where the trip ended up:

And here are a few of the photos I shot yesterday. (There are more on BGA Premium.)

It's back to practice this morning. Check BGA Premium tonight for coverage of the session as well as a look back at the Green-White.