Ivy League basketball to cut down on “back to backs” and have the same schedule model for all teams, but the virus will still have the last word

By Joel Alderman

The cancelation of all sports by the Ivy League for the rest of 2020 has ramifications for fall and winter basketball as well, assuming the games move forward, and that’s a big assumption. While the sports world is dealing with the effects of the coronavirus on college football, we move ahead to the following season. The rationale for this is that is mainly a publication about basketball and one of the few to give attention to the Ivy League.

Now that the conference has become the first to cancel, or at least put on hold, football and other sports for the remainder of the year, it is being pointed out nationally what our readers had already been made well aware of – that the league was the first to cancel its postseason tournaments. It was a move widely criticized- until every other organization did the same.

The new model

Next, we backtrack to before coronavirus became an issue and the Ivies had revealed a drastic overhaul of its traditional scheduling. Gone would be most of the back-to-back Friday and Saturday games, a thing the conference had long been noted for. Half of those grueling weekends would be eliminated, play would extend for two more weeks, and games would take place for each of the eight teams on continuous weekends starting in January.

Under the new model, there were to be seven one-opponent weekends, a Monday MLK holiday game to follow a Saturday contest, and just three back-to-backs, one half the number as in the past.

The regular season would end the same way for each of the eight teams, with games between travel partners, Yale-Brown, Dartmouth-Harvard, Columbia-Cornell and Princeton-Penn

The change was made possible when Princeton moved its first-semester exam dates from January to December. Thus, the league competition will begin for all teams on the first Saturday of the year, which in 2021 would be January 2nd.

Shortly after the format was made known, the virus started to spread. The 2020 Ivy tournaments were canceled, hockey became a thing of the past, and those spring sports that got an early start, like baseball, softball, and lacrosse, were shut down after their short seasons.

The way the Ivy will play (maybe)

What will happen now is anybody’s guess. But if the league decides to resume sports in January, the new plan for basketball will fit in.

Being optimistic, here is how the games will take place.

Week 1 – one game
Week 2 – two games back to back
Week 3 – two games (Saturday and Monday MLK Day)
Week 4 – one game
Week 5 – one game
Week 6 – two games back to back
Week 7 – one game
Week 8 – two games back to back
Week 9 – one game
Week 10- one game vs. travel partner

Whether this comes to fruition is much too early to tell. But if basketball is to be played at all and the virus is under control, the conference has a plan in place. It would be nice to think things will be normal.

We’ll see.

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