Tuesday, September 20, 2011

399 - And Counting

TigerBlog was talking about the flurry of college realignment that is dominating the landscape with several people yesterday, and he posed the same question to each. Could it affect the Ivy League?

"Nope," one person said. "The Ancient 8 will always be the Ancient 8."

As an aside, the more TB thought about what he wrote yesterday, the more annoyed he became about Syracuse's move from the Big East to the ACC. And, apparently Michael Wilbon read TigerBlog before he went on PTI yesterday, since what he said was essentially word-for-word (go to about 19:20).

Meanwhile, back at the Ancient 8, TB has always felt like it's something of a misnomer, since the Ancient 8 isn't nearly as old as some of the other leagues that are currently trying to turn a quarter into three dimes.

In fact, the Ivy League first began formalized league play a mere 55 years ago.

Yes, the schools in the league are some of the oldest in the country. In fact, seven of the nine oldest schools in America are in the Ivy League, minus Cornell and joined by William & Mary and Rutgers.

The Ivy League first awarded championships in the 1956-57 academic year, when Yale won seven and Princeton and Harvard won four each.

Since that beginning, Princeton has gone on to win 395 more, and it entered the 2011-12 academic year with 399 Ivy League championships all-time. Here are the current all-time standings:

1. Princeton 399
2. Harvard 347
3. Cornell 199
4. Penn 189
5. Yale 172
6. Dartmouth 128
7. Brown 119
8. Columbia 87

If you look at the first 25 years of league competition, Harvard won 136 to Princeton's 117.

Since then, Princeton has won 282, while Harvard has won 211.

TigerBlog doesn't have the list broken down by gender, though he'll put that together one day. His hunch is that Princeton's hugely successful women's athletics programs through the years have been a big help in building the lead.

If you total up the last 15 years of Ivy League championships, here are the numbers:

1. Princeton 169
2. Harvard 99
3. Cornell 73
4. Penn 58
5. Yale 49
6. Dartmouth 39
7. Brown 45
8. Columbia 30

Last academic year, of course, Princeton won 15 Ivy League championships, the record for a single academic year. The old record had been 14, which Princeton had done twice and Harvard once.

TB has often wondered why Princeton has enjoyed such consistent success through the years and what the underlying reasons are. He has never come up with one correct answer.

Still, he's glad to be at a place with this kind of history.

This Saturday night, Princeton will have its annual Parade of Champions during halftime of the football game against Bucknell.

A total of 17 teams will be on the field - the 15 Ivy champs, plus women's lacrosse (Ivy tournament champ) and women's lightweight rowing (Eastern champ).

One of the best parts for TB is the wide range of teams that win year to year. The words "broad-based athletic participation" have been said so many times that they have lost much of their impact, but it doesn't make them any less true.

While the rest of college athletics is busy chasing money, the Ancient 8, as it were, continues to take a different approach.

When Princeton wins its next Ivy title, it'll have 400 all-time, which is a nice milestone - and a nice reminder of a special place in college athletics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seems ironic, and slightly cruel that they are marching at halftime of the football game Saturday night.