(STATS) – The most-asked question surrounding Ivy League football never goes away even if the answer remains the same: Will the league ever start to send its champion to the FCS playoffs?
The programs in the storied Ivies play a 10-game regular season. Last year, Princeton went unbeaten and was joined by Dartmouth in the season-ending national rankings, but neither team participated in the 24-team playoffs.
Most of the people involved in football welcome the idea of playoffs, but the league’s counsel of presidents make the decision on the issue, and they still prefer the status quo, Robin Harris, the league’s executive director, said Thursday at Ivy media day held at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
“The answer is multi-leveled,” Harris said. “It’s the tradition and the history surrounding Ivy League football and the fact that our presidents are very comfortable with the fact the focus is on the Ivy League champion and that focus is on Ivy League competition. There’s also a concern how the football championship extends into December and now goes into mid-January, and the impact that would have on our student-athletes academically during very critical times during the academic year.
“It’s not just one game, our teams would win some games,” she continued. “The impact academically on the student-athletes is a concern. So the presidents have reaffirmed that they’re very comfortable with where Ivy League football is now.”
The champions of 10 FCS conference automatically qualify for the playoffs. Two other conferences, the Mid-Eastern Athletic and the Southwestern Athletic, have their champions meet in the Celebration Bowl, but their other teams are eligible for the 14 at-large playoff bids. Only Ivy teams do not have a form of postseason.
Harris said the league has had internal discussion about a bowl-type game, but added, “The issue becomes who would our champion play, with other teams committed to other postseason opportunities. And then there’s a lot of other factors that would go into it. We have not even gotten past that hurdle.”