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I always thought the Ivy League was just a bunch of snooty high brow colleges in the Northeast.  I had no idea it was an athletic conference until about 10 years ago when I got interested in American Football.

The Snooty League

The Ivy League is simply an athletic conference made UP of eight private institutions of higher education, that’s colleges and universities for all of you who attended SEC schools.  All of them are in the Northeastern US. They are:  Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. The term Ivy League also has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism.

Bill, Hillary, and W went to Yale.

The term became official, especially in sports terminology, after the formation of the NCAA Division I athletic conference in 1954.  So, it’s been around for a while, almost as long as I have. In the early 1950’s much of the nation “polarized” around favorite college teams.

Nothing seems to have changed.

The use of the phrase isn’t just limited to athletics; it represents an educational philosophy inherent to the nation’s oldest schools. Ivy League schools are often viewed by the public as some of the most prestigious universities worldwide and are often ranked among the best universities in the United States and worldwide.  i.e. “Snooty”.

All of these schools rank in the top 15 according to the U.S. News & World Report College and University rankings.  And all but two made the top ten.  Alas, poor Brown and Cornell…what are we to do with them.   Seven of the eight schools were founded before the American Revolution, again, Cornell not making the cut since it didn’t open UP until 1865. There were seven universities and colleges founded in the American Colonial Period, the Ivies contain nine of them.  Apparently William and Mary and Rutgers said ‘stuff it’.

The Big Ten Conference has always been an athletic conference.  It’s the oldest Division I conference and has eleven members.  That will soon become twelve when Nebraska joins UP this summer.

Big Tenish

And it’s a football powerhouse.

But this year; not so much.

Thank goodness the Buckeyes sent the hogs home!

It is the oldest Division I college athletic conference;  The Granddaddy of them all.  Most of the current members are in the Midwest, with the exception of Penn State who jumped ship from its old conference back in the late 1980’s.   

The Big Ten Conference is known for its academics as well as its athletics. It is the only Division I conference to have all its members in the Association of American Universities – take that Ivy League!   

There are others, the ACC, the WAC, Pac10 and more, but for today, there are three.

This brings us to The SEC, or Southeastern Conference.  It too is a Division I athletic league, and has its Headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama.  True to its name, the schools are in the Southeastern United States.  It’s relatively new as conferences go, coming on the scene in 1932.


It’s the big money maker of the three.

And it’s annoying.  And obnoxious.

Football is a religion in the South.  There are the Baptists, the Catholics, and Football.    No one else matters. Well, maybe the Pentecostals.  But all come together under the umbrella of the SEC.  They stick together.  Even thought they hate each other.  An example:  Every Georgia fan in Georgia cheered for Florida against Ohio State in the national championship a few years back because, and I quote, “…SEC, man, SEC…”

The SEC was also the first NCAA Division I conference to hold a championship game.  This is what the others want to do, and why the Big 10 is adding members.  There’s money to be made.  The Ivy League makes money the old fashioned way; they train bankers and steal it.

As I mentioned, The SEC was established on December 8 and 9, 1932.  13 members of the Southern conference left and formed their own group.  Only 10 of the founders are still there, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, and Vandy.   Sewanee, Tulane, and Georgia Tech bolted before the 1960s were UP.  The Razorbacks of Arkansas and the Gamecocks of South Carolina signed on in 1991. 

Living in a house full of Gator fans, and having attended THE Ohio State University (what a week that was!!), you may wonder why this post came about.

So, to my point:  And I’m sorry it took so long to get here.  Rag on the Big Ten all you want, it’s a different kind of football.  But nobody would be playing the sport like they do, and no one would be making the money they do  if it wasn’t for them!  So, quit acting like you invented the game!

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