Until now, the The Ivy League was the only conference not to hold a postseason tournament to determine which school qualifies for the NCAA Tournament.
But that will change beginning with the 2016-17 academic year.
The League's Council of Presidents approved four-team tournaments in men's and women's basketball, with a one-game reduction for each team in the regular season. The tournaments will determine the conference's automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. The 2017 Ivy League Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments will both be held over the same two competition days, March 11 and 12, at The Palestra in Philadelphia.
"The presidents adopted the proposal to establish men's and women's basketball tournaments after thoughtful discussions and careful review of the thorough information provided by our athletics directors and head coaches. Ultimately, this decision was based on enhancing the overall experience for our basketball student-athletes, while also paying attention to time demands by shortening the regular season," said Peter Salovey, Yale president and chair, Council of Ivy League Presidents.
Columbia coach Kyle Smith, whose team finished 10-4, third this year behind Yale and Princeton, approves.
"We are excited about the opportunity for our student-athlete's to showcase their spirit and passion for the game," he told SNY.tv. "They truly are what is right about college athletics and it will be great to see them compete during championship week. It will also give alums a chance to get together and show their tremendous school spirit and love for the Ivy League."
The format for each tournament will be two semifinal games on the first day (Saturday) with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed, followed by the championship game played the next day (Sunday). The tournaments' winners will receive the League's automatic bids to the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. The teams that finish with the best records from the 14-game, regular-season conference schedule will continue to be recognized as Ivy League champions.
"The structure of our basketball tournaments is consistent with our model of college athletics and the format allows us to preserve the significance of the regular season," said Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. "Most importantly, this creates a landmark event during March Madness for our basketball student-athletes to anticipate while they are in school and to cherish throughout their lives after graduation."
The 2018 tournaments will be played March 10 and 11. The location of the 2018 tournaments and the location and dates of the 2019 tournaments will be announced at a later date.