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The Presidents of all eight Ivy League Colleges said last week that the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) recent decision to demote the League from Division 1-A contradicted one of the Association's founding principles.
Quoting the NCAA constitution, Brown University President Howard W. Swearer issued a statement for all the presidents expressing serious doubt of the Association's stated resolve to "retain a clear line of demarcation between college athletics and professional sports."
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Swearer stated that the criteria for inclusion in Division 1-A should not include financial factors such as "average paid attendance and stadium size." He added that the Ivy League's committment to football is "unmatched by any other NCAA conference."
John Toner, Secretary-Treasurer of the NCAA applauded the statement, but added that the NCAA decision "does not signal professionalism.
"The change has been in the cards for a long time," Toner said by added that stadium size should not be a criterion for football.
Harvard Football Coach Joe Restic said that the requirements for inclusion should be "tradition, history, and what we (the Ivy League) have contributed to the sport of football." Citing "television appearances, scheduling advantages, additional money, and recruiting," Restic said the Ivy League would continue trying to get back into Division 1-A.
"The NCAA change has nothing to do with the quality of the athletic programs at the Ivy League Schools, Toner said. "No one is trying to tell the Ivies what to do about their programs," he added.
Restic said there is no possibility that the financial criteria for membership in the division would be changed because the NCAA "derives a monetary benefit" from having fewer schools in the division.
Prior to the December 4 decision, an NCAA by-law allowed the League teams to play in the division. The "Ivy Amendment", allowed any school which sponsored 12 or more varsity intercollegiate sports, including football and basketball to be in Division 1-A.
At the December 4 meeting the Association eliminated the criterion, but retained the requirement that a division member's stadium have a minimum capacity of 30,000 seats and average of 17,000 paid spectators per game. Harvard presently meets these requirements.
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