The Ivy League has just passed rules to outlaw tackling in football practices. The changes still need to be officially passed, but were approved by all the coaches. Obviously, the main motivation of this would be to prevent injuries – and especially the kinds of brain injuries that are turning out to be incredibly common in football. The Ivy League has a history of passing rules to do much more than most of the NCAA to make sure that athletes are actually real students and to keep them safe, so this is another example of the league being one of the leaders in improving conditions for college athletes. Hopefully, the rest of the NCAA will follow and start passing similar rules.
The Boston Globe has an interesting article on poor students in the Ivy League. In short, poorer students at elite schools are often better off than their peers in in less selective institutions (financial aid can solve a lot of issues people have trying to attend school), but still face a number of potential problems. Poor students can have trouble with their social lives due to lack of money for things like going on vacation with friends during breaks or even eating dinner outside the subsidized dining hall. Even middle income students are a minority on elite campuses and can face these kinds of problems. There are academic problems too, as students who didn’t go to the kinds of high schools that feed into elite colleges often start at a disadvantage due to both having a somewhat less rigorous education upon entering college and also due to not having connections or knowing how to work the system to their advantage. At the same time, graduation rates and outcomes in general seem to be much better at the elite schools. The majority of poor students (possibly 90+%) do end up graduating, which is a vastly larger percentage than the rate for poor students in general. I would note that while I (middle income but not poor) didn’t end up facing any serious problems going from a decidedly average public high school to an elite college, I do think that many of the things described in the article could have easily happened to me.
Over the weekend, the Colorado men’s cross country team won the NCAA Division I championship for the second straight year. The race was a 10k course in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Colorado team ended up with 65 points although the top two runners were both from Oregon, with the best finishing with a time of 30:19. Stanford came in second with 98 points. The northeastern region sent an all-Ivy set of individual qualifiers with two from Columbia and one each from Harvard and Yale. The Colorado women’s team also did quite well, ending up at #7 out of 31 qualifying teams. For some reason, the women’s course is only 6k instead of using the same 10k as in the men’s race.
While MIT is now past the first round of the D-III tournament, to no one’s surprise, Columbia football has now lost it’s 21st game in a row and has no wins in the last two years. One more game and they’ll be halfway to tying their epic 44-game losing streak in the mid-80s. As with nearly every other game in the past few years, the team lost in a blowout, this time to Brown.
Even NPR takes a swipe at Columbia football.
Continuing some coverage of Columbia football, even the Wall Street Journal is weighing in now.
The Washington Post now has a short article on Columbia’s losing streak, which is now up to 20 games. It goes over the general context of both Ivy and Columbia football. Note that this isn’t Columbia’s worst losing streak. That happened in the mid-1980s and reached 44 games, which has only been surpassed by Prairie View A&M. Some people who were around then claim that the team actually looks worse than it did during the 80s. Right now, it looks like they’ll go 0-10 for the second year in a row unless they manage a huge upset against Brown next week. Brown isn’t even that good but any win is a huge upset at this point. The best chance of breaking this streak might be to start scheduling only the worst teams for the 3 non-conference games. At least when I was there, the team would be competitive in most games even if it rarely won in the end.