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Subject: Re: Princeton v. Notre Dame--I report, you decide.

Memphis Bill
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Date Posted: 18:15:55 03/13/17 Mon
In reply to: joiseyfan 's message, "Re: Princeton v. Notre Dame--I report, you decide." on 15:01:28 03/13/17 Mon

Agree that AI is a serious impediment that did not exist when Ivy football was attracting the likes of Messrs. Hill, Marinaro, Bowden and Williams. No Index blocked the recruiting and enrollment of hoop stars such as Bradley, Petrie and Calhoun. While it is good to pose the question of whether playing at a higher level in the major sports has any impact on the academic reputations of Stanford, Duke et al, we should not forget that the Ivies already have performed that experiment in an earlier era when the above-named stars were playing, with no negative academic effects.

Indeed, one senses that Harvard's recent initiatives, decried by some on this board, were undertaken in response to the daylight that Stanford has recently opened on the Cantabs, replacing them, in many quarters, as the most desirable place to spend four years, due in at least some small part, to the presence of big time sports on The Farm.

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[> [> [> Subject: Memphis Bill Reframes Debate Over Harvard Basketball: WHY Did They Do It? Stanford?

An Observer
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Date Posted: 13:08:10 03/14/17 Tue

It's either a healthy increase in institutional commitment to excellence in a new field; or it's stretching or breaking outright Ivy principles regarding academic standards in athletics; or it's something in between.

In all the discussion about Harvard basketball on this message board, we have not yet covered a very interesting angle. Why did Bob Scalise decide to fire Frank Sullivan in 2007 and completely remake Harvard's century-old relationship with varsity basketball?

I had always assumed that Scalise was simply waiting for Lawrence Summers to retire or get promoted to Treasury Secretary or world dictator, because Scalise knew that Summers would never support what he wanted to do in basketball. When Summers resigned in 2006, Scalise seized the moment, gambling that Drew Gilpin Faust would not care and/or have the personal capital to stop him.

Memphis Bill advances a completely different take. Maybe Harvard had an institutional change of heart driven by growing concern over Stanford's amazing ascent in American higher education.

This is an interesting question because, in this regard, Harvard's "problem with Stanford" is to an extent a problem for all of us. Stanford has reshuffled a pecking order which had been stable for centuries.

To me, there is little question that within, say, two or three decades, Stanford will be the brightest name in higher education, if it is not already. Harvard can read that writing on the wall as well as we can. Further, within the past decade or so, there is not a single undergraduate ranking which ranks Harvard above Princeton. That can't feel good in Massachusetts Hall.

Was the new commitment to basketball an institution decision made at a level above Scalise? It's hard to believe that Faust would have initiated this within months of moving the president's office, but perhaps she signed off on Scalise's plan with this in mind.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Memphis Bill Reframes Debate Over Harvard Basketball: WHY Did They Do It? Stanford?

Memphis Bill
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Date Posted: 14:39:47 03/14/17 Tue

I am flattered if An Observer thinks that I have "reframed" the debate on this board regarding Harvard's extreme restructuring of its basketball program. My "observations" are based on some years of watching how Harvard operates to protect what it believes is the finest educational brand in the world.

The only inside insight that I have concerning Harvard sports is a friendship with an avid booster of varsity sports, especially football, at the Crimson, who told me when Summers was forced out and replaced by Faust the this was good for the FB program, because "she's a southern girl from a family full of brothers, and she really loves football."

My general thoughts are as follows: as AO has stated, The Big Three are keenly aware of Stanford's coming up on them at about a hundred miles an hour. Just this year, Stanford's endowment surpassed Princeton's, and with
the wealth being created in The Valley, Yale and Harvard will be surpassed in this important metric.

Harvard will fight like hell to prevent its slipping to no. 2 from happening, and having a first rate basketball team, while a small piece of the over-all counterattack, it is part of a package of countermeasures aimed at preserving Harvard's self-imagined supremacy.

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[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Memphis Bill Reframes Debate Over Harvard Basketball: WHY Did They Do It? Stanford?

An Observer
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Date Posted: 15:11:24 03/14/17 Tue

You have indeed reframed the discussion, Memphis. Reasonable people can disagree about exactly what Harvard has done and whether that action is appropriate, given the unique academic rationale for our conference's existence.

But nobody can argue that Harvard has indeed done *something*. The question of why is natural to ask, especially because the Stanford challenge affects all of us.

Of all the real and potential criticisms leveled at Harvard's behavior, the one which I find most troubling is that Harvard decided to act unilaterally.

Imagine how different Harvard Basketball Presented By Staples Office Supplies would appear and feel to the other seven Ivies if, instead of acting unilaterally, Faust had contacted her seven Ivy peers and said, "Hey, look, as a group we are losing ground to Stanford. I'd like to do something in response. How do you seven folks feel about making a huge commitment to men's basketball?"

That would have been a very different approach to upgrading institutional commitment to basketball. Then it's a conference-wide effort and everybody knows why it's being done, even if not everybody agrees with the decision.

I'd have a world of understanding for Harvard's behavior if it had been done after consulting with the institutions most directly affected, namely, conference opponents.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Memphis Bill Reframes Debate Over Harvard Basketball: WHY Did They Do It? Stanford?

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Date Posted: 17:14:46 03/14/17 Tue

The idea that a woman prexy taking over Larry Summers (who "retired" for the reasons he did) going forward to her peers to suggest investing in MEN'S basketball is a nice touch.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Memphis Bill Reframes Debate Over Harvard Basketball: WHY Did They Do It? Stanford?

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Date Posted: 19:26:59 03/14/17 Tue

Observer has the big picture.

Imagine 2035

The "#1 University" in the United States which attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world let alone the US , with a HUGE endowment and enthusiastic alumni who want to keep giving has a lousy athletic program?

Doubt it.

Bowen, Bok, Giamatti, Tilghman, Schmitt et al got it all wrong on Ivy athletics.

The new Presidents do not.

Take a look at this years Yale's FB recruiting list.

Why is Bagnoli coaching at Columbia?

Think Penn hoops is on the rebound?

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