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Ivy League Spurs National Conversation Regarding Student-Athlete Time Demands, Early Recruiting

Ivy League Spurs National Conversation Regarding Student-Athlete Time Demands, Early Recruiting

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Since its formal establishment in 1954, The Ivy League has been committed to a student-centered model of Division I athletics based on the mutual agreement that intercollegiate athletics competition should be kept in harmony with the essential educational purposes of the institution.

An emphasis on the welfare of student-athletes—and more specifically restrictions on time demands for student-athletes—is engrained in the long-standing policies of The Ivy League. Following the tabling of a package of national time demands proposals by the Power Five conferences at the 2016 NCAA Convention last January, The Ivy League adopted two additional limitations to further ease the time demands on student-athletes, which went into effect for the 2016-17 season.

Ivy League New Limits on Student-Athlete Time Demands, Adopted June 2016
- Requires a 10-hour recovery period for student-athletes following their return to campus from an away contest
- Requires a two-week recovery period with no countable athletic activity upon the completion of a team’s final contest of the season

Ivy League Ongoing Limits on Student-Athlete Time Demands
- Requires 49 additional calendar days off in every sport during the academic year
- Non-championship season limited to 12 two-hour practice opportunities, with an additional six hours per week allotted for conditioning
- Allows six hours per week of offseason activity
- Does not permit regular-season contests during exam periods
- Imposes stricter contest limits than the NCAA across many sports, ranging from 1-10 fewer contests than the NCAA allows

NCAA Limits on Student-Athlete Time Demands

- Requires zero additional calendar days off during the academic year
- Non-championship season includes 10 weeks of 20 hour per week practice
- Allows eight hours per week of offseason activity  

While prioritizing student-athlete welfare, The Ivy League remains nationally competitive. In the past year, six different Ivy League programs have registered wins in the NCAA Tournament, with four advancing to the second round—Yale men’s basketball, Dartmouth men’s soccer, Cornell women’s lacrosse and Penn women’s lacrosse—and two reaching the Final Four—Brown men’s lacrosse and Princeton field hockey. Over the past five years, The Ivy League has also produced 41 national champions, most recently highlighted by NCAA titles for Princeton field hockey (2012), Yale men’s ice hockey (2013), Princeton fencing (2013) and Columbia fencing (2015 & 2016).

"We are always attentive to the health and welfare of our student-athletes," said Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. "The Ivy League has a longstanding tradition of enacting time demands limits that are more protective of our student-athletes than current NCAA rules, which are designed to protect the balance between being a student and an athlete.”

"Bearing in mind that an intercollegiate athletics program is an important part of each Ivy League institution’s educational mission, our conference has taken steps to ensure that we promote a balance between academic integration and competitive excellence in Division I athletics," said Harvard Director of Athletics Bob Scalise, the Chair of the Ivy League Athletics Directors and chair of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee.

Having already addressed the issue of time demands at the conference level, The Ivy League has begun to elevate the national conversation surrounding another student-athlete welfare issue—early recruiting. In September 2016, The Ivy League announced a series of proposals aimed at curbing early recruiting in intercollegiate athletics, which will be voted on during the Division I Council legislative session this April.

The Ivy League proposals focus on multiple aspects of the recruiting process, such as the timeline for verbal commitments, contact during camps and further limiting telephone calls and unofficial visits.

Specifically, coaches would not be allowed to make verbal offers of financial aid or support in the admission process prior to the start of the prospective student-athlete’s junior year. Additionally, other means of communication, such as initiating or receiving telephone calls, planning unofficial visits and having recruiting conversations at camps and clinics would be prohibited prior to the start of the junior year.

The Ivy League is the most diverse intercollegiate conference in the country with more than 8,000 student-athletes competing each year. Sponsoring conference championships in 33 men's and women's sports and averaging more than 35 varsity teams at each school, The Ivy League provides more intercollegiate athletic opportunities per school than any other conference in the country. All eight Ivy schools are among the top 20 of NCAA Division I schools in number of sports offered for both men and women and enjoy regular competitive success at the highest championship levels of NCAA Division I athletics.

The League’s schools -- Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale -- share a rich history of success and influence in college athletics, dating back to the origins of intercollegiate competition. Ivy League institutions have won 287 team national championships and 579 individual national championships since intercollegiate competition began. The Ivy League conference was formally established in 1954, based on the mutual agreement that intercollegiate athletics competition should be "kept in harmony with the essential educational purposes of the institution." For more information, please visit