description of any given Ivy League athlete
(depending, of course, on the one doing the describing). Stanford University
has comparable admissions eligibility standards for student athletes
as those of the members of the Ivy League. Such high standards mean that only a limited number of athletes in any given year are eligible to attend any of these colleges
. Stanford, however, can offer athletic scholarship
s, while the Ivies, as a condition of league membership, cannot. Given the cost
of attending these prestigious institutions, it is able to use this ability to recruit many of the best athletes from the eligible pool, leaving the remainder to the other schools. This effect is the most noticeable when it comes to the "big name" sports, such as basketball
. This is a good part of why Stanford holds the second most NCAA Division I
championship trophies in the nation, while the Ivy League
boasts but a few nationally competitive teams.
This effect has a significant shaping affect on the nature of athletics among the Ivies, perhaps second only to the "everyone thinks they're rivals with Harvard" phenomenon. In the absence of strong, national contenders that the student body can rally around, the influence of sports to the average student is reduced, though by no means eradicated. As the Ivy League was formed in part to prevent athletics from negatively impacting academics, one wonders whether this "talent drain" isn't really a blessing in disguise.