A group of colleges that are ancient enough to have ivy grow on the walls of its buildings, hence ivy league. In Cornell (the college I attend), ivy can only be found on the administration building (they keep the ivy there for looks and reputation), a couple of arts and sciences halls, and on the engineering buildings, because they get no maintanence (hence the engineering quad of Cornell is referred to as "the shithole quad" by bitter engineers).

The reputation of Ivy League schools is that they excel in academics. Which is probably true, but the administrapo (I mean administration) of these colleges feel that because of their association with the Ivy League they can charge you an extra ten grand every year. Since they become so filthy rich by charging exorbitant fees these schools tend to give out generous amounts of financial aid (a good thing, because I'm poor). Cornell is by far the most challenging school I've attended, and because I'm not used to busting my ass studying all day, I'm getting shitty grades. Everything 2 might have something to do with it too.

Another reputation of Ivy League schools is that they are filled with rich people. Which is probably also true. From what I've seen in Princeton, Harvard, and Cornell, rich white society is heavily entrenched in Ivy League schools. However, that does not make the student bodies of Ivy League schools conservative.

Why do I pay the extra money to attend an Ivy League school? Because I get a first-class education, a nice place to spend 4 years, and I get out with a degree emblazoned Cornell University, which looks really good on a resume.

The Ivy League is a conference of the NCAA in Div. I. The football teams in this conference compete at the I-AA level. It was founded in 1945 to define common standards in academics, eligibility, and financial aid. Originally it only pertained to football, but in 1954 it was extended to all athletics. All Ivy League schools are also members of the ECAC.

The Ivy League:

Back to NCAA Division I
Locations of Ivy League schools:
University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, PA
Columbia University: Manhattan, NY
Yale University: New Haven, CT
Harvard University: Cambridge, MA
Brown University: Providence, RI
Princeton University: Princeton, NJ
Cornell University: Ithaca, NY
Dartmouth College: Hanover, NH

While the Ivy League prides itself on its academics, its athletics teams are national powers in several sports, including lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, ice hockey and wrestling (and probably a few others too).

Sportswise, the Ivy League is also unique in a few ways. When the Pac-10 conference revives their conference tournament for men's basketball in 2002, that will leave the Ivy League as the only Division I conference to not have a postseason tournament. The regular season winner gets the bid to March Madness. That bid almost always goes to either Penn or Princeton, as one of the P's has won the conference every year, starting in 1969, except 1986 (Brown) and 1988 (Cornell).
Also, in football, the Ivy doesn't allow their champion to compete in the I-AA playoffs.

Both the lack of a basketball tournament and ban on postseason football play are because the Ivy League "powers that be" feel it would take student-athletes away from the classroom unnecessarily. Many within the universities view this train of thought as elitist and outdated.

Although "Ivy League" has a concrete and specific definition, it's frequently used in an unconsciously metaphorical sense to refer to other schools. Schools in this nebulous Ivy League have certain characteristics in common:

- high prestige
- extremely selective
- very well endowed (err...)
- high tuition
- academic reputation

In 2000, the average cost of tuition and fees at Ivy League schools was $32,020, with most schools varying from that level by no more than $1,200. Their endowments register in the billions of dollars, with 40% of alumni contributing to Yale in 2000, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation giving $400 million to Stanford in 2001.

Articles about Ivy League schools that do not originate in one of the 8 Ivy Leaguers frequently include Stanford, MIT, Johns Hopkins, and so on.
The 'Ivy League' as an officially recognized component of the NCAA may, in fact, have been around since 1945 or so. However, the roots of the name travel back much further. Originally (I believe around the turn of the century, although I'm not positive) when universities began to actually play tackle football as well as other sports in an organized intramural fashion, some of the oldest and, more importantly, largest at the time formed a league to regulate their competition.

Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia were the original members. There were four of them, and the League was originally dubbed the League of IV. This was quickly shortened to the much less cumbersome 'Ivy League' especially considering the obvious pun. The use of 'Ivy' to describe the other members of the current fraternity (Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell and UPenn) dates to the formation of the NCAA division, which uses the English variant of the name.

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