December 8, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘Antiquated Ivy League Rules Rob Student Athletes of University Careers’

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To the Editor: 

The Cornell administration and the entire Cornell community are to be congratulated, and even more so thanked, for the great job they have done in tackling the virus at Cornell. Cornell has exhibited great leadership.

I also applaud our Ivy League for putting safety and human lives ahead of entertainment and personal preference in the suspension of winter athletics. This suspension is the right move even allowing for some sports that might be safe enough to take place with the proper safeguards.

What I don’t understand, as mentioned in a Sun column this Monday, is the Ivy League’s stance on the addition of one year to the athletes total eligibility, making up for the year eliminated due to the virus. The National College Athletic Association allows this additional year but the Ivies don’t. This is not fair to either the athletes, the coaches or for that matter, the school itself.

The athletes were recruited to Cornell expecting to participate in intercollegiate sports for four years. To many of them it is an important part of their life, as important as the education they are receiving.  They are being denied this through no fault of their own.  

To the coaches it will make recruiting even more difficult for them than it is now and pretty much fractures any plans they might have had for a competitive team in the next few years. We might not care, but they do. 

The school loses since the policy reflects too well the Ivies’ “holier than thou” attitude towards athletics in general. In my attendance at Cornell, ’48 to ’53, team sports was not only a big benefit to the school but it was a vital part of the students’ education. The Ivy League should embrace athletics and make sure that it stays an important part of a students education.  

I would suggest that Cornell offer an amendment to this totally unfair Ivy League decision to reflect both fairness and objectivity. For those wanting the 4th year of eligibility, delaying their graduation should not be an option. This only penalizes them and their family. This additional year would be better used to pursue graduate studies at Cornell rather than transferring to a non-Ivy school. 

Please help bring the Ivy League into the 21st Century.  

Paul Blanchard ’53