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

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.

KEMPFF | Antiquated Ivy League Rules Rob Student Athletes of University Careers

Jimmy Boeheim ’21 should have been the Ivy League dream. Towering over his peers at 6’8,” Jimmy always knew he would play college basketball. His arrival at Cornell seemed like a fairytale; he was the first recruit of the new head coach and quickly fell in love with both the campus and the team. 

His story follows a now familiar one: A promising junior season was cut short by the COVID pandemic. However, the National College Athletic Association extended eligibility for all college athletes by a year. If he wanted to play, he could.

How the Ivy League is Forcing Out Student-Athletes

The Ivy League wanted student-athletes exactly like Kevin Rooney ’04. Rooney shined on the football field for the Red, playing on the defensive line during his time with Cornell, collecting 35 tackles and four sacks — tops of the team — during his senior season. In the classroom, Rooney’s star shined even brighter. As a history major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Rooney had a 3.89 GPA, graduated from Cornell in eight semesters and eventually attended Stanford Law School, where he graduated in 2009. However, Rooney felt that one thing was left unfinished: his football career.