Ivy League basketball story lines are usually predictable. The “last true student-athletes” earning their education and still finding time to play basketball. The reality, however, is much more nuanced.
Beyond the obvious challenges balancing of schoolwork and sports, the Ivy League basketball experience is far from typical. Conference play is hosted almost exclusively on consecutive Fridays and Saturdays, and fan support ebbs and flows. Even successful Ivy teams often play in front of apathetic fan bases who only get excited at the sniff of the NCAA Tournament promised land. What’s a player to do to get some love?
The answer, at Harvard at least, is simple: Recruit the other athletes. Harvard offers the most varsity sports of any Division I school, and athletes thus make up a surprisingly large and important part of a student body more well-known for its brains than its brawn. The student section at most Harvard games is dominated by student-athletes. The most vocal and noticeable are the football team, ever in the front rows, leading the cheers….