Distributed August 2, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Brown football

The Ivy League decision: some questions and answers

On Tuesday, August 1, 2000, the Council of Ivy Group Presidents announced its final disposition of a case involving violations of Ivy League athletics rules on the part of Brown University. The final disposition increased the severity of measures announced earlier and made Brown ineligible to defend its Ivy League Championship in the 2000 season. The following questions and answers address issues in the case.

What violations of NCAA and Ivy regulations was Brown charged with in January 2000?

Brown was notified in January 2000 that there were questions regarding the involvement of Brown University staff in the awarding of scholarships from outside sources to a small number of athletes at Brown.

During the next few months Brown and the Ivy League office investigated the matter. Violations of Ivy League and NCAA rules were identified, the Ivy League imposed and Brown agreed to a number of remedial measures for the violations.

Regarding Ivy violations, in April the executive director of the Ivy League issued the following statement: “We have received the report and have accepted its findings and remedies with regard to Ivy League issues. We have forwarded it to the NCAA with our endorsement as to the NCAA issues it addresses.”

In June Brown was informed that the NCAA had determined the violations to be secondary. In addition, the NCAA verified the eligibility of all involved students.

In July, the Ivy presidents gathered for their summer meeting. At that time, they reviewed the penalties and remedies.

What was the outcome of that review?

The presidents chose to impose two additional remedies in football: the Brown football team will not be eligible for the Ivy League championship in the 2000 season; and the number of first-year recruited football players that Brown will be permitted to matriculate will be reduced by five in the fall of 2001 (the class of 2005), as initially recommended by the Ivy Office, and by five more in the fall of 2002 (the class of 2006).

The Council also refined the recruitment remedies in three additional sports.

If Brown is ineligible for the championship, will games against Brown count in the overall records of other Ivy League teams?

Yes. Initial confusion in press reports prompted a clarification from the Ivy League office. All games involving Brown will count as wins and losses for both Brown and its opponents. Brown will be listed in the standings, but the standings will indicate that Brown is ineligible for the Ivy League championship.

Was Brown unfairly singled out in this regard?

No, the Ivy presidents reserve the right to review policies and meet semi-annually to do so. In the words of Brown President Sheila Blumstein, “We regret the loss of the opportunity to be eligible for the Ivy Championship in football and the impact this decision will have on our student-athletes. Brown has always championed the principles of the Ivy League, and we recognize our responsibility to affirm these principles as we move forward.”

What are the Ivy League rules?

The first Ivy Group Agreement addressing only football was signed in 1945; other sports were added in subsequent years. The agreement affirmed the observance at the eight institutions of common practices in academic standards, eligibility requirements, and the administration of financial aid for athletes. These tenets are what still bind the Ivies together today and all continue to be based on the desire to secure competition with others having like philosophies.

How will the Ivy League Presidents’ decision affect student athletes currently enrolled at Brown?

For the most part, student athletes at Brown will enjoy the same experience as they have in past years. Although students will be disappointed that the football team is ineligible for the Ivy title, we expect that coaches will use this experience to motivate everyone to continue to exhibit the highest standards of sportsmanship and performance both on and off the playing fields.

What effect will this have on the football program?

Coach Estes plans to prepare this team as he did last year. The team’s focus will not change. They are prepared to let their performance on the field be the measure of their success.

What effect will this have on the Brown University Sports Foundation?

A committee consisting of an external reviewer, senior administrators, trustees and faculty members has been appointed to conduct a thorough review of the BUSF’s continued relationship with the department of Athletics, the Development Office and the University as a whole. The review will determine the correct staffing, reporting and oversight needs to ensure that the BUSF’s role in athletics will be limited to and consistent with its fundraising mission.


See also:

00-010i – Text of the Ivy League’s announcement of its final ruling in the case
99-111 – Brown concludes inquiry, files report with the Ivy League