Re: Ivy League

PROF A. R. Whitaker (
Sun, 8 Jan 1995 15:57:38 GMT

The original question was whether the Ivy League is a WASP
group. It was, it less so so now. The term was first used, apparently,
in the context of American football, and apparently everyone understood
from the start that it included the 8 schools which have been mentioned
here several times. I have heard that it was used contemptuously by a
New York sports writer who had to cover an Ivy game when he would rather
have been elsewhere. The IV=4 story is undocumented and simply doesn't
fit the football history of the schools involved - the only time there
were exactly 4 was in the late 1890s (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn)
and there were several realignments after that (such as Harvard, Penn,
Cornell v. Yale, Princeton, Navy for several years). A study of the
opponents of these 8 schools does show that, overwhelmingly, they
played each other (though on that basis you might also have expected
to see Colgate and Holy Cross) and that the make-up was fully understood
before the group was formalized as the Ivy Group in the early 1950s.
But all the above is in a sense question-begging. Why did they
play each other? Why, in particular was Rutgers omitted? (Cornell is a
state school too, in part). It is a legitimate question of social