Monday, March 30, 2009

Should Cornell Leave the Ivy League and Jump to the Big 10?

What would you say to the idea of Cornell playing round robin basketball games against the likes of Michigan, Indiana and Purdue? Football against Ohio State? Should Cornell join the Big 10? Think about it. While we are not advocating a divorce from the Ivy League, Cornell and the Big 10 potentially could be a perfect marriage. And The Cornell Basketball Blog is not alone in this thinking.

Cornell Professor Issac Kramnick once wrote:
I have come to love this place in my thirty-six years of teaching here, to love this Ivy League school with its Big Ten soul, this university that since its birth has played such a rebellious and innovative role in American higher education.
Others have noticed the "Cornell-Big 10" connection. Cornell Basketball Head Coach Steve Donahue once said, "We have a Big Ten-type of campus." Coach Donahue is definitely onto something.

But the similarities go far beyond the campus.

Most of the Big 10 schools are large public universities set in collegetowns. The Big 10 schools not only excel in athletics, but they are also regularly ranked among the top national academic universities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Cornell is very much all of the above.

Like most of the Big 10 schools, Cornell (a part private, part public institution) has a very public oriented mission with land-grant status. Cornell also has membership in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. And it also goes without saying that Cornell is regularly regarded academically as one of the top dozen or so national universities in the country.

Like most Big 10 schools, Cornell is massive both in physical size and in student body. Home to 20,000 students, Cornell's Ithaca campus is over 5,000 acres when including the University's gardens and natural areas and 745 acres of academic, athletic and residential areas. Cornell also maintains extended campuses in every county of New York State, not to leave out campus centers in Washington, D.C., Maine, Puerto Rico, New York City, Rome, Peru/Amazon River, and Qatar.

All taken together, the public mission, the grande size of the campus and student body, the stellar academic reputation and the setting in idyllic little Ithaca, Cornell has a whole lot more in common with Wisconsin in Madison and Indiana in Bloomington than it does with Penn in Philadelphia, Harvard in Boston or Columbia in New York.


Finally, there are also numerous historical connections between Cornell and the Big 10. Cornell's co-founder Andrew Dickson White was educated at the University of Michigan. Indiana's beloved 7th president, David Starr Jordan was a Cornell alumnus and Cornell's last two presidents were recruited from their presidencies at the University of Iowa.

And by the way, the Big 10 needs a 12th member in Cornell. Northwestern is the lone "private school" member, while Penn State is sitting by itself out in the east. Cornell is a piece that fits the puzzle. Cornell would add a second campus post for the conference in the east, joining Penn State, while also giving Northwestern some company as another elite private institution with an esteemed academic history.

As for athletics, Cornell is a national power in several major sports, including indoor and outdoor track (men's and women's), wrestling, ice hockey, and lacrosse. Even the Cornell men's basketball team made two consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and finished 2008-2009 with an RPI better than a pair of Big 10 teams (after finishing 2007-2008 ranked ahead of five Big 10 teams).

Joining the Big 10 would only improve the basketball program's ability to compete on a national level.

What do you think? Ivy or Big 10 for Cornell?

17 comments:

Huckleberry Finn said...

Isaac Kramnick would write something like that...

Anonymous said...

no way. Cornell used to be well above Penn, Brown and Dartmouth academically even with our "state schools." Now only above Penn, and perhaps Columbia if they accurately reported their stats rather than pretending science and engineering were somehow separate. Put Cornell's arts and engineering together and we go head to head with every Ivy.

We need to concentrate on improving academics by minimizig contract school size and continue to maximize athletics by very strongly recruiting into those schools. The formula works. We are on the edge, under Andy Noel's leadership, of being the perennial Ivy power. Not a bad place to be...

Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Are you kidding? said...

At least Northwestern would finally have someone to pick on.

Anonymous said...

Makes sense. Cornell's only marginally an Ivy League school anyway. It definitely has a lot more in common with schools like Ohio State and Purdue than Princeton, Penn and Yale.

That said, we still wouldn't have the best academics in the conference -- Northwestern's still got the edge on us I'm afraid -- but we would probably be competitive in a handful of sports.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that Cornell is already on the way to being big 10 -- just stick it there.

They can bond w/ Iowa et al about their strong animal husbandry programs

ugarte said...

Is Ann Coulter guest editing CBB now?

Willy said...

Nice April Fools' gag!

Anonymous said...

This author's faulty assumptions lead to a faulty conclusion. Also his facts are wrong. Andrew Dickson White was educated at Yale, not Michigan.

Anonymous said...

In terms of endowment size, Cornell was above most other Ivy's (except HYP) before the crash. It's tough to gauge size after the crash since the private equity investments held by many others are illiquid and not priced (recorded @ fair value/cost not market value). In terms of geographical location, Dartmouth is in the sticks too, and Yale's location in New Haven is suspect if only urban metropolis locations are acceptable. In terms of "competitive" sports, Cornell doesn't have to worry. It's never going to have a nationally competitive football or basketball team. Who cares about hockey and LC? Most people are more interested in table tennis or pocket pool anyways. Hockey is for Canerdians. Perhaps Brown should be kicked out too if US News rankings are the say-all.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Actually, we are correct. AD White commenced his academic studies at Michigan and then later "transferred" to Yale.

Michael said...

also white was a professor at Michigan

me said...

you dont have a (good) football team. end of discussion.

Canadian Wolf said...

Cornell University should join the Big Ten Conference in order to enhance athletic revenues, research grants, its national prestige, and its ability to offer talent based scholarships. Cornell has more in common with Northwestern University & the University of Michigan and the other nine Big 10 institutions than it does with Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia & Yale. Visit the campuses of the Big Ten & Ivy League schools--as I have--and the truth will be clear = Mama Ivy League took home one too many babies from the hospital. Come home Cornell, your brothers miss you!

Sprint66 said...

No way, we belong in the Ivy League. While I would love to see Cornell play more Big Ten schools, academics come first, and no other conference beats the Ivy League. In terms of rankings, remember Cornell's mission is to provide a wide range of academic opportunities. We offer more fields of study than any other Ivy and that's what makes Cornell great!

Sprint66 said...

No way, we belong in the Ivy League. While I would love to see Cornell play more Big Ten schools, academics come first, and no other conference beats the Ivy League. In terms of rankings, remember Cornell's mission is to provide a wide range of academic opportunities. We offer more fields of study than any other Ivy and that's what makes Cornell great!

Spartan said...

Cornell? playing football with the likes of Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State? Really? We would take Notre Dame or Pitt before even thinking about cornell

signed, the BigTen