Ivy League Conference

ivy league conference

The Ivy League conference is an NCAA Division I athletic conference that comprises the eight private Ivy League universities. Schools in the Ivy League are some of the oldest and most prestigious in the United States.

History of The Ivy League

The eight Ivy League schools are very academically prestigious historic institutions, as they have produced countless impressive and successful alumni. The term “Ivy League,” derived from the ivy plants that covered the old buildings, not only refers to the athletic conference the universities compose but is also often used as a term to group the eight schools together in reference to their prestige and high academic standard.

The Ivy League schools have always been competitive in the athletic realm. The first meeting between two Ivy League schools took place in 1852; it was a rowing event between Harvard and Yale on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. 

In 1936, twenty years before the Ivy League conference was founded, the school newspapers of each of the eventual Ivy League schools except Brown all published an article to propose that they should collaborate in an athletic conference. It wasn’t until 1956 that the conference was officially founded, right after the NCAA’s Division I was created.

What schools are in the Ivy League?

The eight Ivy League universities are:

  • Harvard University (founded in 1636)
  • Yale University (founded in 1701)
  • University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1740)
  • Princeton University (founded in 1746)
  • Columbia University (founded in 1754)
  • Brown University (founded in 1764)
  • Dartmouth University (founded in 1769)
  • Cornell University (founded in 1865)

The Ivy League conference teams participate in 33 men’s and women’s sports. There are many rivalries within the conference, including Princeton and UPenn in basketball, Harvard and Cornell in ice hockey, and Harvard and Yale in football. Princeton and Penn have collectively won or co-won all except 11 conference championships in basketball, co-championing with each other four times. The Harvard and Yale football rivalry, whose annual matchup is nicknamed “The Game,” is each team’s final matchup of every year.

Unlike most Division I universities, Ivy League schools do not grant athletic scholarships to their athletes, with the exception of need-based scholarships. They do not allow redshirting or extending playing eligibility, with the exception of the 2020 COVID pandemic. Also unlike other athletic conferences, the Ivy League doesn’t participate in the FCS Playoffs. Football is the only sport that the Ivy League chooses not to participate in the playoffs. They compete in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament (March Madness) and the NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Tournament (the Frozen Four). 

List of Ivy League Teams By Division

  • Princeton University Tigers (Princeton, New Jersey)
  • Harvard University Crimson (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • Brown University Bears (Providence, Rhode Island)
  • Columbia University Lions (New York, New York)
  • Cornell University Big Red (Ithaca, New York)
  • Dartmouth University Big Green (Hanover, New Hampshire)
  • Yale University Bulldogs (New Haven, Connecticut)
  • University of Pennsylvania Quakers (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)


What is the Ivy League conference?

The Ivy League conference is a Division I intercollegiate athletic conference made up of the eight private Northeastern schools: Princeton University, Brown University, Yale University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth University, Cornell University, and Columbia University. The term “Ivy League” originally only referred to the athletic conference but is now associated with the group of eight universities for academic and more cohesive purposes.

How many teams are in the Ivy League conference?

There are eight schools in the Ivy League conference: the Brown Bears, the Columbia Lions, the Cornell Big Red, the Pennsylvania Quakers, the Harvard Crimson, the Princeton Tigers, the Yale Bulldogs, and the Dartmouth Big Green. Not every university participates in every sport, and some sports only have either men’s or women’s teams.

What sports do Ivy League teams participate in?

Ivy League teams participate in a number of collegiate sports including:

Not every university participates in every sport. Also, some Ivy League schools do not have programs for both men and women in every sport.