NPR examines Financial Aid and rise of the Ivies

In an article published three days ago, NPR examined the increasing financial aid offered at many Ivy schools and the rise of Ivy basketball that has resulted.

The article - citing Harvard coach Tommy Amaker and Crimson forward Kyle Casey - discusses the implications of the eliminating loans from financial aid. These loans that have that have largely been replaced by grants, which according to the article many football and basketball players receive, could help the Ivy become more competitive with schools that offer full or partial athletic scholarships.

The recent success of Jeremy Lin and Harvard's rise to the AP Top 25 for a large part of the season has catapulted the Ancient Eight into the daily conversation of college basketball.The NPR story follows a string of articles to unearth the truth about Ivy League athletics and the success of Ivy basketball. On Sunday, The New York Times published an article about Ivy Hoops as a long-time flag bearer for the college game. Two months earlier, the NYT also published an article to try and demystify the sensitive issue of Academic Index.

Here is the audio from the story on NPR:

Thursday and Wednesday in DP sports

  • In preparation for Friday's football supplement, David Bernstein offers a profile of a cornerstone of Villanova's defense.
  • I give an update on efforts to equalize the Ivy League's financial-aid landscape.
  • The men's tennis team is back to business already.
  • Wednesday I filed a profile of Daniel Kuhn, the football team's director of operations, who tells me that he was "inundated" with autograph requests today in response. Two of our football aficionados also looked at the most pressing issues facing the Quakers on defense and special teams.

Debating financial aid

I reported today on fears of an arms race of financial aid within the Ivy League and on Athletic Director Steve Bilsky's proposed solution -- athletic scholarships.

What's your reaction? Is a 'great divide' of haves and have-nots inevitable? How much would this hurt recruiting at schools like Penn? And what of Bilsky's near-endorsement of a limited scholarship system for the Ivy League?

Please also leave any questions you have about this issue. In the coming days I hope to speak with more Ivy League coaches about it, so stay tuned. I will be publishing more reaction to the aid initiatives and answering reader comments.

Trendsetters

Harvard once again one-upped the rest of the Ivy League -- just like it did on early decision -- by revamping and expanding its financial aid program. (Yale did its best to play catchup.) At some point, will Harvard's advantages in this department (a roughly $36 billion endowment) give it an edge over the rest of the conference when it comes to convincing recruits to leave scholarships on the table? Or will it force everyone to up their commitment and thereby help the League? I lean toward the latter. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

A few more thoughts from the Monmouth game: Overall, it was probably the best basketball the Quakers have played outside of the first half against North Carolina. There were downers; they still struggled to get the ball into the post without turning it over, and point guard play was erratic. But they hit 50% from the floor and didn't turn the ball over nearly as much in the second half, which should be encouraging.

My one prediction for winter break is that we'll see a few more players grab time in the frontcourt, like freshman Conor Turley did. Glen Miller said after the game that Penn had to adjust and spread the floor in the second half, because in one-on-one situations down low Monmouth was getting the better of every play. The main culprits there were Jack Eggleston and Justin Reilly.

He also said he was pleased that his team didn't seem to be as reliant on the three-pointer as it was earlier this year, and he suggested that he would like to see the Quakers take fewer threes in the future, too.

The biggest question mark of the night was Harrison Gaines' lack of minutes, and I don't really have an explanation there.

Kevin Egee wasn't with the team at Monmouth, and seperately, I spotted Remy Cofield on crutches outside Franklin Field today, so there's two more items to keep an eye on in the coming days.

Monmouth-Penn also gets the award for 'smallest media contingent ever' -- two DP reporters, myself included, and one from the Ashbury Park Press in the Hawks' weight room. Aaawkward.