Ivy League baseball may have new look next year, considering four-team tournament like basketball

(photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

As Yale anticipates playing in the Ivy League’s divisional championship series next weekend, word has come that the conference is considering changing its format drastically next year, resulting in no divisions and a four-team playoff similar to its basketball tournament.

Presently, there are two divisions in baseball. Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown are in the Red Rolfe Division. Columbia, Penn, Princeton, and Cornell make up the Lou Gehrig Division.

It was revealed today on ESPN3 that the Ivy League is considering eliminating divisions beginning in 2018. Each team would play three games against the others. And, contrary to the 7-inning games that have been played in the openers of doubleheaders, all contests would be a full 9-innings of baseball.

We don’t know at this point whether games would be home and home or if each three game set will be in one ballpark.

When the regular schedule ends, the top four finishers would go to the Ivies’ version of the “post-season.” Basketball uses the 1-4 and 2-3 format, and it is expected the same lineup would be drawn in baseball.

Yale was in the Ivy League’s first divisional playoffs, which it won over Columbia in 1993, John Stuper’s first year as coach. The current Bulldogs, still under Stuper, could go full cycle 24 years later by being one of the teams in the very last such championship series which will ever take place.

It could be as early as next weekend if Yale wins one of its four remaining games against Brown or Dartmouth loses one out of four to Harvard. With Penn and Columbia splitting a pair today (Friday), the Quakers need one victory at home on Saturday.

Should Columbia win both Saturday games, however, the Lions will be tied with Penn atop the Gehrig division, and force a playoff which could delay the championship series another week.

It would be quite a coincidence if Columbia were to win the Gehrig Division and meet Yale in the title series. That could result in Columbia and Yale once again meeting for the title and a NCAA berth, just like in 1993, when it all started.

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