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The road to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is long, demanding and fraught with peril. There's the 26-game regular season. The pressures of weekly rankings. And for 311 of the 319 Division I teams, a post-season conference tournament to establish those final seedings for the Big Dance. But here in the Ivy League -- where Penn and Princeton have won 37 of the last 41 league titles -- there is no final test to determine which team heads to the NCAAs. Next year, the Ivy League will become the only Division I conference -- among 32 nationwide -- that will not feature a postseason conference tournament. The Ivy athletic directors argue that such a tournament would be a waste of money, considering the unique nature of Ancient Eight competition and the relative lack of interest among average college basketball fans. They further contend that the current, 14-game round robin season format provides an adequate basis for naming an Ivy League champion and conference representative for the NCAA Tournament. Such reasoning, we believe, does not serve to benefit the eight Ivy League teams or their fans. That's why it's time for the league -- and the presidents of its schools -- to start a postseason conference tournament. Ordinarily, Ivy competition comes down to two teams -- Penn and Princeton. And while we're more than happy to see the Red and Blue triumph year after year, we also think it's time for other teams to get into the act. An Ivy League tournament would do precisely that. It would involve more fans at more schools in the "March Madness" frenzy. And, even if structured to include the best two or four regular-season finishers, an Ancient Eight tourney would also build nationwide interest in a conference known more for its comparatively weak level of play than its stiff competition. Without question, the Ivy League is different from its peer athletic conferences. But it's time the conference's leadership takes a step away from that individuality and enact a format that's in the best interest of the fans and its member schools.

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