The 2019-20 Ivy League basketball season will be the last to feature the the signature back-to-back games on six different Friday and Saturday nights, as the League announced Tuesday that a new 10-week schedule for both the men and women that will be adopted for the forthcoming two seasons.
The current eight-week schedule features six weekends with a pair of games each and a pair of single contests against each school's "travel partner" – Penn and Princeton, for example.
But based on a year-long planning process that took input from coaches, administrators and student-athletes, it was decided to spread the season over two more weeks to minimize the impact of grueling weekends on the student-athletes themselves.
“Understanding that scheduling is always a challenge with competing interests, this new format accomplishes two of our chief priorities: to create a structure that is fair and equitable over time and continues to minimize the impact on missed class time for our student-athletes,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris wrote in a statement.
To accommodate the new 10-week Ivy schedule, Penn men’s basketball will play all of its Big 5 games before the start of the 2021 calendar year, per comments from coach Steve Donahue last week.
With the new schedule starting play on Jan. 2 for all 16 teams, the final week will still occur in the beginning of March, allowing for the Ivy League Tournament to be played the following week.
The new schedule still features three weekends of back-to-back games, with the first pair taking place in the second weekend of January, which is also the second week of the new conference schedule. The other back-to-back weekends will occur in Week 6 and Week 8, with a final two-game sequence in Week 3 with contests on Saturday and Monday, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.