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Ivy League Athletes

Profiles in Excellence at America's Most Competitive Schools

Sal Maiorana

Publication Year: 2014

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing body for some 400,000 college athletes in the United States. During football's bowl season and basketball's March Madness, the NCAA likes to remind its millions of TV viewers that it represents student athletes: most of its members compete as amateurs and will never go pro. Somehow, that message seems increasingly lost in a sea of multi-million dollar TV deals, recruitment scandals, back-channel payouts, fan hysteria, player misbehavior both civil and criminal, and the routine bending--or flouting--of college and NCAA rules about player academic eligibility.

Far from this madding crowd, the nation's oldest, most prestigious private colleges and universities go about the business of making scholar-athletes from the ranks of their admitted classes, without special recruitment or scholarship money, and demanding and getting the best from them both on the field and in the classroom. Using a model that has changed very little since it was founded in 1954, the Ivy League offers a bracing corrective to the excesses of big-money college sports. In Ivy League Athletes, veteran sportswriter Sal Maiorana follows nine student-athletes from seven Ivy League campuses through the 2011-2012 season. Along the way he shows us the qualities of heart, mind, and body that got them there and allow them to prosper on the field and in the classroom. The book includes a foreword by former Harvard and current NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Published by: Northeastern University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Ryan Fitzpatrick

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pp. ix-xii

Legendary Harvard football coach Joe Restic stood before me and said, “Ryan, your time begins now.” This was one of the biggest days of my football career. It was the day of the East-West Shrine game, an all-star showcase that would allow me to measure my abilities against Division 1-A players from across the country. This was the day I would prove to the NFL scouts that an Ivy...

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pp. xiii-xx

On a brisk but bright late-spring morning in June of 1852, James Whiton glanced out the window of his train making its way north toward the White Mountains of New Hampshire on the Boston, Concord & Montreal line and saw to the East a serene stretch of water that lay below the hillside track....

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pp. xxi-xxxiv

In the October 1953 issue of the Rotarian, legendary Kansas University basketball coach Phog Allen and his fellow Rotarian, University of California football coach Lynn Waldorf, debated whether the NCAA should hire a czar to police intercollegiate athletics....


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Melanie Baskind, Harvard Women’s Soccer

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pp. 3-26

The one thing Melanie wasn’t going to do was cry, because, geez, how lame would that be? “Yeah, well, I opened my mouth and I started bawling,” Melanie recalled, laughing at the memory of those tears pouring out of her brown eyes and running down her cherubic cheeks....

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Ona McConnell, Yale Field Hockey

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pp. 27-51

Ona was no different than any other goaltender who had been recruited by coach Pam Stuper to play for Yale’s field hockey team. During her freshman year in the fall of 2009, Ona, like other first-year goalies before her, had one primary duty on game day: Videographer....

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Lucky Mkosana, Dartmouth Men’s Soccer

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pp. 52-76

Lucky Mkosana was ready, although he wasn’t quite sure what he was ready for. Over the course of several late-August 2011 days, the northern New England region, including the picturesque town of Hanover, New Hampshire, where Dartmouth College has lived and breathed for more than two...

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Alex Thomas, Yale Football

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pp. 77-106

When Tom Williams was introduced in January 2009 as the new head football coach at Yale University, he stepped behind a lectern set up in a conference room at historic Ray Tompkins House, looked out at the gathered media and various members of the Yale athletic and academic communities, and proudly announced in his confident and boisterous voice, “Welcome to a...


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Sheila Dixon, Brown Women’s Basketball

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pp. 109-134

During her sophomore year at Brown, Sheila was asked by Brown Bear Magazine to share the story of her upbringing for the Spring 2011 edition of the alumni publication, and Sheila happily and proudly agreed to do so. She wasted no time getting right to it as she started her piece this way:...

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Keith Wright, Harvard Men’s Basketball

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pp. 135-169

Keith will never forget the moment when an entire year’s worth of work—a career’s worth of work, really—went splat in the blink of an eye. Or, in this case, the splash of a last-second jump shot....

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Andy Iles, Cornell Men’s Hockey

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pp. 170-200

On a glorious early autumn Saturday afternoon in upstate New York, Cornell University was bursting with activity.
Under a cloudless sky and a blazing sun, dozens upon dozens of high school students and their parents were touring the rolling landscape,...


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Greg Zebrack, Penn Baseball

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pp. 203-225

It wasn’t his native Southern California, but it sure felt like it could be. Who said global warming was a bad thing? Certainly no one who lived in the Northeast in the non-winter of 2011–12. It was sixty degrees on this mid- January day in the City of Brotherly Love, and if Greg and a few of his Penn...

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Kyra Caldwell, Columbia Track

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pp. 226-246

When she looked up at the clock and saw her times, Kyra didn’t have much of a reaction, and her indifference had nothing to do with the typically stoic demeanor she displays on meet days. Quite simply, neither race—the 400-meter dash nor the 4 × 400-meter relay—had measured up to the lofty standards of the multiple-record-holding Columbia senior. Sure, for mid-January, in...

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Melanie Baskind, Harvard Women’s Lacrosse

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pp. 247-265

The first day of February meant it was back to work for Melanie. Not that she ever really took any time off.
“It’s been pretty hectic with school and everything,” she said, referring to the epoch between the end of soccer season and the beginning of lacrosse season as the Crimson held their first official practice....

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pp. 266-280

When Tommy Amaker stepped onto the Harvard campus to interview for the vacant men’s basketball job in the spring of 2007, he could feel history and tradition and achievement oozing from every building at America’s most prestigious university....

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pp. 281-286

When you embark on a nearly two-year-long journey such as this one, you cannot do it alone, and I didn’t.
First and foremost, I must give my sincerest thanks to the nine kids who are featured in this book. In no particular order, Ona McConnell and Alex...

E-ISBN-13: 9781555538408
E-ISBN-10: 1555538401
Print-ISBN-13: 9781555537906

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2014