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Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League

The Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League was an athletic conference for men's college basketball, beginning with the 1901–02 season and ending with the 1954–55 season. Its membership ranged from four to eight members; all of these teams now compete in the Ivy League, which began play in 1955–56 and considers its men's basketball league to be a continuation of the EIBL.[1] The EIBL/Ivy is the oldest basketball conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association; the next oldest, the Big Ten Conference, began play in 1905–06.[2]

Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League
DivisionDivision I
Sports fielded
  • 1
    • men's: 1
    • women's: 0
Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League locations
Locations of EIBL schools.


The league was founded in the 1901–02 season by five schools: Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale University.[3] The league adopted the double round robin format that has since become standard for college basketball conferences, with each team hosting every other team once and in turn being hosted by all of the others once. Yale won the initial championship with a 5–3 record.[4]

The University of Pennsylvania was admitted to the league for the 1903–04 season, after securing temporary playing facilities.[5] The championships during the first few years were evenly divided between Yale, Columbia, and Penn, with the Bulldogs winning three times, and the other two schools winning twice each.[6] The league struggled in its first incarnation; there were many disagreements over the playing rules and eligibility, violent play was common, and on several occasions, teams failed to meet their obligation to play a complete league schedule.[7] Harvard had particular difficulties due to limitations placed upon them by the school's faculty, which forced the squad to drop out of the league in 1904–05 and 1907–08 (and to stop playing altogether between 1908–1909 and 1919–20).[8] These factors led to the collapse of the league, with no competition being held in 1908–09 or 1909–10.[9]

The league was reorganized in 1910–11 under the leadership of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Ralph Morgan, with Columbia, Cornell, Penn, Princeton, and Yale participating.[10] Dartmouth College joined the conference in 1911–12;[11] Yale dropped out in 1912–13, but returned the following year.[12] The conference remained stable at six teams from 1913–14 until 1932–33[6] (with a one-year suspension in 1918–19 for World War I).[13] Columbia and Cornell were successful early in this period, with the Lions winning two championships, the Big Red one, and both sharing a fourth (the only time a first-place tie was not broken by a playoff game).[6] The late teens and early ‘20s saw the rise of a great Penn team, winning three straight league championships and defeating the University of Chicago, champions of the Western Conference, in a best-of-three “national championship” series held at the end of the 1919–20 season.[14] This string was interrupted by Princeton, who finished first in 1922 and 1923,[6] and were themselves arguably national champions in 1925.[15] The late 20s and early 30s were mostly divided between Columbia and Penn.[6]

Harvard finally rejoined the league in 1933–34,[16] bringing membership to seven teams. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale all suspended their participation for varying lengths of time during World War II, reducing the league to as few as four members in the 1944–45 season; however, all three quickly resumed their places in the league within two years of the war's end.[17] The late 30s and early 40s saw the rise of a long-lived dynasty at Dartmouth, which won seven straight championships (still an EIBL/Ivy record) and made two trips to the finals of the new NCAA national championship tournament.[6] By contrast, the post-war period produced a high degree of parity, with every team except Harvard winning at least once between 1945–46 and 1953–54.[6]

During these years, the movement to officially form the Ivy League was gathering momentum, culminating in the 1954 extension of the institutions' formal agreement to govern football competition to include competition in all sports.[18] As part of this process, Brown University joined the league for its final two seasons,[19] and it was decided that the EIBL would be absorbed into the Ivy League beginning in 1955–56.[20] The EIBL went out with a bang in 1954–55, with Princeton emerging as the league's final champion from a three-way playoff with Columbia and Penn.[6]

Membership timelineEdit

Brown UniversityDartmouth CollegeUniversity of PennsylvaniaHarvard UniversityYale UniversityPrinceton UniversityCornell UniversityColumbia University 

League championsEdit

Season Champion[6] Record[6] Notes[21][22]
1901–02 Yale 5–3
1902–03 Yale 7–1 Yale retroactively declared national champions by the Helms Foundation.
1903–04 Columbia 10–0 Helms and Premo-Porretta national champions.
1904–05 Columbia 8–0 Helms and Premo-Porretta national champions.
1905–06 Pennsylvania 9–1 Dartmouth—Helms national champions.
1906–07 Yale 9–1
1907–08 Pennsylvania 8–0
1908–09 None -- No league play.
1909–10 None -- No league play.
1910–11 Columbia 7–1 Helms national champions.
1911–12 Columbia 8–2
1912–13 Cornell 7–1
1913–14 Columbia 8–2 Only co-champions in league history.
Cornell 8–2
1914–15 Yale 8–2
1915–16 Pennsylvania 8–2 Defeated Princeton in playoff.
1916–17 Yale 9–1
1917–18 Pennsylvania 9–1
1918–19 None -- League suspended due to World War I.
1919–20 Pennsylvania 10–0 Helms and Premo-Porretta national champions.
1920–21 Pennsylvania 9–1 Helms national champions.
1921–22 Princeton 8–2 Defeated Penn in playoff.
1922–23 Yale 7–3
1923–24 Cornell 8–2
1924–25 Princeton 9–1 Helms and Premo-Porretta national champions.
1925–26 Columbia 9–1
1926–27 Dartmouth 7–3 Defeated Princeton in playoff.
1927–28 Pennsylvania 7–3 Defeated Princeton in playoff.
1928–29 Pennsylvania 8–2
1929–30 Columbia 9–1
1930–31 Columbia 10–0
1931–32 Princeton 8–2 Defeated Columbia in playoff.
1932–33 Yale 8–2
1933–34 Pennsylvania 10–2
1934–35 Pennsylvania 10–2 Defeated Columbia in playoff.
1935–36 Columbia 12–0
1936–37 Pennsylvania 12–0
1937–38 Dartmouth 8–4
1938–39 Dartmouth 10–2 Brown selected to inaugural NCAA tournament as independent—lost to Villanova in first round.
1939–40 Dartmouth 11–1
1940–41 Dartmouth 10–2 Lost to Wisconsin in first round of NCAA's.
1941–42 Dartmouth 10–2 Defeated Princeton in playoff—lost to Stanford in finals of NCAA's.
1942–43 Dartmouth 11–1 Lost to DePaul in first round of NCAA's.
1943–44 Dartmouth 8–0 Lost to Utah in finals of NCAA's.
1944–45 Pennsylvania 5–1
1945–46 Dartmouth 7–1 Harvard selected to NCAA's as independent—lost to Ohio St. in first round.
1946–47 Columbia 11–1
1947–48 Columbia 11–1 Lost to Kentucky in first round of NCAA's.
1948–49 Yale 9–3 #11 in final AP poll; lost to Illinois in first round of NCAA's.
1949–50 Princeton 11–1
1950–51 Columbia 12–0 #3 in final AP poll, #5 in UPI poll; lost to Illinois in first round of NCAA's.
1951–52 Princeton 10–2 Lost to Duquesne in first round of NCAA's.
1952–53 Pennsylvania 10–2 Received bye in first round of NCAA's; lost to Notre Dame in second round.
1953–54 Cornell 11–3 Defeated Princeton in playoff—received bye in first round of NCAA's, lost to Navy in second round.
1954–55 Princeton 10–4 Defeated Columbia in playoff, who had defeated Pennsylvania in an earlier playoff; received bye in first round of NCAA's, then lost to LaSalle in second round.

Total championshipsEdit

Team Championships
Pennsylvania 13
Columbia 12
Dartmouth 9
Yale 8
Princeton 6
Cornell 4
Brown 0
Harvard 0


  1. ^ Columbia Athletic Communications (April 18, 2003). "Joseph Jones Named At Columbia". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  2. ^ For the EIBL starting date, see “Ivy Group”,, and “Division I Conference Alignment History” in the 2014–15 NCAA Men’s Basketball Records, p. 21, For the Big 10 starting date in basketball, see the 2014–15 Big 10 Men’s Basketball Media Guide, p.76, All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Daily Princetonian, “Intercollegiate Basketball Association Formation,” May 27, 1901, pg. 2, col. 1, and “Intercollegiate Basketball Schedule,” November 25, 1901, pg. 1, col. 2. All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "1901–02 Ivy Group Summary". Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  5. ^ For Penn’s admission, see “Basketball News,” Daily Princetonian, October 13, 1903, pg. 1, col. 3, retrieved January 17, 2015; for the temporary gym, see Zingg, Paul J., Pride of the Palestra: ninety years of Pennsylvania basketball. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1987, p.17.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ivy Group". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  7. ^ For disputes about playing rules, see “Basketball News,” Daily Princetonian, October 17, 1906, p. 1, col. 2; for disputes about eligibility, see “Intercollegiate Basketball,” Cornell Daily Sun, December 19, 1905, p. 8, col. 4. For roughness in the game, see “Princeton withdraws from basketball league,” Daily Princetonian, March 20, 1908, p. 1, col. 2, and “Review of 1908 Basketball,” Cornell Daily Sun, March 3, 1908, p. 1, col. 1. For games not being played, see “Basketball Practice Ceases,” Cornell Daily Sun, March 26, 1902, p. 3, col. 2, and “Athletic Committee Meeting,” The Harvard Crimson, February 18, 1904. All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  8. ^ “Intercollegiate Basketball Association Meeting,” Daily Princetonian, March 16, 1904, p. 1, col. 1, and “Harvard Leaves Basketball League,” The Harvard Crimson, April 29, 1907; for the program being dropped, see “Harvard Men’s Basketball All-time Results,”, All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Daily Princetonian, “Intercollegiate Basketball,” March 30, 1908, p. 1, col. 4, and “Notes from the Colleges: New Basketball League,” April 13, 1910, p. 4, col. 2. All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  10. ^ "Hall of Famers: Ralph Morgan" Archived August 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Basketball Hall of Fame ( Retrieved January 17, 2015. For league membership, see “Notes from the Colleges: New Basketball League.”
  11. ^ "Basketball Schedule for Coming Season". Daily Princetonian. November 28, 1911. p. 1. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Yale Daily News, “Basketball Will Be Continued,” October 17, 1912, p. 1, col. 4, and “Basketball Team in League,” September 27, 1913, p. 1, col. 2. All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Columbia Will Afford Home Five First Test". Daily Princetonian. January 30, 1919. pp. 1–2. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Pride of the Palestra. pp. 24–27.
  15. ^ According to the Helms Foundation: see Retrieved January 17, 2015
  16. ^ "Invitation from Hoop Association Accepted". The Harvard Crimson. May 24, 1933. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  17. ^ For Harvard's departure from and return to the league, see "Through Three Years of War," The Harvard Crimson, December 8, 1944, "Tiger Five to Open EIL Season Dec. 4," The Princeton Bulletin, November 15, 1943, p. 1, col. 2, and "25-Game Basketball Schedule Slated," The Harvard Crimson, October 25, 1946; for Princeton, see The Princeton Bulletin, “University Drops League Competition,” August 14, 1944, p. 1, col. 3, and “Princeton Basketeers Face Nineteen-Game Schedule,” November 16, 1945, p. 3, col. 2; for Yale, see “War-time Athletic Program Retains Four Varsity Sports,” Yale Daily News, March 26, 1943, p. 1, col. 4, “Tiger Five to Open EIL Season Dec. 4,”, and “Many Prospective Cagers Turn Out for Meeting,” The Daily Princetonian, March 28, 1946, p. 1, col. 3. All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  18. ^ Waters, William F. (February 11, 1954). "Eight Presidents Announce Formalized Football Group". Cornell Daily Sun. pp. 1, 12. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  19. ^ "Brown Basketball Squad will Enter EIBL in 1953". Brown Daily Herald. September 30, 1952. p. 3. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  20. ^ Apple, R. W.; Milton, John W. (December 10, 1954). "Ivy Leagues Created in Six Sports; Coaches Here See Little Change". The Daily Princetonian. p. 1. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  21. ^ For Helms and Premo-Porretta national champions, see; for NCAA tournament results, see NCAA Tournament History at; for poll results, see the individual seasons at Season Index Archived February 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, All retrieved January 17, 2015.
  22. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. pp. 529–87. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2.