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College Football: A Look at Ivy League Football Stadiums

Alan BlackAnalyst IIIApril 9, 2012

College Football: A Look at Ivy League Football Stadiums

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    The Ivy League schools are full of rich tradition, dating back centuries.  The same goes for their football stadiums, many of which are hallowed ground as far as football tradition is concerned.  Let's take a look at the different football stadiums home to each of the Ivy League's eight football teams.  Some are newer than others, some are larger than others, but each is a unique part of college football history.  So here are these tabernacles of football tradition, in alphabetical order (according to school name).

Brown Stadium (Brown)

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    Location: Providence, Rhode Island

    Year built: 1925

    Capacity: 20,000

    The most noticeable feature of Brown Stadium is the unique trapezoid-shaped southwest stands, emblazoned with the school's logo.  It has been like that since the stadium opened in 1925. 

    The stadium has undergone multiple renovations throughout its history.  New aluminum benches were installed in 1978.  In 1988, new sprinklers were installed and aesthetic improvements were made throughout the stadium.  The home team was given a new locker room in 1991.

    In 2011, the first-ever home night game took place at Brown Stadium.  The Bears celebrated this momentous occasion by defeating Harvard.

    Although the Brown Bears football team doesn't have much national recognition nowadays, they still have one of the most unique, recognizable stadiums in all of football, thanks to those southwest stands.

Wien Stadium (Columbia)

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    Location: Manhattan, New York

    Year built: 1984

    Capacity: 17,000

    Wien Stadium isn't nearly as rich in tradition as most of the other Ivy League stadiums, having opened a mere 28 years ago, making it a newcomer by Ivy League standards.  What does have plenty of tradition behind it, however, is the stadium's full name.  It is officially known as Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at Baker Athletics Complex.  That's many decades worth of rich donors honored right there in the name.

    The stadium also has a prime location, sitting on the northern tip of the island of Manhattan, right next to where the Harlem and Hudson Rivers meet.  That makes for quite the view when attending a game at Wien Stadium.

    It took a little while for Wien Stadium to really feel like "home" for the Columbia Lions.  They didn't get their first win there until 1988, four years after it first opened.

    Wien Stadium may not have the tradition of the other Ivy League stadiums, but it does have arguably the best location and view in the league.

Schoellkopf Field (Cornell)

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    Location: Ithaca, New York

    Year built: 1915

    Capacity: 25,597

    Schoellkopf Field is named in honor of former Cornell head coach Henry Schoellkopf.  After he committed suicide in 1912, friends and family made large donations to Cornell in his memory, which wound up being used to construct a Memorial Hall and a stadium.  So from its very beginnings, the stadium was rich with tradition.

    Like Brown Stadium, Schoellkopf Field also has one of the most unique stands in all of football.  The east stands are lovingly referred to as the "Crescent," due to its unorthodox shape.  It has been that way since 1924.

    The Memorial Hall is behind the north end zone and contains the locker rooms and training facilities for the team.  Renovated in 2006, it will be a beacon of tradition for a long time to come.

    Cornell's Stadium practically radiates tradition.  Few stadiums have half as much of it as Schoellkopf Field.

Memorial Field (Dartmouth)

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    Location: Hanover, New Hampshire

    Year built: 1923

    Capacity: 15,600

    Memorial Stadium was named in honor of the Dartmouth students and alumni who served and died in World War I.  Talk about a worthy namesake for a stadium.

    Memorial Field figures to be in use for quite a while to come, having been renovated in 2006.  The grass was replaced with turf, and the large track was installed around the field.  Now a variety of athletes from many different sports will get to experience the majestic tradition of Memorial Field, as the renovations turned it into a year-round-use stadium. 

    While the renovations may have shrunk the previous capacity of 22,000, they didn't take away from the history and tradition of Memorial Field.  It will continue to stand for a long, long time as a tribute to those Dartmouth students and alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Harvard Stadium (Harvard)

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    Location: Boston, Massachusetts

    Year built: 1903

    Capacity: 30,323

    Harvard Stadium is one of the legendary stadiums of college football.  To step inside its confines is to set foot on hallowed football ground.

    It was the very first permanent reinforced concrete stadium in college football.  That was revolutionary for its day.  Think of it as the Jerry World (new Dallas Cowboys stadium) of its era.  At the time, it was easily the most grandiose football stadium ever constructed and set the standard for all the stadiums that followed.

    The stadium also had a very profound impact on the game of football itself.  At the time, injuries were a huge problem in football.  One of the leading suggestions for reducing injuries was to widen the field.  However, Harvard Stadium's narrow confines could not accommodate a wider field.  So, alternate solutions were found, including the implementation of the forward pass in 1906. 

    There may be larger, more modern football stadiums now, but no football stadium will ever have the same impact or importance as Harvard Stadium.

Franklin Field (UPenn)

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    Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Year built: 1895

    Capacity: 52,593

    Franklin Field is the oldest college football stadium still in use.  It was also the site of the first scoreboard in football, erected in 1895 when the stadium opened.

    The stadium's current configuration is a little bit more recent, having been completed in 1925, making these bleachers a mere 87 years old.  They replaced the original wooden bleachers.

    If that isn't enough tradition for you, consider the fact that the "Franklin" in Franklin Field is named after Benjamin Franklin, who founded the school.  How many other football stadiums are named after founding fathers?

    The Stadium is also a part of more recent history.  In 2002, it became the first-ever FCS stadium to host College GameDay, as an undefeated Penn team thrashed a previously unbeaten Harvard team, 44 to 9, to capture the Ivy League title.

    It may not have the amenities or capacity of the Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field, but the grandest football stadium in the city is easily Franklin Field.

Princeton University Stadium (Princeton)

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    Location: Princeton, New Jersey

    Year built: 1998

    Capacity: 27,773

    Princeton University Stadium may be new, but it is still full of tradition.  Replacing the legendary Palmer Stadium, the exterior of the stadium is a copy of Palmer Stadium.  Talk about honoring tradition.

    When the new stadium was constructed, a new track was built adjacent to it.  In Palmer Stadium, the track was around the field, so moving it outside the stadium allows the spectators to be closer to the action in Princeton University Stadium.

    Despite its young age and modernity, Princeton University Stadium does a fantastic job of honoring its team's rich football heritage.  Only in the Ivy League is a new stadium still full of tradition.

Yale Bowl (Yale)

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    Location: New Haven, Connecticut

    Year built: 1914

    Capacity: 64,246

    If you are wondering what kind of tradition the Yale Bowl has, all you need to know is that in 1987 it was declared a National Historic Landmark.  That alone should signify how important a stadium it is.

    The "bowl" was built by digging out the playing surface and then using the excavated dirt to make an oval berm, with the seating then being constructed inside this berm.  That makes it the very first "bowl" stadium in all of college football.  Considering that several of the other great football stadiums in college football are also bowls, the Yale Bowl has quite an important role in the tradition and history of college football.

    It is also the largest college-owned stadium in FCS football.  If Yale played at the FBS level, the Yale Bowl would still be in the top half of all stadiums in the league, capacity-wise.

    If you are ever in the northeast in the fall, it is definitely worth making a trip to go see one of the most significant, important stadiums in the nation—the Yale Bowl.

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