A move that has been brewing behind the scenes for several months will be announced in London later this week. Oxford and Cambridge universities in Great Britain will join Heps in 2014-15 and will participate in all three Heptagonal Championships.
“The 2015 Outdoor Heps will be taking place in Oxford,” said a head coach who wished not want to be identified. “I think it will be a good thing. Happy to see the presidents finally understanding that in today’s world you don’t always have to be in class to learn. And I hear that it was Lord Seb Coe himself who initiated this entire discussion.”
The Championships will take place on the Roger Bannister Running Track at the Iffley Road Sports Complex on May 2-3, 2015. Oxford has committed to expanding its track to eight lanes in accordance with Heps’ guidelines. Agreements have been made between the universities to ensure class time — through the use of technology — remains paramount while the athletes are abroad.
Neither Oxford nor Cambridge wishes to compete in NCAA Championships, so the rules and regulations of the college governing body shall not impact impact their inclusion. Graduate students have been known to compete into their late 20s at the British institutions.
“None of the coaches objected,” said another inside source. “I think that they realize that Oxford and Cambridge aren’t that good and don’t have the depth to challenge too much. But I hear that both of those programs are now actively courting athletes from the Caribbean. This will be fun!”
While U.S. conference alignment has been focused on penetrating mid-level markets, the likes of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Richmond, this move will ensure a deep Ivy presence in London and beyond. In fact, Heps would be the lone American collegiate conference in Great Britain, which claims 65 million residents. Both Oxford and Cambridge are little more than an hour from the heart of London.
“I hear we are in talks with McGill and Toronto to have a 12-team league,” said one mid-level League official. “It is funny that this is starting with track, but I think that it is a mere matter of time until we have our own 12-team league across the board… maybe not football.”
Between Montreal and Toronto, there are 10 million more folks living within those census metropolitan areas.
Formally established in 1956, the Ivy League has never added or lost a member school, but for most of its history, the Heptagonal Games Association was a 10-team conference which included Army and Navy. Army left for the Patriot League in the mid-1990s. The Navy women also committed to the Patriot League fully in 2003, prompting the Ivy athletics directors to give the Midshipmen the boot on the men’s side as well.
NOTE: This was HepsTrack’s April Fools joke for 2013. Oxford and Cambridge are not joining Heps.