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The higher education community awoke this morning to stunning news: Princeton and Dartmouth are departing the Ivy League in order to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the home of powerhouse college football. 

Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber explained his school’s decision:  “We’ve always seen ourselves as more of a Southern school.  Our male faculty routinely wear white shoes, bow ties, and straw boaters to class, while our female professors have a fondness for hoop skirts with multiple petticoats.  The beverage of choice at University receptions is sweet tea.  Let’s face it, we have a lot more in common with Ole Miss than Yale.  Once we saw that Oklahoma and Texas were jumping to the SEC from the Big 12, we decided that the time was right for us.”

In contrast, Dartmouth’s decision was driven by a desire to broaden the education of its students.  As President Philip Hanlon put it, “many of our undergraduates don’t believe that places like Alabama actually exist.  In the future, when our football team travels to Tuscaloosa for away games, a chartered flight will transport every interested student to the contest.  Those who make the trip will receive one academic credit for participating in our study abroad program, as well as two foreign language credits. 

“We also want our student-athletes to encounter daunting physical challenges while in college, and the SEC offers those.  The average offensive lineman on our football team weighs 172 pounds, while the typical defensive lineman at an SEC school tips the scale at 493, just shy of a quarter-ton.  I’m sure our boys will learn something about themselves next season when they try to protect their quarterback from being sacked.”  

Tentative plans call for replacing Princeton and Dartmouth in the Ivy League with Phillips Exeter Academy and Deerfield Academy, two prestigious New England boarding schools.  Although neither school offers a bachelor’s degree, Harvard President Lawrence Bacow notes that “both institutions display the sort of commitment to academic excellence, elite networking, and Manifest Destiny that has characterized the Ivy League for generations.  And they always serve their cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.  That’s class, ladies and gentlemen.”