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Rivals back at it one last time

Since the Ivy schedule came out, analysts have pegged this game as the game to determine the fate of the basketball season. March has come, and those predictions have come true. Columbia (21-9, 10-3 Ivy) may be out of the title picture, but they have a completely precedented opportunity to play spoiler to Yale (21-6, 12-1 Ivy) at 7 p.m. in the Dodge Fitness Center.

Columbia has the upper hand in this match-up. Playing at home in front of a sold-out Levien Gymnasium, the Lions are playing with very little to lose. The seniors especially should be playing with everything they can give in their final Ivy game. Furthermore, the Lions interior defense has greatly improved over the season, which should stop Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod from dominating the game like last time in New Haven. Yale, on the other hand, should be holding their breath. Yale is in a position to clinch a berth to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1962, but this is exactly where they were last year. In 2015, the Bulldogs famously collapsed against Dartmouth to force a one game Ivy playoff, which they lost to Harvard. These two seasons look eerily similar for Yale (they could be forced into a playoff again), so very few of their upperclassmen and fans should be expecting an easy win tonight.

But let’s put the basketball talk on hold for a moment. Let’s talk about the accusations of rape against Yale captain Jack Montague.

On February 10th, Yale announced that their senior guard and captain would not be playing with the team for personal reasons. On the 18th, the Yale Daily News reported that Montague was taking “a personal leave” from the team, and it came out on the 24th that Montague had withdrawn from the University.  These are not actions that a team captain takes during a possible championship run. Looking in from the outside, it was nice and sentimental when Montague’s teammates wore t-shirts to show support for their captain at their next home game.

But then, stuff got Ivy League. This past week, flyers have gone up all over campus urging the basketball team to “stop supporting a rapist.” While the reason behind Montague’s withdrawal is not yet public, these posters, which include a picture of the basketball team wearing their support shirts, are an accusation. If there are complainants in a sexual assault case, it would make sense for them not to come public – especially against a respected campus figure, the reactions against them would be Sulkowicz-ian at best. Now that we know from Montague’s father that Jack was expelled, discourse is getting even more heated.

This week, Jezebel reported, “Multiple students, speaking anonymously, told Jezebel that the [Yale] men’s basketball team is rumored to be planning a walkout at their March 5 game against Columbia.” Additionally, talk of a Yale forfeit has floated in the Dodge Fitness Center since at least Friday afternoon. This game, if it goes by without any hitches, will be important because of its ramifications on the Ivy League title. If Columbia wins, Yale could be spoiled again, and if the Bulldogs win, they’ll go to the NCAA’s with a miasma of accusations around them. But if this game features more shirts, statements, or walkouts, this will be a national news event that will once again put the Ivy League in the center of campus rape discourse.

Senior stars via Columbia Athletics / Yale Athletics