The Ivy League athletic conference consists of Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. The schools are known for their long histories of academic excellence, with all except Cornell having been founded prior to the American Revolution.
The Ivy League is an NCAA athletic conference, with all of the schools participating in Division I in both football and basketball and many other sports. Though the conference was officially named in 1954, the tradition of athletic competition between the schools goes back much further, with the 1906 football game between Harvard and Yale often credited as the birth of modern American football.
Athletics aside, "the Ivies," as the member schools are sometimes called, are known primarily for their rigorous approach to academics and their reputations as prestigious centers of higher learning. Five of the top 10 (and four of the top five) universities in the U.S. News & World Reports rankings of national universities are Ivy League schools, as are the 11th, 13th, and 16th ranked schools in the same list. All the Ivy League schools are private institutions, though on average they are much larger than most private schools, especially in the case of Penn, Harvard, Cornell, and Columbia, which have enrollments averaging over 20,000 students.