The Ancient Eight

College Football's Ivy League and the Game They Play Today

Coming Soon


By John Feinstein

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$20.99 CAD

Award-winning, bestselling author John Feinstein chronicles a year inside Ivy League Football, unveiling the heart and soul of college football’s oldest teams as they compete at an elite level in a conference that prizes tradition—amid a rapidly changing and increasingly monetized collegiate sports world.

The history of the Ivy League dates back to 1869 when Princeton played the first college football game against Rutgers. That storied history, however, is not what this book is about. Rather, The Ancient Eight explores Ivy League football today. Why? Because the conference is underrated. NFL rosters typically feature about a dozen former Ivy players. To play in the league, one must maintain the highest academic standards and be a great football player. The rivalries are as intense as in the SEC or the Big Ten, even if the linemen aren’t quite as large. There are arcane rules forbidding participation in the NCAA postseason, not allowing eligible graduate students to play, and scheduling ten straight weeks without a bye. But there is also a genuine purity—not one that’s made up for marketing purposes—in the Ivy League.

Through intimate interviews with players, coaches, and key figures, Feinstein uncovers the unique culture that defines football on the Ivy League gridiron, offering unparalleled access to the remarkable coaching staffs and student-athletes who balance their academic ambitions with their passion for the game. The story of the 2023 season began tragically when longtime Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens suffered fatal injuries in a bicycle accident, and one of his players, Joshua Balara, died of cancer the same day. But Dartmouth would persist to shockingly win a share of the Ivy championship, along with both Harvard and Yale—the result of a nail-biting 138th meeting of those two schools in The Game. On the field, inside the locker room, and around campus, The Ancient Eight reveals the phenomenal stories of the young men who play in today’s Ivy League and those who coach them.

On Sale
Nov 12, 2024
Page Count
352 pages
Hachette Books

John Feinstein

About the Author

John Feinstein is the author of forty-five books, including two #1 New York Times bestsellers, A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled. His mystery novel, Last Shot, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for mystery writing in the Young Adult category. He is a member of six Halls of Fame and is a contributing columnist for The Washington Post. Additionally, he does color commentary for VCU basketball, George Mason basketball, and Longwood basketball. He is also does commentary for the Navy radio network and is a regular on The Sports Junkies in his hometown of Washington, DC.

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