TD Ierlan Reflects on Career as Ivy League Schools Levy Eligibility Rulings

PHOTO BY KEVIN P. TUCKER

TD Ierlan doesn't think he will transfer to a third school after Yale's ruling.


TD Ierlan has already transferred once, leaving Albany after his sophomore campaign for Yale, a school at which he’s participated in an NCAA championship game and set countless NCAA records.

Transferring a second time doesn’t seem feasible for the all-time faceoff great.

“I think two schools is a good limit for me,” Ierlan said on Friday. “I’d pass on a third school. That’s a little bit too much.”

This came hours before a report by the Associated Press stating that Yale (as well as Harvard) would follow the same path as Princeton, which announced last week that spring student-athletes would not be given a waiver to compete as fifth-year seniors, even if they withdrew from the university and reenrolled to preserve their eligibility.

On April 2, the Ivy League announced it would keep with league tradition by not allowing graduate students to compete in athletics.

“If it comes to the point where I have to play another year of lacrosse at a different school, I just don’t know if it’s worth it,” Ierlan said.

Other Ivy League seniors are now facing the same question, though other institutions within the league have yet to announce their intentions.

A spokesperson at Brown told US Lacrosse Magazine that men’s coach Mike Daly and his staff are “working through the league process and our institutional guidelines,” which provides little clarity as to which direction Brown is leaning.

Penn is reportedly willing to work with its student-athletes to accommodate extra eligibility, though a request for comment was not immediately returned. Representatives from Dartmouth and Columbia also did not immediately provide comment.

When asked last week, a Cornell spokesperson did not have any additional information.

“I’m aware that other Ivy League schools have been making decisions regarding this, but I do not have any information pertaining to Cornell on this matter at this time,” the spokesperson said.

The Ivy League — in both men’s and women’s lacrosse — was a powerhouse of heavy-hitters during the shortened 2020 season. Ierlan, Michael Sowers and Jeff Teat had their respective teams primed for playoff runs, while Penn, Brown and Dartmouth had the makings of contenders, too.

On the women’s side, Penn, led by Gabby Rosenzweig and Erin Barry, was ranked seventh in the most recent Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Women’s Top 20. Dartmouth and Princeton were also ranked with Katie Bourque and Tess D’Orsi leading their respective squads.







Ierlan, the owner of 12 NCAA records, is the most accomplished of the bunch. He was preparing to play Cornell and his younger brother, Chayse, in Yale’s upcoming contest when he saw athletic director Vicky Chun walking on to the field.

“It’s rare when an athletic director will walk on to the field like that,” Ierlan said. “That’s the first time that’s happened. They dropped the news and told us our season was canceled.”

Ierlan broke down.

“You want to hold onto hope as long as possible,” he said. “For all of us guys, we were just trying everything that we could to make it work. It didn’t seem to be feasible based on what the administration was telling us.”

Because some other leagues and universities have already announced they will permit spring student-athletes to return in 2021, Ierlan said watching his peers continue their college careers will be painful.

“The thing that’s most frustrating for us is that we’re going to be seeing other people playing an extra year of lacrosse, people from our class and in different conferences,” he said.

But Ierlan, one of the greatest faceoff specialists in the sport’s history, provided a succinct ending to this chapter of his lacrosse career — if this actually is the end.

“If this is the end, I want to thank everyone that’s been a part of it,” he said. “I want to thank Albany for an incredible two years. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. To Yale and Coach Shay, I want to thank Coach. For a small kid coming from a conference that wasn’t looked at as top notch in college lacrosse, he took a risk on me. I’ve been fortunate wherever I’ve been.”

Nelson Rice also contributed to this story.

TD Ierlan's
NCAA Records

Record

Total

Faceoff Wins (Career) 1,159
Faceoff Wins (Single Season, 2019) 393
Faceoff Wins (NCAA Tournament Game, 2019) 31
Winning Percentage (Career) 75.3
Winning Percentage (Single Season, 2018) 79.1
Winning Percentage (Single Game, 2019) 100.0
Ground Balls (Career) 810
Ground Balls (Single Season, 2019) 293
Ground Balls (Single Game, 2019) 29
Ground Balls (NCAA Tournament Game, 2019) 29
Ground Balls Per Game (Career) 13.5
Ground Balls Per Game (Single Season, 2019) 15.4

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