Back in 1969, UPenn began "The Line." The day before season tickets would go on sale, thousands of students would camp out overnight in the Palestra to be first in line. On Friday night, for the 2011 edition of The Line, 50 fans showed.
Despite playing in one of the nation's most beautiful arenas, seats for Penn games aren't hard to come by. So the season tickets aren't the draw. The real prize was first dibs at tickets to the NCAA tourney, which the Quakers made more often than they didn't. But that's not the way of the world anymore. Penn hasn't won the Ivy League since 2007, and numbers at The Line are dwindling. 200 students in 2009, just 50 this weekend.
Amid calls to end the tradition, AD Steve Bilsky isn't budging. And I think that's probably the right move. One day Penn will again be the team to beat in the Ivies, and The Line will fill up again, and these lean years will be forgotten. You can't call something a tradition if you shut it down when things are glum.