The Ivy League will now go almost a full calendar year without intercollegiate athletic events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, after the conference’s presidents voted unanimously to cancel the 2020-21 fall and winter sports seasons and postpone the fall season through at least the end of February.
“(T)he current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletics competition in a safe manner,” the Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a statement released by the conference Thursday. The United States set a record on Nov. 11 with 143,408 reported new cases of COVID-19, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The conference said the cancellations and postponements “follow extended consideration of options and strategies to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, an analysis of current increasing rates of COVID-19 — locally, regionally and nationally — and the resulting need to continue the campus policies related to travel, group size and visitors to campus that safeguard the campus and community.”
The Ivy League was the first NCAA Division I conference to cancel events because of the pandemic. It called off its upcoming basketball tournaments on March 10 and then canceled its spring seasons on March 11. The conference announced July 8 that fall sports were postponed through the fall semester, although athletes were permitted to practice and train under certain conditions. Winter and spring athletes will be able to work out under similar conditions.
Fall and winter athletes will not lose a season of NCAA eligbility because of the cancellations, the conference said. Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships.
The eight universities in the Ivy League are spread out over seven states in the Northeast: New York (Columbia, Cornell), New Jersey (Princeton), Pennsylvania (Penn), Massachusetts (Harvard), Connecticut (Yale), Rhode Island (Brown) and New Hampshire (Dartmouth).