Ivy League Cancels Sports Until 2021; Fall Sports May Play in Spring

The Ivy League has canceled all fall sports as well as early-season winter sports competitions, but is leaving open the option that some fall sports (namely, football) may play in the spring, multiple outlets are reporting.

Update: the league confirmed the reports Wednesday afternoon. Click here to view the full release.

Winter sports, like swimming, won’t have any competitions until at least January 1, 2021. The league will make a decision about winter sports practice schedules in mid-July, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

The decision is expected to have a widespread impact on college athletics, despite the conference’s relatively small athletic footprint. The Ivy League was the first to cancel its men’s basketball postseason tournament in March, with top conferences – like the Pac-12 – following suit shortly thereafter.

Some sports activities, like conditioning (under COVID-safe circumstances), may be permitted at individual institutions.

NCAA Division I Fall Sports:

  • Men’s & Women’s Cross Country
  • Women’s Field Hockey
  • Men’s Football
  • Men’s and Women’s Soccer
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Men’s Water Polo

The league also canceled all spring sports on March 11 and left it up to schools to determine if they would attend remaining winter sports championships, including in swimming, before those events were also canceled.

The Ivy League competes in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) of college football, formerly known as 1-AA. The Ivy League has a self-imposed restriction on participation in the FCS college football playoff.

Princeton, Brown, and Harvard sponsor NCAA Division I men’s water polo programs, though they compete in the NWCP Conference, and not in the Ivy League. The league has clarified that Ivy League schools will not participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester, even if sports, like men’s water polo, participate in other conferences.

Swimming’s most notable Ivy League attendee, Dean Farris, told SwimSwam in May that he planned to return to school next year following a would-be Olympic redshirt season. Under the new athletics schedule, Farris could theoretically train at Texas through the year and still compete for Harvard in the spring, if the pandemic allows.

Harvard and Princeton announced Monday that they will only invite students back to campus in groups segmented throughout the academic year. At Harvard, up to 40% of the undergrad population will be allowed on campus at once, with all freshmen coming in the fall and all seniors on-campus in the spring. Regardless of where students are based, however, they will take classes entirely online. At Princeton, freshmen and juniors will be allowed on campus in the fall, while sophomores and seniors will be there in the spring. Cornell and Penn have announced plans to welcome all students back to campus in the fall, with Cornell saying that they believe the university can make a safer environment on campus than at home.

Around the nation, additional schools are slowly releasing their plans for the fall. Some are opting for hybrid (part online, part in-person) formats, or to host classes entirely online. However, a new wrinkle has emerged from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s announcement Monday that international students can’t remain in the U.S. if their fall semesters are entirely online.

Last week, USC announced that it would move undergraduate instruction primarily online for the fall, save labs, studios, research courses, and selected others requiring in-person meetings; UCLA is taking a similar approach. The California State system announced in May that most of its campuses will remain closed for the fall semester.

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11 months ago

Does this address competition only? What does it mean for practicing?

Reply to  Swammer
11 months ago

Winter sports, like swimming, won’t have any competitions until at least January 1, 2021. The league will make a decision about winter sports practice schedules in mid-July, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

Reply to  Braden Keith
11 months ago

Don’t Ivy’s usually have a late start date for training for swimming normally? If all online, maybe Dean will stay in Austin to train?…..if sports are allowed to train this fall?

11 months ago

Next conference to make this decision will be PAC12 and then ACC and then everyone will quickly jump on board

Reply to  Yaboi
11 months ago

And pretty soon I have a feeling the NCAA will do something too with that

11 months ago

So are practices for these sports in the fall canceled as well?

Reply to  HUNTLEYJOnes
11 months ago

I guess

Reply to  HUNTLEYJOnes
11 months ago

Seems like that’s going to be handled on a sport by sport basis. Here’s Harvard’s answer:

Q: Even though we aren’t competing in Fall 2020, am I permitted to practice with my coach in-person if I am in the residential cohort?
A: Athletics practices will be dependent upon Harvard College’s policy for extracurricular gatherings during the Fall 2020 semester, and we will operate within the campus guidelines set for all students. Those decisions have not been made at this time and we will communicate updated practice policies as soon as possible.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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