Ivy League Votes to Forego Competition in Fall and Winter Sports for 2020-21

Anne Lepesant
by Anne Lepesant 11

November 12th, 2020 News

In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Ivy League Council of Presidents voted unanimously not to engage in intercollegiate competition in fall and winter sports at all during the 2020-21 season. Furthermore, they announced that intercollegiate competition in spring sports would be postponed until at least the end of February 2021.

The Ivy League had announced in July that it was canceling competition in all fall 2020 sports as well as early-season competition in winter sports due to the pandemic, but it left the door open for a possible spring season for fall sports such as football. Winter sports were not to begin until at least January 1, 2021. Now, the League’s most recent decision dashes those hopes. The Ivy League’s July announcement was the first postponement of fall sports by a Division I conference. Last spring, the League was also the first to cancel its swimming and diving season and when they pulled the men’s and women’s basketball conference tournaments due to coronavirus concerns, it foreshadowed the end of the 2019-20 basketball season. Two days later, the NCAA canceled March Madness.

Read the full Ivy League press release below:

PRINCETON, N.J. — Consistent with its commitment to safeguard the health and wellbeing of student-athletes, the greater campus community and general public, the Ivy League Council of Presidents has decided that league schools will not conduct intercollegiate athletics competition in winter sports during the 2020-21 season. In addition, the Ivy League will not conduct competition for fall sports during the upcoming spring semester. Lastly, intercollegiate athletics competition for spring sports is postponed through at least the end of February 2021.
The unanimous decisions by the Ivy League Council of Presidents 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. 
Athletics training opportunities and practices for enrolled student-athletes will be permitted, provided they are structured in accordance with each institution’s procedures and applicable state and local regulations. This approach is consistent with the phased approach implemented by the Ivy League for all sports in the fall 2020 term.
The Council will continue to closely monitor and evaluate the public health climate and consider changes to policies when warranted in order to return to more normal campus operations, including potential spring intercollegiate athletics competition.
Winter and fall sport student-athletes will not lose a season of Ivy League or NCAA eligibility, whether or not they enroll. Students who wish to pursue competition during a fifth-year of undergraduate education at their home institution, if permitted, or as a graduate student elsewhere will need to work with their institutions in accordance with campus policy to determine their options beyond their current anticipated graduation date.
The Ivy League Council of Presidents offered the following joint statement: 
Throughout the last nine months, we have asked our campus communities to make extraordinary adjustments in order to do our part in combating the global pandemic and to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty members, staff and the communities in which they live and work.
Regrettably, the 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.
Student-athletes, their families and coaches are again being asked to make enormous sacrifices for the good of public health — and we do not make this decision lightly. While these decisions come with great disappointment and frustration, our commitment to the safety and lasting health of our student-athletes and wider communities must remain our highest priority.
We look forward to the day when intercollegiate athletics — which are such an important part of the fabric of our campus communities — will safely return in a manner and format we all know and appreciate. 
Ivy League Council of Presidents
Christina Paxson, Brown University
Lee Bollinger, Columbia University
Martha Pollack, Cornell University
Philip Hanlon, Dartmouth College
Lawrence Bacow, Harvard University
Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania
Christopher Eisgruber, Princeton University
Peter Salovey, Yale University

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Great decision. Until Americans start taking the virus seriously, you can expect a lot more cancellations

2 years ago

So proud of the IVY Presidents. They demonstrate unparalleled vision. Why do other leadership groups not follow their lead? The SEC, NFL Football, Walmart should also close until this pandemic is halted. If only theIVYPresidents could somehow gain control of the world we all would be safe!

Creed Ko
Reply to  SwimFani
2 years ago

SwimFani, While I agree Ivy League made a great decision, others are just trying to stay in business. I’m sure you have seen how many businesses have permanently closed because of shut down restrictions. Or the Power 5 cuts recently? CSCAA on a zoom call said they were in contact with 4 additional schools currently considering dropping swimming… they included (but not named) 1 Big 10 school, 1 Big 12 school, and 2 Pac 12 schools. While shutdowns would ultimately help the health and safety, it would kill the financial viability. The argument of saved lives are more important than saved finances, ok, sure, but I think everyone is trying to find a balance so their industry/business and jobs within… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Creed Ko
Corn Pop
Reply to  SwimFani
2 years ago

Ivy League voting machines installed in every election or sanctioned!
Btw why do you guys need machines ? It’s just counting .

2 years ago

No Dean senior szn :/

Reply to  BSD
2 years ago

How about virtually meets between one another

Reply to  BSD
2 years ago

Dean is interning. He’ll be back next year and will crush COVID along with all non-believers!

Dean Farris Hater
Reply to  BSD
2 years ago


Reply to  BSD
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure he’s redshirting this year too. He’ll have his senior year he’ll just be another year. Excited to see a senior year casas vs Farris in a 100 back.

Reply to  BSD
2 years ago

Just transfer to Texas already.

Reply to  ReneDescartes
2 years ago

Texas will be transferring to Dean.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

Read More »