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