Ivy League school officials announced Wednesday that all sports would be canceled until at least January amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The move to scrap games and matches in the fall is the first by a Division I NCAA conference, following in the footsteps of a handful of Division II and Division III schools.
As CBS News noted, the Ivy League could still choose to move its football season to the spring of 2021. But a source told the network that such a change would prove challenging.
“You can’t move all the sports to the spring; the logistics don’t work,” the source said.
Other than football, several other sports will be affected by the league’s decision, including soccer, basketball and cross country.
In a joint statement, the Ivy League Council of Presidents said, “As a leadership group, we have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students who attend our institutions, as well as the faculty and staff who work at our schools. These decisions are extremely difficult, particularly when they impact meaningful student-athlete experiences that so many value and cherish.
“We are entrusted to create and maintain an educational environment that is guided by health and safety considerations,” it added. “There can be no greater responsibility — and that is the basis for this difficult decision.”
Consistent with campus health & safety policies across the League, The Ivy League Presidents outline phased-in approach to intercollegiate athletics activity, including no competition prior to the end of the fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— The Ivy League (@IvyLeague) July 8, 2020
The Ivy League — comprised of deep-pocketed universities including Harvard, Yale and Princeton that rely less on their athletic programs to drive revenue compared with many other Division I schools — was the first conference to cancel its basketball league play March as COVID-19 began its rapid spread across the U.S.
Though that decision was initially met with some backlash, the NCAA, which organizes the athletic programs of many U.S. universities and colleges, soon followed suit. Observers believe the Ivy League’s decision to suspend sports for the fall could prove similarly influential.
The smaller colleges that so far have announced the cancellation of fall sports programs include Morehouse in Atlanta, which competes in Division II, and, in Division III, Williams in Massachusetts, Bowdoin in Maine and Swarthmore in Pennsylvania.
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