Ivy League cancels spring sports due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Ivy League will go an entire year without holding sports competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Thursday, the Ivy League confirmed that it will not conduct spring seasons. 

“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 not to hold league competition or host league championships this spring,” the conference said in a prepared statement. “While acknowledging that the current public health environment is not compatible with a traditional Ivy League season, the Council has also put in place a process that may allow for limited, local competition during the spring if public health conditions improve sufficiently to allow greater levels of in-person activity at Ivy League campuses.” 

The Ivy League continued: 

“These decisions are grounded in public health best practices and informed by the pandemic related policies currently in place at member institutions. The ability of the league’s members to continue on-campus operations during the ongoing pandemic requires rigorous limitations on travel, visitors, gatherings, and other elements that are essential for intercollegiate athletics competition.” 

Additionally, the league said: “If public health conditions substantially improve and if permitted by an institution, local non-conference competition may be allowed to occur this spring. These competitions will be subject to league stipulations and must remain consistent with institutional policies for comparable co-curricular activities, including applicable travel restrictions for on-campus students and university visitor policies.” 

While the majority of Division I conferences held football, basketball, and other sports seasons amid the health crisis, the Ivy League canceled fall and winter sports because of the uncontrolled virus outbreak. The hope is that vaccine rollouts occurring throughout the country will allow the conference to host competitions in the fall. 

“We know that this news will come as a disappointment to many in our community,” the league said in its statement. “We regret the many sacrifices that have been required in response to the pandemic, and we appreciate the resilience of our student-athletes, coaches and staff in the face of adversity during this difficult and unusual year. While we would like nothing better than to deliver a complete season of competition, these are the necessary decisions for the Ivy League in the face of the health concerns posed by the ongoing and dangerous pandemic. We will continue to monitor the situation as we move forward so that our universities can determine whether Ivy League principles and evolving health conditions might allow for limited, local competition later this spring.”

Last week, the Ivy League announced it was changing a rule and permitting senior student-athletes to play one last season as graduate students but only for 2021-22 campaigns. 

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