NASHUA, N.H. (BVM) — With unknowns still surrounding the future of sports during the coronavirus pandemic, the Ivy League decided it would go first in setting its direction for the upcoming season, postponing fall sports till 2021.
The Ivy League, made up of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, released an official statement on the matter.
“Amidst continuing health and safety concerns due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Ivy League Council of Presidents has set in place plans for intercollegiate athletics activity in the upcoming fall semester.
“With the safety and well-being of students as their highest priority, Ivy League institutions are implementing campus-wide policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus. As athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.”
In a joint statement, the Ivy League Council of Presidents also shared their concerns on the fall sports season.
“With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall.”
The Ivy League is the first Division I conference to postpone their fall season, setting a strategy for others to follow. For the time being, many of the athletic conferences have decided to switch their fall sports seasons to conference matchups only.
The Big Ten was one of the conferences to go to conference play for fall sports and announced some of their reasonings why.
“By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”
With the Ivy League setting an early precedent, other athletic conferences have recently followed including the Patriot League, the Centennial Conference, and the NJCAA.
Ivy League student-athletes will still be allowed to practice along with other athletic training opportunities, in accordance with each particular university’s procedures and state regulations. Student-athletes will also not lose a year of eligibility due to the postponement of the fall season and will have the opportunity to play a fifth-year.