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Ivy League Cancels Winter Sports, Delays Spring

The Ivy League became the first NCAA Division I conference to officially cancel its winter sports season, according to an ESPN report.

In addition to canceling the winter sports season, the Ivy League also announced the postponement of spring sports until at least the end of February, and won’t conduct competition for fall sports during the spring semester.

ivy league
Photo: Angela Radulescu / Creative Commons

These were unanimous decisions made by the Ivy League Council of Presidents, according to ESPN.

“This is definitely not a decision we want to make, but I know it’s the right decision for the Ivy League,” Robin Harris, the conference’s executive director, told ESPN.

“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,” the Ivy League said in a release.

Back in March, the Ivy League was the first conference to cancel its men’s and women’s conference tournaments. Additionally, it was also the first major NCAA conference to announce it wouldn’t hold fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to men’s and women’s basketball being canceled, wrestling, indoor track and field, swimming, and fencing also fell victim to the announcement.

“We are heartbroken to be here again,” Harris said to ESPN. “It’s based on the current trends of the virus and rates and the impact that has on our campus policies that are going to continue to restrict travel, group gathering sizes, visitors to campus. Athletics is important to all of our schools, to our presidents. All aspects of campuses are being asked to make sacrifices and change the way they operate, and unfortunately, that has extended into athletics as well.”

“We did look at that as an option, and ultimately the presidents didn’t want to hold out false hope,” she continued to ESPN. “We couldn’t compete until at least the end of February. To say to winter sports, maybe we could start in early March when that seems like such a slim possibility, they didn’t want to hold out false hope.”

In its statement, the Ivy League Council of Presidents said the trend for transmission of COVID-19 overwhelmed the desire for athletic competition, according to ESPN.

“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,” the council said. “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.”

To read the full report from ESPN on the Ivy League canceling the winter sports season, click here