Report: Ivy League Looking into Spring Football Season

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The conference that was ahead of the game this spring is also reportedly considering making sweeping changes to the college sports landscape next spring.

According to TMG Sports, one of the Ivy League’s pandemic-related ideas is moving its fall football season to the spring. TMG Sports reported that the Ivy League, which has eight football teams, is considering two options for the 2020-21 season. The first option is to hold a seven-game season from late September until a week before Thanksgiving, with each team playing each member of the conference once. The other option is to conduct a similar schedule in April and May.

Most of the college football world is currently still moving ahead as if the 2020 season will be played this fall. However, the Ivy League canceling its conference basketball tournaments due to COVID-19 this spring also started a trend that led to every NCAA event after mid-March being canceled.

Related content: College Leagues Cancel, Restrict Access to Tourneys

Ivy League schools haven’t opened yet, which has worked to their benefit according to conference executive director Robin Harris.

"Candidly, we benefit by not having these workouts typically in the summer and certainly not now with our campuses not yet open, so we are going to learn as others come back and we see what happens,” Harris said in a recent ESPN interview.

A spring season has been discussed in various ways throughout the pandemic, although the Ivy League — which typically plays a 10-game schedule — appears to be the furthest along. The conference has several inherent advantages in moving this season, as it doesn’t participate in the postseason, doesn’t depend as much on football for money and doesn’t have long distances between conference members.

"We're very fortunate in the Ivy League that most of our schools have iconic stadiums that hold tens of thousands of people," Robin Harris said in a recent ESPN interview. "Our crowds don't necessarily reflect the size of the stadium. It's easier to have social distancing when you have a stadium that holds 60,000 and our typical crowd is not that. For us, the crowds are easy to figure out in a way, and our schools are certainly working on that as well."

The pandemic has already had an impact, as Morehouse College and Bowdoin College have announced they are sitting out sports during the fall semester. A number of standalone events have also been canceled, including the University of Dayton announcing Monday that it has canceled its season-opening football game Sept. 3 against Southeast Missouri State.

“I feel badly for the players of both teams,” Dayton vice president and director of athletics Neil Sullivan said in the press release. “I know our guys are very disappointed. But the health and safety of our campus and our student-athletes has to be the priority. With the challenges related to COVID-19, we simply would not have time for our football team to be physically prepared with the proper exercise and heat acclimatization needed prior to our first game.”

Related content: Morehouse College Cancels Fall Sports Due to Pandemic

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