At least one NCAA Division I conference will sit out this winter.
The Ivy League, which was also the first conference to start canceling events last spring, announced Thursday that it won’t hold any winter sports competition in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 that league schools will not conduct intercollegiate athletics competition in winter sports,” the release reads.
“The unanimous decisions by the Ivy League Council of Presidents follow extended consideration of options and strategies to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, an analysis of current increasing rates of COVID-19 — locally, regionally and nationally — and the resulting need to continue the campus policies related to travel, group size and visitors to campus that safeguard the campus and community.”
The announcement added that fall sports, which were postponed, will not have makeup seasons during the spring semester and that spring sports won’t start until at least the end of February.
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“This is heartbreaking, this isn’t the decision any of us want to make,” Ivy League executive director Robin Harris told NJ Advance Media. “I’ve been through this now twice, and I didn’t want to have to go through this again, and if you had told me in March I’d be doing this again. I wouldn’t have believed you. And same thing in July. I can’t believe we’re here again.”
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While competition is off, enrolled student-athletes will be allowed to practice and train as long as they follow regulations. Athletes won’t lose any eligibility in the NCAA or the Ivy League, which consists of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.
The Ivy League Council of Presidents released the following statement:
“Throughout the last nine months, we have asked our campus communities to make extraordinary adjustments in order to do our part in combating the global pandemic and to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty members, staff and the communities in which they live and work.
“Regrettably, the current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletics competition in a safe manner.
“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. 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.
“We look forward to the day when intercollegiate athletics — which are such an important part of the fabric of our campus communities — will safely return in a manner and format we all know and appreciate.”