The Ivy League confirmed Thursday that winter sports would be cancelled for the 2020-21 season.Spring sports have been postponed until at least the end of February, and the league will not hold competitions for fall sports during the spring semester.
“This is not a decision we want to make,” Robin Harris, the Ivy League’s executive director, told ESPN. “But I know it’s the correct option for the Ivy League.”
The Ivy League Council of Presidents made these judgments unanimously.
The Ivy League said in a statement that “the Council will continue to monitor and analyse the public health monitor closely and analyse the public health climate closed to return to more normal campus activities, including probable spring intercollegiate athletics competition.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ivy League was the first conference to cancel men’s and women’s conference championships in March. It was also the first conference to say it would not hold fall sports.
It was the first league to cancel winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, on Thursday. Wrestling, indoor track and field, swimming, and fencing are the other sports affected.
“It’s heartbreaking to be back here,” Harris remarked. “It’s based on current viral patterns and rates, as well as the impact on our campus regulations, which will continue to limit travel, group gathering sizes, and campus visits. Athletics are vital to our presidents and all of our institutions. Campuses are being asked to make sacrifices and change their ways of doing things, and this has sadly extended to athletics.”
According to Harris, coaches and athletic directors in the league came up with other possibilities for running a season, including removing overnight stays and adjusting how they manage meals on the road. While those solutions would have reduced the danger to some extent, they were insufficient.
According to Harris, a conference bubble was never a viable option.
Winter sports might play a shorter season to establish a champion and send a team to the NCAA tournament, with spring sports delayed until at least the beginning of March.
“We looked at it as an option, but the presidents ultimately didn’t want to give false hope,” Harris said. “We wouldn’t be able to compete until the end of February at the earliest. They didn’t want to give false optimism by saying to winter sports, “Maybe we can start in early March,” when it seemed unlikely.”
The Ivy League Council of Presidents stated that the trend for COVID-19 transmission outweighed the demand for sports competitiveness.
The council stated, “Student-athletes, their families, and coaches are once again being asked to make huge sacrifices for the cause of public health — and we do not make this decision lightly.” “While we are disappointed and frustrated by these decisions, our commitment to the safety and long-term health of our student-athletes and wider communities must remain our top concern.”
While the Ivy League was the first domino to fall in March, every conference in the country is unlikely to follow the league’s lead this time.
“Based on current trends and our school regulations, and our presidents prioritising the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, and the wider campus communities, this decision is about what’s right and appropriate for the Ivy League,” Harris said. “Others will be tasked with making the best choices for their schools and conferences. It’s difficult to forecast the future, and the current trends are not encouraging.”
It isn’t easy is. The Ivy League has not had any discussions with the NCAA about whether it will continue to earn an NCAA tournament share or any money from the tournament. Despite the NCAA offering, every winter athlete a free year this season, the organisation has not amended its policy on permitting graduate students to participate in sports.