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The Ivy League Cancels All Spring Athletics In Wake Of COVID-19

As an increasing number of institutions move to virtual courses for the remainder of the academic year, the Ivy League has decided to shut down all athletic programming for this upcoming spring season.

In light of the increasing severity of COVID-19, the Ivy League has decided to cancel all athletic events for the spring semester. The decision comes after several Ivy League schools, including Harvard, asked their students to leave campus and continue classes solely online for the remainder of the semester while others, like Columbia, canceled in-person classes for at least the next three weeks. Given these recent developments, the Ivy League has come to the unanimous decision to cancel all athletics events scheduled for this spring because “it is not feasible for practice and competition to continue” according to a statement released today. This means that spring teams, which include baseball, softball, track and field, golf and more, will be unable to compete during their much-awaited season.

 Cancellations have also affected the postseason for some winter sports. According to a statement by the Ivy League, “individual institutions will decide whether or not winter teams and student-athletes who have qualified for postseason play will participate.” However, some postseason games have already been canceled. This includes the Ivy League Tournament, which typically determines which basketball teams will make it to the NCAA tournament. Columbia Women’s Basketball team qualified for the Tournament for the first time in program history; Coach Megan Griffith released a statement about the “disappointing news,” remarking that “this whole situation is extremely unfortunate.” Ivy League basketball titles went to the Yale men’s team, who finished the season 23-7, and the Princeton women’s team, who finished their season 26-1.

Statement from the Ivy League on cancellations:

PRINCETON, N.J. — With further developments in the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ivy League Presidents are announcing their unanimous decision to cancel all spring athletics practice and competition through the remainder of the academic year. 

 Individual institutions will decide whether or not winter teams and student-athletes who have qualified for postseason play will participate. 

 In accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals, several Ivy League institutions have announced that students will not return to campus after spring break, and classes will be held virtually during the semester. Given this situation, it is not feasible for practice and competition to continue. 

 Ivy League Council of Presidents

Christina Paxson, Brown University

Lee Bollinger, Columbia University

Martha Pollack, Cornell University

Philip Hanlon, Dartmouth College

Lawrence Bacow, Harvard University

Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania

Christopher Eisgruber, Princeton University

Peter Salovey, Yale University 

Megan Griffith, Columbia’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach, also released a statement about the cancellations, which can be found below:

“The decision to cancel the Ivy League Tournament is disappointing news for our Columbia community and every other school in our league. All of our student-athletes work tirelessly all season to be able to compete in March and earn an opportunity to represent our conference in the NCAA Tournament. This whole situation is extremely unfortunate. We are all aware that the Coronavirus and its rippling effects are very serious and have impacted many campuses nationwide. My heart goes out to all programs, student-athletes and coaches, especially seniors who are facing the ends of their careers.” 

Photo via Bwog archives

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