The conference based its decision on the COVID-19 policies and plans to return to campus of the Ivy League schools. While the plans vary from school to school, several will only see about half the student population return to campus in the Fall, and collectively the policies make any fall competition impractical.
"Schools have to evaluate what's right for them," said Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. "For us, it came down to campus policies. Our athletic directors have been working very hard modeling different options, looking at different ways we can conduct athletics in the fall, and ultimately, as more and more campuses developed their policies that didn't allow for competition, that led to our decision. That may not be the same at other schools in other conferences."
The League has also addressed the safety risk that would occur if sport was allowed to resume, suggesting that "with the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk.”
The Ivy League has however announced the strong possibility that the Fall sports could be rescheduled the Winter and Spring, but that this decision will be determined at a later date. The public health situation and spread of the virus will no-doubt be monitored very closely, and the Ivy League will no doubt be quick to reinstate the competitions when it is safe to do so.
It is expected that many other college sporting conferences will follow the Ivy League’s lead to rule out college sports this Fall. It's not the only time the Ivy League was the first to make big announcements like this during COVID-19; it was in-fact this sporting conference who first decided to cancel their Spring sports such as basketball in March.
Overall, this a very positive sign by the Ivy League. This early decision leaves the door open for Winter and Spring sports to be played in 2021, and will allow for better planning as to how these can be conducted safely. It will also give the Ivy League more time to potentially shift their Fall sports to the Winter and the Spring, and the announcements clearly imply that some planning has already commenced into these actions.
Perhaps what will be on most student-athletes minds is the hope that in the Fall many will be able to resume practice on-campus, albeit under modified conditions. This will restore normality to the daily lives of thousands of students who are passionate about their sports, and are desperately looking forward to seeing their teammates again.
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