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The Ivy League Cancels Spring Sports for 2021

FEB 19, 2021 • 4 min read

The Ivy League Council of Presidents announced Thursday that it would not attempt to stage spring sports in 2021 due to the "rigorous limitations" that continue on its campuses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was made in order to continue to comply with stringent restrictions on campus travel, visitors and gathering policies, and to follow the state guidelines governing each campus.

In a joint statement, the Ivy League presidents stated: "We know that this news will come as a disappointment to many in our community. We regret the many sacrifices that have been required in response to the pandemic, and we appreciate the resilience of our student-athletes, coaches and staff in the face of adversity during this difficult and unusual year. While we would like nothing better than to deliver a complete season of competition, these are the necessary decisions for the Ivy League in the face of the health concerns posed by the ongoing and dangerous pandemic.

"We will continue to monitor the situation as we move forward so that our universities can determine whether Ivy League principles and evolving health conditions might allow for limited, local competition later this spring."

Throughout the pandemic, the Ivy League has been quick to act, being the first to cancel fall and winter sports in early 2020. The League canceled its men’s basketball tournament on March 10, a day before the NBA shut down and two days before the NCAA canceled its winter and spring sports championships for the 2019-20 academic year. It opted out of fall sports in July, before other conferences suspended or altered their schedules.

In addition to men’s and women’s lacrosse, in which Ivy League members frequently compete for NCAA championships, the spring cancellations also apply to baseball, softball, men’s and women’s outdoor track, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis.

In making the announcement the Ivy League presidents expressed a desire to keep their entire campuses safe - citing the decision as one made when considering the well-being of the greater university communities, stating: “The public health measures now in effect at all Ivy League universities have been carefully designed to support our teaching and research missions while keeping our students, faculty, staff and neighboring communities safe. These policies include restrictions on travel, limitations on campus visitors, and other pandemic related regulations that are not compatible with the Ivy League’s usual competition schedule.”

Last week student-athletes in their senior year were given some restitution when the Ivy League broke with long-standing policies announcing it would allow senior athletes to play sports as full-time graduate students at their current school next year. This will see the graduates of the Class of 2021 about to participate in a competition year they ‘missed’ due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions.

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