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Ivy League suspends fall sports due to coronavirus pandemic

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The Ivy League announced Wednesday that all intercollegiate athletic competitions will be suspended for the upcoming fall semester due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Practices and training will still be permitted, provided they follow appropriate health and safety guidelines.

"With the safety and well-being of students as their highest priority, Ivy League institutions are implementing campus-wide policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus,"  the Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a statement. "As athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester."

The council said the league will issue guidelines for schools to begin a "phased approach" to practices and training "to allow for interaction among student-athletes and coaches that will begin with limited individual and small group workouts and build to small group practice sessions, if public health conditions permit."

"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, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall," the council said.

Yale v Harvard
The Harvard Crimson and the Yale Bulldogs shake hands after a game at Fenway Park on November 17, 2018, in Boston. Adam Glanzman / Getty

Athletes participating in fall sports won't use up a year of NCAA eligibility. "Students who wish to pursue competition during a fifth-year will need to work with their institutions in accordance with campus policy to determine their options beyond their current anticipated graduation date," the statement added.

The league will make a decision about winter and spring sports at a later date, and noted there is a possibility winter sports could possibly be moved to the spring if such a shift is deemed feasible.

On Monday, Harvard announced it will only invite up to 40% of its undergraduate population back to campus this fall. All coursework will be conducted remotely for the semester. Yale will allow about 75% of its undergraduate population to return to campus for a mix of online and in-person learning. 

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