Ivy League cancels basketball, all winter sports

The Ivy League announced Thursday that it has canceled all its winter sports, including the men’s and women’s basketball seasons, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move was approved by the Ivy League Council of Presidents and comes in the wake of the latest surges in the out-of-control pandemic.

“Throughout the last nine months, we have asked our campus communities to make extraordinary adjustments in order to do our part in combating the global pandemic and to safeguard the health and well-being of our students, faculty members staff and the communities in which they live and work,” the eight-member Council of Presidents said in a joint statement.

“Regrettably, the current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletics competition in a safe manner.”

The Ivy League consists of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Darmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.

In addition to basketball, the winter sports canceled are men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s squash, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s indoor track and field and men’s wrestling.

Jordan Bruner
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Council said it didn’t make the cancellation decision “lightly” as the group is aware that athletes and coaches are being asked to “make enormous sacrifices.”

“While these decisions come with great disappointment and frustration, our commitment to the safety and lasting health of our student-athletes and wider communities must remain our highest priority,” the statement said.

The Ivy League also said it won’t conduct any fall sports — including football — in the spring. In July, the Ivy League was the first Division I conference to announce it was shutting down fall sports, saying none would be played prior to Jan. 1.

Also, upcoming spring sports will be delayed through the month of February.

The Council said it will closely monitor the public health climate and consider changes to policies when warranted.

Winter and fall student-athletes will not lose a season of Ivy League or NCAA eligibility, according to the Council.

In March, the Ivy League was the first to cancel its men’s and women’s basketball conference tournaments.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)