Ivy League cancels spring sports season because of COVID-19

Ivy League schools often are in contention for NCAA championships in spring sports, particularly men's and women's lacrosse. (Photo: Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports)

The Ivy League made it official that there would be no league-wide competition or championship events this spring, effectively ending the season for those sports before it began.

The Council of Presidents’ decision could allow for limited, local competition on some campuses if conditions improve but stated that the current public health environment is not compatible with a traditional Ivy League season.

“As campus and community leaders, we believe that our public health responsibilities and educational principles preclude us from sponsoring Ivy League athletics competition this spring,” read a joint statement from the Council of Presidents.

“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.

"In the Ivy League, these measures must apply equally to our athletics programs along with other academic and co-curricular activities.”

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.

This decision is in keeping with the group’s overarching philosophy of not treating athletics differently from the academic missions of the institutions. The league did not hold competition in any fall or winter sports, either, and was the first Division I conference to cancel its championship events a year ago at the outset of the pandemic.

The league did, however, announce a blanket waiver last week that would allow its athletes to compete as graduate students for the first time for the 2021-22 academic year.

Follow colleges reporter Eddie Timanus on Twitter @EddieTimanus

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