Ivy League Suspends Fall Sports
By: Leyuan Zhou
Last Wednesday, the Ivy League, a Division I conference, suspended all fall sports for the 2020-2021 academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is still a possibility that fall sports will be rescheduled for the spring season if the outbreak gets under control.
The decision to cancel all fall sports affects football, soccer, field hockey, volleyball, and cross country, as well as the fall portion of winter sports ,such as basketball. The league has not yet determined whether or not fall sports will be rescheduled to the spring.
Chris Kratochvil, the chairman of the Big Ten’s infectious disease task force, said, “What’s happening in other conferences is clearly a reflection of what’s happening nationally and any decisions are made within that context.” He also mentioned that there is no “hard deadline” for a decision, suggesting that future circumstances could potentially impact the Ivy League’s choice.
Even though the Ivy League, a coalition of eight universities on the East Coast (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale), does not give athletic scholarships or compete in the NCAA football championship, the decision to suspend fall sports could have detrimental effects in the business of college sports.
For example, Ivy League football drives millions of dollars in revenues for schools in the Power Five conference. In college football, the Power Five conference refers to the five athletic conferences whose members are part of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in the N.C.A.A. Division I, the highest level of collegiate sports in the United States. The conferences include the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference, and Southeastern Conference (SEC).
As of July, the seven Northeastern states that house the Ivy League schools are seeing some success in controlling the spread of COVID-19, with a decrease in new daily cases. However, most of these states still prohibit large gatherings.
The universities in the Ivy League have imposed campus rules to maximize social distancing upon the arrival of the 2020-2021 school year. Harvard announced recently that all classes will be held virtually for the next two semesters, with dorms open to only freshmen, seniors, and students with special needs. Yale said dorms will be filled to 60% capacity and most classes will be conducted remotely. Princeton will have dorms at half capacity and will do most of its teaching online.
In a statement made by the Ivy League Council of Presidents, it was stated that “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.”