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Ivy League institutions cancels all fall sports amid pandemic

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Council decides all sports will be delayed until at least the end of the first semester


Deonte Henson #21 of the Yale Bulldogs is congratulated by teammates after making an interception in the fourth quarter of a game against the Harvard Crimson at the Yale Bowl on November 18, 2017 in New Haven, Connecticut. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a statement on Wednesday evening that all fall sports would not be resuming in the upcoming semester because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The decision affects football as well as men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s field hockey and volleyball. All sports will be delayed until at least the end of the first semester. 

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“A decision on the remaining winter and spring sports competition calendar, and on whether fall sports competition would be feasible in the spring, will be determined at a later date,” the statement said. 

The Ivy League Council of Presidents includes the presidents of Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities and the University of Pennsylvania.

“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 statement continued.

Yale v Harvard
Jack Cook #83 of the Harvard Crimson scores a touchdown during a game against the Yale Bulldogs at Fenway Park on November 17, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The decision could be the beginning of cancellations by other schools.

However, there are also high financial stakes for schools in bigger conferences. “I don’t know how any of us, how the current NCAA model, could survive if we’re not playing any football games.” Iowa State Athletic Director, Jamie Pollard, told The Washington Post. “It’s hard today to wrap your head around how challenging that would be if we can’t play any football games.  … We’d essentially be bankrupt.”

Schools around the country — including primary, secondary schools, and undergraduate institutions — are facing questions for how to resume classes amid the coronavirus pandemic which does not seem to be waning. 

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President Donald Trump recently said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for opening schools were “very tough and expensive,” and that the agency is asking schools to “do very impractical things.”

His administration has threatened to withhold federal funds from schools that don’t reopen this fall. 

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