Ivy League cancels winter sports, eliminating 2020-21 basketball season to guard against COVID-19 transmission

Confirming a move as surreal as it was inevitable, the Ivy League announced Thursday evening that its Council of Presidents decided that league schools will not conduct intercollegiate athletics competition in winter sports during the 2020-21 season.

No Ivy hoops.

The Council of Presidents also postponed intercollegiate athletics competition for spring sports through at least the end of February 2021.

“The unanimous decisions by the Ivy League Council of Presidents follow extended consideration of options and strategies to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, an analysis of current increasing rates of COVID-19 – locally, regionally and nationally – and the resulting need to continue the campus policies related to travel, group size and visitors to campus that safeguard the campus and community,” the league said in a statement Thursday night.

The league announced that winter and fall sport student-athletes will not lose a season of Ivy League or NCAA eligibility.

“Students who wish to pursue competition during a fifth year of undergraduate education at their home institution, if permitted, or as a graduate student elsewhere will need to work with their institutions in accordance with campus policy to determine their options beyond their current anticipated graduation date,” the league noted.

The Ivy League is the first Division I conference to cancel winter sports, keeping in line with its position as the first to cancel a conference tournament in March before shutdowns became the norm across American society.

“Student-athletes, their families and coaches are again being asked to make enormous sacrifices for the good of public health — and we do not make this decision lightly,” . 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.

“We look forward to the day when intercollegiate athletics — which are such an important part of the fabric of our campus communities — will safely return in a manner and format we all know and appreciate.”

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