The Ivy League will not have sports this fall due to concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an athlete on an Ivy team confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. That athlete requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of information. That athlete said team members had been told of the decision.
CBS Sports was the first to report that fall sports would not be played. Ivy League officials have been meeting Wednesday. A formal announcement could come Wednesday evening.
This affects football as well as men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, and women’s field hockey and volleyball.
CBS also said the league will have no winter sports before Jan. 1, which would include men’s and women’s basketball and hockey.
While the major conferences still hope to hold the season on time, it is worth remembering that in March the Ivy League’s decision to cancel its basketball tournaments proved prescient. Other leagues soon followed suit with the NCAA tournament eventually being canceled.
A number of signs had pointed to this decision. Harvard and Princeton had already announced that classes would be online only this fall, and Harvard’s campus would only be opened to housing students at 40 percent capacity.
Ivy League football teams compete at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level but do not participate in the NCAA playoffs, leaving open the possibility that a league round-robin slate could be contested in the spring. Whether the fall sports can be played in the spring has not been announced.
As far as impact at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level is concerned, only Princeton’s scheduled Oct. 10 game at Army is off the docket. For other fall sports, competing for NCAA championships in 2020 is off the table, but league-wide competition might be an option once campuses are reopened.
The Patriot League, which is in the FCS, figures to be impacted significantly by the Ivy League decision. Of the 24 non-league games the Ivy would play, 13 are scheduled against Patriot League teams. Bucknell and Holy Cross each have three games against Ivy opponents — with Bucknell’s slate featuring three in three weeks (Sept. 19, Sept. 26 and Oct. 3) and Holy Cross scheduled to face three Ivy opponents over four weekends that include a bye: Sept. 19, Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.
A few programs already had games canceled, including Fordham’s visit to Hawaii and Colgate’s contest at Western Michigan due to travel restrictions imposed by the Patriot League. Fordham also canceled two other games.
Lafayette told Navy it could not make it to Annapolis, Maryland, for a Sept. 12 game because the Patriot League school will not bring back its football team to campus with enough time to meet medical advisory guidelines established by the FBS, according to a release from the Naval Academy. That means Lafayette stands to lose at least four games, one against Sacred Heart on Sept. 5 and now two against Ivy League teams.
The Division III Centennial Conference, which includes Johns Hopkins, Muhlenberg, and other Pennsylvania and Maryland schools earlier announced there will be no fall sports.
Amherst, Bowdoin and Williams from the New England Small College Athletic Conference have announced they won’t compete as well. The College of New Jersey earlier announced that it will not field teams in several sports, including football for the fall term.
Contributing: Steve Berkowitz, Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports; Paul Schwartz, NorthJersey.com