Ivy League cancels winter sports for 2020-21

The Ivy League canceled winter sports for the 2020-21 season, the conference announced Thursday.

The conference also postponed spring sports until at least the end of February and won’t conduct competition for fall sports during the spring semester.

“This is definitely not a decision we want to make, but I know it’s the right decision for the Ivy League,” Robin Harris, the conference’s executive director, told ESPN.

These decisions were made unanimously by the Ivy League Council of Presidents.

“The Council will continue to closely monitor and evaluate the public health climate and consider changes to policies when warranted in order to return to more normal campus operations, including potential spring intercollegiate athletics competition,” the Ivy League said in a release.

The Ivy League was the first conference to cancel its men’s and women’s conference tournaments in March and was also the first conference to announce it wouldn’t hold fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, it became the first league to cancel winter sports — including men’s and women’s basketball. Other sports affected include wrestling, indoor track and field, swimming and fencing.

“We are heartbroken to be here again,” Harris said. “It’s based on the current trends of the virus and rates and the impact that has on our campus policies that are going to continue to restrict travel, group gathering sizes, visitors to campus. Athletics is important to all of our schools, to our presidents. All aspects of campuses are being asked to make sacrifices and change the way they operate, and unfortunately that has extended into athletics as well.”

Harris said the league’s coaches and athletic directors came up with alternative options on how to conduct a season, including eliminating overnight stays and changing the way they handle meals on the road. While those options would have mitigated the risk to a degree, it wasn’t enough.

A bubble for the conference was never a legitimate consideration, Harris said.

With spring sports delayed until at least the start of March, there was some thought of having winter sports play a shortened season to determine a champion and send a team to the NCAA tournament.

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