The Ivy League is still holding off on its return to sports.
The conference announced on Thursday that it has canceled all spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the second-straight year.
The decision, the school presidents wrote in a joint statement, was done to be consistent with their measures that keep students and faculty safe on campus. Schools will be allowed to participate in non-conference games in certain conditions — but only if the contests are within 40 miles of campus and the coronavirus pandemic continues to improve.
“The public health measures now in effect at all Ivy League universities have been carefully designed to support our teaching and research missions while keeping our students, faculty, staff and neighboring communities safe,” the presidents wrote.
“In the Ivy League, these measures must apply equally to our athletics programs along with other academic and co-curricular activities.”
Ivy League allows rare grad student participation next year
The Ivy League was the first to shut down sports last March when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and has not played since. The conference, made up of eight private schools, has now had four straight seasons canceled — and is the only Division I conference still not offering competition.
The conference is going to allow graduate students to participate for a rare fifth season next year due to the pandemic, however. The Ivy League traditionally doesn’t allow any graduate students or transfers to compete in sports, and will return to that policy after the 2021-22 school year.
"This change is a direct result of the pandemic and will not be available in future years," the Ivy League said in a statement last week. "The waiver provides current fourth-year students the opportunity to complete their athletics experience at their current institution in 2021-22 after staying on track to graduate in four years."
The United States has had nearly 28 million coronavirus cases as of Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times, but is averaging just 70,000 new cases a day. The country is rapidly approaching 500,000 total deaths, too, though it is administering more than 1.6 million doses of the vaccine on average each day.
“We know that this news will come as a disappointment to many in our community,” the presidents wrote. “We regret the many sacrifices that have been required in response to the pandemic, and we appreciate the resilience of our student-athletes, coaches and staff in the face of adversity during this difficult and unusual year.
“While we would like nothing better than to deliver a complete season of competition, these are the necessary decisions for the Ivy League in the face of the health concerns posed by the ongoing and dangerous pandemic.”
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