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Ivy League postpones football, fall sports as questions remain around coronavirus

Huge decision that could have an impact across multiple leagues.

NCAA Football: Yale vs Harvard Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Ivy League announced Wednesday, July 8, that they will be postponing all fall sports for the upcoming 2020-21 season. They are the first league to make a decision regarding the future of athletics for the fall as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues nationwide.

While initial reports stated that fall sports were “cancelled”, it appears they are postponed for the time being. The fate of winter and spring sports — including basketball — is still undecided, but no games will be played until the calendar turns to 2021.

“With the safety and well-being of students as their highest priority, Ivy League institutions are implementing campus-wide policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus,” the official Ivy League statement said. “As athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.”

While there won’t be any competition, the athletes will be allowed to still participate in various activities on campus. “Practice and other athletic training opportunities for enrolled student-athletes will be permitted provided they are structured in accordance with each institution’s procedures and applicable state regulations.”

Student athletes that are part of fall programs will not use any Ivy League or NCAA eligibility, regardless of if they are or are not enrolled for the semester.

From the Ivy League Council of Presidents:

“As a leadership group, we have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students who attend our institutions, as well as the faculty and staff who work at our schools. These decisions are extremely difficult, particularly when they impact meaningful student-athlete experiences that so many value and cherish. 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.

We are entrusted to create and maintain an educational environment that is guided by health and safety considerations. There can be no greater responsibility — and that is the basis for this difficult decision.”

The Ivy League was the first to cancel athletics back on March 11, and multiple leagues followed suit. It’s still uncertain what the future holds for the upcoming season — namely football — as a lot of schools would take a huge monetary hit if sports don’t resume. There are a lot of possibilities still on the table for the upcoming football season: a regular season, shortened seasons, conference play only, games in the spring, or full cancellation.

Virginia Football returned to Grounds on July 5th and are supposed to open the 2021 season on September 7 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta against the University of Georgia.

Ohio State and North Carolina announced Wednesday that they have “paused” their workouts as a result of several positive coronavirus test results, joining programs like Kansas, Clemson, and Oklahoma that have also reported positive results among football players or staff.