The Ivy League will not participate in any winter sports for the 2020-21 season, including college basketball, league sources told CBS Sports. The league later took the official step Thursday, announcing the cancellation of all winter sports.
“In keeping with its commitment to preserving the health and well-being of student-athletes, the larger campus community, and the general public, the Ivy League Council of Presidents has decided that the League Schools will not conduct the intercollegiate athletics competition in winter sports during the 2020-21 season,” the Ivy League announced in a statement.
The league is the first first-division conference to cancel winter sports, repeating a precedent it had scored earlier this year when the Ivy League canceled all of its sports in the fall and the first to cancel the NBA championship in March.
The sources said that officials of the Sports Administration informed the coaches of the decision via video calls on Thursday evening, and subsequent meetings of the team will be held after that to inform the players.
One source said the Ivy League chiefs had reached their decision within the past 72 hours, and had spent Wednesday and Thursday preparing for how to explain their decision to hundreds of student-athletes and dozens of coaches whose seasons are now excluded. The Ivy League decision comes 13 days before the scheduled start of the 2020-21 college basketball season, although last summer the Ivy League decided not to allow any scholarship sports to play before the end of the winter semester.
This isn’t a shocking vote – far from that. Several Ivy League sources, dating back to early September, have expressed pessimism about the notion that the League Presidents will allow the winter sports / basketball season. Some programs have not yet held internal training exercises at this point. One source added, “We don’t need money to play. In the Ivy League, it’s a 100% health and safety issue.”
Coaches across the league have been preparing for this for weeks, although some recently questioned if the decision might wait until Thanksgiving.
The news is descending as coronavirus cases continue to rise rapidly in nearly every state. The United States set almost daily records last week for most one-day cases. On Wednesday, the COVID Tracking Project showed more than 144,000 new cases of COVID-19, which surpassed Tuesday’s US record of 136,000. Wednesday’s update reported 65,368 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, which is also a record number in the United States.
The eight Ivy League institutions are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. Yale University was expected to be the best group this season; The Bulldogs are ranked 99 on CBS Sports pre-season of all 357 Men’s First Division men’s basketball teams.
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