Ivy League Cancels Spring Sports


Chloe Wong, Staff Writer

Despite pleas from fans and student athletes alike, the Ivy League Council of Presidents announced in February that it would be canceling its conference spring sports season due to the ongoing pandemic and the restraints of COVID-19. The decision means that the eight prestigious colleges, including Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and Cornell, will not host competitions or championships for the spring 2021 season. 

“We know that this news will come as a disappointment to many in our community,” said the council in a joint statement released by the Ivy League. “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.”

The Ivy League has had a record of acting cautiously through the pandemic; last March, it was also the first conference to cancel men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, a decision quickly reciprocated by other major leagues.

Still, some spring-sport athletes have spoken out against the decision to cancel sports—some students feel as if their schools are being excessively wary of COVID-19, as the Ivy League is the only Division I conference that has chosen not to go ahead with baseball season. Many players already lost a season of spring play last year when the pandemic was in its fledgling stage, including Ryan Marra, a baseball player at Brown University. 

Marra, Ryan (rmarra93). “Absolutely ridiculous that all of the spring sport athletes have to find out from a tweet that their second straight season is canceled. We as athletes of the Ivy League have been silenced and condemned for speaking out, yet have no representation when it comes to our own season.” 18 Feb. 2021, 10:26 a.m. Tweet.

Other students and administrators have created petitions and written letters to university leaders in hopes of lifting the ban. One petition by Brown’s lacrosse team to resume sports has acquired a little over 10,000 signatures. But the council has maintained its practice of treating student athletes the same as non-athletes, and it can be assumed that sports will not resume in full until regular students are also allowed on campus.

The announcement was disappointing to a good portion of fans, coaches, and student athletes, many of whom spent the off-season training for the spring. But the good news is that athletes will not have to forgo their entire spring experience. Training and sports practices may continue through the season. The Ivy League has also deemed it possible for universities to participate in smaller, non-league competitions so long as they comply with health guidelines.


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