Last night, the Ivy League cancelled all Winter sports and put a tentative delay on Spring sports, for the 2020-2021 season Also no tryouts or workouts for fall 2021 sports can be conducted on campuses. These rulings were reached by an unanimous decision of School Presidents. The Ivy is the first Division 1 League to cancel men’s and women’s basketball among other sports. In March the Ivy was the first League to pull teams from the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the first League to cancel Men’s and Women’s Spring sports held in March of 2020.
Is the Ivy League the frontrunner in knowledge on ways to keep students safe? The esteemed Presidents, in a press release, said they considered and discussed many options to make sports viable during the increasing dangers of the epidemic as we enter into the major sports seasons. The schools’ Coaches and Athletic Directors met and tried to bring alternative ideas to the table, such as, no more overnight stays, changing how team meals are handled, and others. The Presidents felt that while these ideas did mitigate the risk, they did not bring enough safety to the athletes. The idea for a bubble was brought up but not considered a viable option. Also the Presidents kept in mind that they had no idea how the NCAA would handle this decision. Would the Ivy keep its automatic bid? Would they get a share of TV revenue funds? Although these questions may have been brought up, they really didn’t factor into the final decision. The Ivy League has always been a student first League. To help make this decision easier, the Athletic Directors and Coaches offered the idea of a conference tournament only season with the winner being awarded the automatic bid. Also no practices or contact between Coaches and Players until March 1st, 2021. The President’s considered this but felt this may be holding out false hope for the student-athletes.
While this may seem extreme, so are the numbers of new Covid cases being reported. I enjoy the NCAA tournament, men’s and women’s, more than most people and I would rather miss one year’s tournament than lose even one player because of this dreadful virus. As I see it a few things can happen; A, somehow, vaccine or other way, this pandemic gets brought under control by mid-late January, and the tournament goes on. B; the pandemic does not get better and part or all of the season is cancelled. C; before anything changes with the virus, more college presidents stand up for their student athletes to the all powerful NCAA. The Universities need the money to run the Athletic and other departments but if the pandemic gets worse or even stays the same, we will all need to come together to help each other. Coming from a sports reporter, the loss of sports will not be our biggest problem if we cannot cage the Lion that is Covid.