BREAKING: Ivy League To Cancel All Athletic Events Through Remainder Of Spring

March 24, 2016; Blodgett Pool
Ted Minnis has led Harvard's women's water polo team to a 12-2 record in 2020—now the Ivy presidents have canceled the season. Photo Courtesy: Gil Talbot

In the latest development of the fast-moving coronavirus crisis in the United States, due to the dangers posed by Covid-19 the presidents of the eight Northeastern institutions that constitute the Ivy League voted earlier today to cancel all athletic competition in their spring sports for the remainder of the academic year.

ivy_leagueThis decision—which will impact sports as varied as baseball, equestrianism, men’s and women’s lacrosse, skiing and women’s water polo—was already made on Tuesday in regards to perhaps the Ivy League’s premier sport, basketball. A vote was taken to cancel the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which had been scheduled to be held March 13 – 15 in Harvard’s Lavietes Pavillion.

It was also decided that the regular season champions—Yale for the men and Princeton for the women—would represent the Ivy League in the upcoming NCAA men’s and women’s DI basketball tournaments.

Today, the presidents from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale voted to sack the entire competitive sports schedule, which amounts to hundreds of contests over the next month.


The move follows a new trend in American sports brought on by Covid-19 fears: no spectators. On Tuesday, Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio, issued a statement that the state would request that spectators be excluded from indoor sporting events, with the exception being the athletes themselves, their parents, and “others essential to the game.”

Professional sports have followed suit, with the NBA, NHL MLB and MLS issuing various guidelines to blunt the spread of the coronavirus, which has now infected almost 1,200 people and resulted in 31 deaths.

Governor DeWine’s statement is seen by some as a bellwether for the upcoming NCAA March Madness; the men’s tournament that is not only one of the country’s most popular sporting events, it’s also the most lucrative event for the NCAA, which last year earned almost one billion dollars in revenue from media rights fees, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, and television advertising.

In a statement released on the Columbia Athletics website, Peter Pilling, Campbell Family Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, said: “Please know that the Ivy League Presidents did not make this decision lightly. It was made in the best interest of public health, with the guidance of leading medical professionals.

“Although we are supportive of the Ivy League’s decision, we are heartbroken for our student-athletes who will not be able to compete in the spring.”

Below is the full statement from the Ivy League regarding today’s decision.


With further developments in the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ivy League Presidents are announcing their unanimous decision to cancel all spring athletics practice and competition through the remainder of the academic year.

Individual institutions will decide whether or not winter teams and student-athletes who have qualified for postseason play will participate.

In accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals, several Ivy League institutions have announced that students will not return to campus after spring break, and classes will be held virtually during the semester. Given this situation, it is not feasible for practice and competition to continue.

Ivy League Council of Presidents
Christina Paxson, Brown University
Lee Bollinger, Columbia University
Martha Pollack, Cornell University
Philip Hanlon, Dartmouth College
Lawrence Bacow, Harvard University
Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania
Christopher Eisgruber, Princeton University
Peter Salovey, Yale University

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Bob Lange
4 years ago

Very unfortunate

Julie Tellier
4 years ago

Do they get an extra year of red shirt?

Peter Paul Reich
4 years ago

Yes- because there winter sports Ivy League champions are over- already competed in and done.


GT Ladd
4 years ago

Peter Paul Reich i believe they canceled the Ivy League basketball tourney.

Peter Paul Reich
4 years ago

I think you’re right.
I was referring to the Ivy League swim championship, which they all participated in.

My personal opinion is that when this is all said and done- statistics will be no worse than the typical flu.

Viruses have alway been here- and will always be here- I just prey we never see an airborne Ebola or Marburg type of Pandemic.

But it seems inevitable in our new Global economy.

Lori C Taylor
4 years ago

Kids have worked s hard

Charlene Tallen
4 years ago

Depauw is sending everyone home. We are done too ??

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