Ivy League cancels football and other fall sports due to Covid-19

Key Points
  • The Ivy League officially canceled fall athletic programs, including all football games, due to Covid-19.
  • The league previously became the first conference to cancel its men's and women's basketball tournament on March 10.
Harvard Crimson running back Devin Darrington (36) runs the ball during the college football game between the Harvard Crimson and Princeton Tigers on October 26, 2019 at Princeton Stadium in Princeton, NJ
John Jones | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Game has been been called off.

The Ivy League on Wednesday officially canceled fall athletics, including its football schedule, due to the continuing spread of Covid-19. In a statement, the league's Council of Presidents called the decision "extremely difficult." 

The eight-member Ivy league includes rivals Harvard and Yale, who play each other to end every season in what's known as The Game. The other schools in the conference are Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Brown, Cornell and Dartmouth. In football, the Ivy League is not one of the NCAA's main conferences and its teams do not compete for the playoffs.

"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," the league said. "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."

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Officials said student-athletes will still be allowed to practice and train using school facilities in "limited individual and small group workouts."  

The Ivy League will reevaluate when sports programs can resume by January 2021, and that could include a decision on starting a new football schedule in the spring. The move to cancel fall sports could pressure powerhouse conferences to reconsider their upcoming seasons, especially with football scheduled to start late next month.

Kevin Warren, commissioner of the Big Ten, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" in May that his conference would look to decide by this month on its fall sports schedule. 

"Even bigger than sports in the fall, we're collectively focusing on what we need to do school in the fall," Warren said at the time. "If we don't have school in the fall, we don't have sports in the fall. And so, we have a whole other level of issues that we're focusing on." 

The Ivy League became the first college conference to cancel its men's and women's basketball tournament on March 10, due to the pandemic. The NCAA then canceled its 2020 tournaments on March 12.

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