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The Ivy League to Announce Plans for Fall Athletic Activity On July 8

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Ivy League Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

The Ivy League announced in a brief statement Wednesday on Twitter that the league is going to announce its plans for athletic activity for the upcoming term on July 8 in the wake of a new increased spread of COVID-19.

A number of people in Power 5 athletics, particularly the fans might roll their eyes at this, after all it’s only the Ivy League, right? Well, not so fast.

First of all, the Ivy League was among the first conferences in the country to shut down sports during the March outbreak of COVID-19. While this may indicate that the league may be conservative in allowing teams to play–and thus may be one of the first again–if the league does cancel, it is certainly a bad omen for anyone who wants to see college sports this calendar year.

Second, a cancellation of sports will have an effect on sports nationwide. Some winter schedules were not readily available at press time, but particularly in basketball the Ivy League schedules games against power opponents. Last year, Harvard played games against Texas A&M, Maryland and the University of Southern California in its fall term. If Harvard is planning to play similar games coming up in the fall term, those games could potentially be in jeopardy. Not only that, six Ivy League schools are members of ECAC Hockey, and account for exactly half the conference. While those hockey programs are not technically not part of the Ivy League, a cancellation of sporting events almost certainly will extend to hockey, and the member programs of ECAC Hockey will be scrambling to make up their schedules. Now if only some intrepid young writer wrote a detailed, well researched article about what happens when everyone starts cancelling games.

Finally, and probably most important, is that, in the event contests are cancelled, it will be a shift in conventional thinking in collegiate athletics. Programs are currently proceeding as if the climate will be acceptable to play athletic contests. This could be one of the first (and probably the most prominent) steps towards mass cancellations in the fall.