A growing list of universities are reporting new coronavirus cases among students in their athletic programs. Now, there’s a growing list of universities canceling their competitive sports for the upcoming semester.
As universities continue to plan for how best to educate and house students during a pandemic, some have already decided it’s not worth the risk to add sports to the mix.
Ivy League is out
The Ivy League Council of Presidents announced Wednesday all fall sports will not be played at its colleges.
The league said in a statement that with the 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 that a decision on whether the sports could be played in the spring of 2021 will come at a later date.
The Ivy League consists of eight private universities: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.
It said its student athletes will still be allowed to train — as long as they are following school and state regulations.
University of Massachusetts Boston cancels fall season
The University of Massachusetts Boston previously said current conditions don’t permit “neither a fall season for our athletics program nor other on-ground student activities.”
“Student athletes are particularly sad about the loss of team sports, and we deeply regret the effect that our fall plan has on everyone involved in our athletics program,” Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman wrote in late June.
“If there were a way to make a different decision in a manner that we feel is responsible we surely would. Sadly, the virus is spreading amongst athletes in states that have opened up. We don’t want that to happen to our beacons.”
No fall sports at Bowdoin College
At Maine’s Bowdoin College, President Clayton Rose announced in late June fall sports were canceled, adding “opportunity for the winter, spring, and possibly fall varsity athletes to participate and compete in some form after January 1.”
The college, part of the New England Small College Athletic Conference, said the conference is working on creating plans for when athletes do return to sports.
“Athletics engagement is an important part of the experience for many of our students, and member institutions remain committed to this experience,” their statement said. “However, this will not be a traditional fall on campus in any respect, including for athletics.”
“NESCAC institutions continue to focus on plans for the 2020–2021 academic year with the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and their communities the primary concern.”
Morehouse cancels fall season
Morehouse College President David Thomas announced the school has canceled all fall 2020 sports because of the pandemic.
The decision will impact football and cross-country teams, Thomas wrote in a letter posted on the school’s athletics website.
“Like all of the decisions we’ve made related to COVID-19, this was a difficult one but was made with the health and well-being of our students and community in mind. It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August,” the letter said.
Centennial Conference suspends fall sports
The Centennial Conference, which includes universities like Johns Hopkins University and Washington College, said this week it is suspending inter-collegiate sports competitions scheduled for the fall.
“The presidents will reevaluate this decision by the end of September, based on work to be done by the Conference to assess sports-specific activities and the experiences on the schools’ campuses,” their statement said.
The Conference said it would look into moving some fall sports — such as football — to the spring.