The Ivy League has canceled its 2020 football season, the league announced Wednesday.
The Ivy League Council of Presidents offered the following joint statement in the release:
“As a leadership group, we have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students who attend our institutions, as well as the faculty and staff who work at our schools. These decisions are extremely difficult, particularly when they impact meaningful student-athlete experiences that so many value and cherish.
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.
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.”
Reports began to surface Monday — and earlier — that the move was on the horizon. The circuit announced the following on July 1:
With return to campus protocols still being developed and introduced by Ivy League institutions, the Council of Ivy League Presidents intends to announce a final decision regarding the status of intercollegiate athletic activity for the Fall Term 2020 on July 8. That decision will be communicated first to Ivy League directors of athletics, coaches and student-athletes, followed by the wider Ivy League campus community, media, alumni and the public.
League member Harvard then announced Monday that, despite 40 percent of its student body being allowed to return to campus, all instruction would be of a virtual nature. That move set the wheels in motion for this announced outcome.
Adam Zagoria also reported in a piece for Forbes Monday that the move was afoot, citing:
“If I was placing a bet, I think it’s 98 percent, 99 percent likely that this thing is moving to the spring for the fall sports based on everything I’ve heard,” one Ivy League source said.
“The financial ramifications of whatever decision they’ve made, you need to have plenty of time to start working on those things. It’s not like they’re going to wake up the morning of the 8th and go with something. The decision’s been made.”
There is no impact on the postseason with this announcement, as the Ivy League does not send its champion to the FCS playoffs. That decision was explained to Yahoo! Sports in 2019.
“It’s not just one game, our teams would win some games,” (Robin Harris, the Ivy League Executive Director) continued. “The impact academically on the student-athletes is a concern. So the presidents have reaffirmed that they’re very comfortable with where Ivy League football is now.”