Ivy League cancels winter sports amid worsening COVID-19 pandemic

Brown Bears guard Sydney Rosant (21) handles the ball during the first half of the Ivy League college basketball game between the Brown Bears and Princeton Tigers on February 28, 2020. ((Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images))

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the world of college sports as the Ivy League has officially canceled winter sports.

The Ivy League Council of Presidents announced Thursday that it will cancel winter sports for the 2020-21 season as well as fall sports that were set to start in the spring of 2021.

Spring sports have now been postponed at least until the end of February.

The council said it made its unanimous decision due to increasing cases of the novel coronavirus across the country. 

On Thursday, Johns Hopkins reported the U.S. has seen more than 10.5 million positive cases since the pandemic started in March. The council said it hopes the cancellation of sports will aid in reducing the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

“Regrettably, the current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletics competition in a safe manner,” the council said in its statement.

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Schools will allow athletic training and practices to continue for student-athletes in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The council said members will continue to monitor the pandemic and will consider changing the policy if the situation warrants. Members also said student-athletes won’t lose a season of Ivy League or NCAA eligibility, whether or not they enroll. 
The Ivy League is the first Division-I conference to cancel winter sports.

The conference made headlines over the summer when it chose to also cancel fall 2020 sports and the league was the first conference to scrap its postseason basketball tournament last March.

That preceded a cascade of cancellations. All major college and professional sports were halted within days.
There has been no indication of how other conferences plan to handle winter sports.

This is a developing story. The Associated Press contributed to this report.