This can’t be a good sign. The Ivy League has announced that it is calling off all sports activity for all of its schools this fall. The move comes as a result of the coronavirus, and there is a growing concern that the same will happen to the entire college sports sector.
It could be just a preemptive measure that doesn’t spill over to everything else, but the fact that the NBA suspended hoops back in March after just two players tested positive for COVID-19 doesn’t inspire a lot of enthusiasm.
Ivy League Fall Sports First College Sports Victim
The NFL already postponed the Hall of Fame Game for almost a year because of the coronavirus, and now college sports are taking a hit, with the Ivy League fall games cancelled. It’s a sad day for football fans everywhere, who can now only watch with bated breath to see what happens next.
The Ivy League said in a statement announcing the suspension of sports activity this fall, “Amidst continuing health and safety concerns due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Ivy League Council of Presidents has set in place plans for intercollegiate athletics activity in the upcoming fall semester.
“With the safety and well-being of students as their highest priority, Ivy League institutions are implementing campus-wide policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus. As athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.”
The Ivy League includes schools like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Columbia and more. These schools have seen a limited number of COVID-19 cases and are taking extra precautions they feel will help keep the situation from getting worse.
What About The Rest Of College Football?
In states like Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, the number of coronavirus cases has risen significantly in the past week. At schools like Clemson, Alabama, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and others, the virus is starting to be seen in the athletic groups, and several have already called off their voluntary warmup and exercise programs.
With team trainings scheduled to start within the next couple of weeks, in order to adhere to the established schedule, any delays will force the season to either roll back its start date, or be suspended completely.
At this point, the NCAAF hasn’t come forward to say whether or not it will cancel the season, but it is undoubtedly on the radar. However, as things currently stand, there are no plans to make any changes. Until something more drastic happens, football fans should expect a season, but approach the fall with a certain degree of cautious optimism.
Mixed Reactions Abound On What Happens Next
As with any contentious subject, there is no shortage of opinions on what comes next. Some, like Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, don’t think the season should be canceled. He explains, according to USA Today, “COVID is part of our society, it wasn’t caused by football or caused by sports, and no expert view that I’m aware of says that sports is going to make that worse. We’re gonna have to deal with it. These kids are gonna have to do the same thing. … I would want the responsibility of keeping our players safe, and also educating them. I wouldn’t want to come off that guard tower.”
He’s only half right – the coronavirus wasn’t caused by football, but it can certainly make it worse. That much has already been irrefutably proven by the spikes in cases that have been seen around the country. Most players, school leaders and the players’ parents may feel that the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward.
On the other hand, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal expects the NCAA to put the brakes on the season. The Harvard grad supports the Ivy League’s decision to cancel fall sports activity, and, according to USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz, has stated, “There’s absolutely nothing different between the Ivy League and any division except for the money, to be very blunt. It’s about the money. And if the other schools fail to follow the Ivy League’s lead, it will be only because of the money. And, in fact, it will be another misguided act in a long litany of putting school profits ahead of the people who play for them.”
With the NFL being forced to make changes to its season and the Ivy League now calling off all activity, the emerging image is not a pretty one. It’s not too late for things to improve, but it might be a good time for football fans to start making preparations to spend their falls doing something else other than watching football.