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Ivy League Cancels Basketball Season Because of COVID-19

The Ivy League was the first college basketball conference to cancel its conference tournament last March. This cancellation marked the ending of the 2019-20 college basketball season and the first-ever cancellation of the NCAA March Madness tournament.

Now, two weeks before the commencement of the new season, the Ivy League announced they’ll be canceling all winter sports. Thursday evening, the division consisting of eight programs became the first Division I league to cancel its men’s and women’s basketball seasons. They’ve decided they will delay a decision on spring sports until at least the start of March 2021.

“Consistent with its commitment to safeguard the health and well-being of student-athletes, the greater campus community, and general public, the Ivy League Council of Presidents has decided that league schools will not conduct intercollegiate athletics competition in winter sports during the 2020-21 season,” the Ivy League declared in a release.

The statement does not come as a surprise, however. Multiple Ivy League sources, dating back to early September, expressed cautions about sports in the winter season. Some programs have yet to even hold indoor workouts to this point. Added one source, “We don’t need money to play. In the Ivy League, it’s 100% a health and safety issue.”

What does this cancelation mean for the college basketball season?

The Ivy league canceling their men’s basketball season raises multiple questions of the season as a whole and even March Madness. Will Ivy’s decision prompt other leagues and schools to consider canceling winter sports? How will the 2021 NCAA tournament adjust if certain leagues will not participate?

Many reporters addressed their take on the inquiries. When asked about the Ivy Leagues’ cancellation paving the way for other conferences to do the same, Jeff Borzello responded with doubt.

“I don’t think this will be the first domino like it was back in March for conference tournaments. The Ivy League already was a step ahead of most conferences for this season, as it had already canceled non-conference games.”

In regards to replacing teams if selected programs for the tournament-tested positive for COVID-19, the unprecedented problem has no solution as of now. When Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of basketball operations, was asked about it, he told ESPN that replacement teams were on the table. This means there would be a team or two ready to step in and compete if necessary.

College Basketball still on elsewhere

The College basketball season looks likely to continue beyond the Ivy League conference. Although programs and divisions have set different protocols and concerns, there has been a general consensus on the season to begin in late November.

Conferences such as the ACC are still a go, as of now. The ACC released its conference schedule just last week. Also, the Big East recently released a portion of its basketball schedule with conference games beginning in December.

Many players and coaches have expressed their opinions on the season, conveying signs of hope for the year.

“It’s been crazy but we’re like everybody else, just trying to stay healthy and stay safe and figure this out,” Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said. The Big Ten conference has not come out with a schedule yet for it’s been difficult to do so according to McKeown.

“It’s been a challenge to try to put together a schedule around the holidays and tournaments and bye weeks and whether we’re going to have a non-conference season. There’s still so much up in the air, but when they put something out, we’ll deal with it. I really think we’re going to play.”


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