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NCAA Jul 09, 2020

OFFICIAL: Ivy League men’s and women’s soccer programs won’t play in 2020

The Ivy League has officially confirmed that fall sports, including men’s and women’s soccer, will not be played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s announcement ruled out all athletic competition for Ivy League programs for the duration of the fall semester and through the end of the year. No determination has been made as to whether fall sports will be eventually re-scheduled for the spring semester, or cancelled altogether.

Ivy League student-athletes will still be permitted to take part in training and some organized team practices, provided they are structured in accordance with each institution’s procedures and applicable state regulations. The phased approach for returning to activity will begin with limited individual and small group workouts and build to small group practice sessions, if public health conditions permit.

On the topic of NCAA eligibility, the announcement states:

“Fall sport student-athletes will not use a season of Ivy League or NCAA eligibility in the fall, whether or not they enroll. Students who wish to pursue competition during a fifth-year will need to work with their institutions in accordance with campus policy to determine their options beyond their current anticipated graduation date.”

With today’s decision, the Ivy League becomes the first NCAA Division I conference to cancel the entire fall sports season. Back in March, the Ivy League was the first conference to cancel its basketball tournament, shorty before sports across the country were shut down during the early stages of the United States’ coronavirus outbreak.

It remains to be seen whether any more NCAA Division I conferences will follow suit for the fall. However, the loss of the Ivy League alone will be significant for college soccer. On the women’s side, four Ivy League programs finished last season in the top 50 of the RPI rankings: Brown (#13), Yale (#39), Harvard (#42) and Columbia (#49). Yale qualified for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament in 2019, finishing #49 in the final RPI rankings.

The Ivy League Council of Presidents offered the following joint statement:

“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.”