The Ivy League announced Wednesday that it will not play sports in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The league, which became the first Division I conference to suspend sports for the upcoming fall season, also left open the possibility of moving some seasons to the spring.
The Ivy League’s decision not only affects football but every other sport that starts its season prior to Jan. 1, including soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country. It will also affect the nonconference part of the basketball season.
“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,” the Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a statement.
“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.”
The Ivy League schools are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale. The conference said its schools are already limiting gatherings, visitors and travel for students and staff.
“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 conference said.
Ivy League schools are spread across seven Northeastern states that, as of mid-July, have seen some success at controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. But most of those states still ban large gatherings; for example, under Massachusetts’ reopening plan, Harvard would not be allowed to have fans in the stands until a vaccine is developed.
Harvard has already announced that all classes for both semesters will be held virtually; dorms will be open only to freshmen and seniors. Yale said it would limit its dorms to 60 percent capacity and said most classes would be conducted remotely. Princeton will also do most of its teaching online, with dorms at half capacity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.