Ivy League cancels fall sports season in light of surging COVID-19 cases

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Photo: Ryan Cole/Impact

Nathan Stearns, Football Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — The first domino has fallen.

In a move that was widely anticipated, Ivy League university executives decided to cancel all fall sports because of rising COVID-19 cases across the country. The league announced that it will not entertain the idea of any conference athletic competition until January 1 at the earliest. 

For the second time in four months, the Ivy League has become the first noteworthy Division I conference to announce the cancellation of campus sporting events. It was also the first notable league to postpone its conference basketball tournament in mid-March. 

In terms of football, the eight schools that the Ivy League consists of (Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania) play in the lesser-known FCS subdivision. Schools in the FCS cannot participate in bowl games and usually generate much less revenue and publicity than their FBS counterparts. 

The decision to scrap scheduled games throws a massive wrench into the plans of Army, who was scheduled to play Princeton on October 10. Under current NCAA regulations, FBS schools such as Army can count one win over an FCS school toward the six-win threshold needed for bowl eligibility. 

It remains to be seen if this decision will set in motion a cascading domino effect for the rest of college football, or if the Ivy League’s decision will simply be an outlier compared to the rest of the collegiate landscape. 

It is unknown at this time if football and other fall sports will be moved to the spring or discarded until the fall of 2021.