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Ivy League cancels men’s and women’s basketball for 2020-21

The Ancient Eight were the first league to end their college basketball season last March, and are the first to wipe away the slate the following season as well.

Harvard Crimson guard Christian Juzang takes a pass from forward Danilo Djuricic as North Carolina Tar Heels guard Seventh Woods defends during the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. The Tar Heels won 77-57.  Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Ivy League was the first conference to stop playing basketball in 2020, and that early ending foretold the rest of the sport shutting down due to Covid-19.

And the Ancient Eight today wasn’t afraid to lead yet again today, as the conference canceled all winter sports which includes men’s and women’s basketball.

PRINCETON, N.J. — Consistent with its commitment to safeguard the health and wellbeing 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. In addition, the Ivy League will not conduct competition for fall sports during the upcoming spring semester. Lastly, intercollegiate athletics competition for spring sports is postponed through at least the end of February 2021.

The unanimous decisions by the Ivy League Council of Presidents follow extended consideration of options and strategies to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, an analysis of current increasing rates of COVID-19 – locally, regionally and nationally – and the resulting need to continue the campus policies related to travel, group size and visitors to campus that safeguard the campus and community.

This also means the Ivy won’t participate in the spring season of college football being proposed by FCS leagues across America. As of now the plan is to have an NCAA Tournament for FCS Football after a 2021 campaign.

As opposed to the previous basketball cancelation, the league also indicated that players will not lose a year of eligibility from either the Ivy (which doesn’t allow redshirting) or the NCAA because of this change, though the policies of specific institutions might be different.

Will the Ivy be the canary in the coal mine again, or is this just a conference that has always emphasized academics over athletics making the logical move for them? We’ll find out soon if anyone else chooses to follow their lead.