The Ivy League has shut down its entire spring sports competition due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, representing perhaps the most dramatic US sports industry response yet to the public health crisis.
The conference, which also quickly moved earlier this week to shut down its postseason college basketball tournaments, took another major step by announcing a unanimous decision of its member university presidents to cancel all spring athletics practice and competition for the remainder of the current academic year.
The decision to shut down all spring sports became something of an automatic move as several Ivy League universities have already decided to keep students away from campuses following spring breaks, and finish the academic semester through virtual instruction.
“Given this situation, it is not feasible for practice and competition to continue,” the Ivy League said in a joint statement from the organization’s council of presidents.
While the decision will impact numerous sports in both men’s and women’s play, it is men’s lacrosse where the move will likely be most acutely felt. Current NCAA national rankings have Ivy League member Cornell as the No. 2 ranked team in the country, and fellow members Princeton at No. 3, Yale at No. 5, and the University of Pennsylvania at No. 16. Thus, taking that quartet of talented teams out of the mix will have a seismic impact on who prevails as this year’s national champion.
Yale in particular was the 2018 national champion for men’s lacrosse, and was the 2019 runner-up.
The women’s lacrosse situation, while not quite as pronounced, also features several nationally ranked Ivy League teams with Dartmouth at No. 7, Penn at No. 11, and Princeton at No. 15.
The Ivy League in its announcement did not indicate what will happen with the athletic eligibility of those student-athletes who are now losing a season of play. But it is likely the conference will seek to have that year of college eligibility restored to them.