The Ivy League on Wednesday became the first Division I conference to say it will not play sports this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league left open the possibility of moving some seasons to the spring if the outbreak is better controlled by then.
Although the coalition of eight academically elite schools does not grant athletic scholarships or compete for an NCAA football championship, the move could have ripple effects throughout the big business of college sports. Football players in the Power Five conferences have already begun workouts for a season that starts on Aug. 29, even as their schools weigh whether to open their campuses to students or continue classes remotely.
The Ivy decision affects not just football but everything before Jan. 1, including soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country, as well as the nonconference portion of the basketball season.
Power Five conferences told The Associated Press on Wednesday that they were still considering their options. But it was the Ivy League’s March 10 decision to scuttle its postseason basketball tournament that preceded a cascade of cancellations that eventually enveloped all major college and professional sports.
“What’s happening in other conferences is clearly a reflection of what’s happening nationally and any decisions are made within that context,” said Dr. Chris Kratochvil, the chair of the Big Ten’s infectious disease task force, adding that there is no “hard deadline” for a decision.
In other developments:
- Determined to reopen America's schools despite coronavirus worries, President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to hold back federal money if school districts don't bring their students back in the fall. He complained that his own public health officials' safety guidelines are impractical and too expensive.
- Four months, 3 million confirmed infections and over 130,000 deaths into the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, Americans confronted with an alarming resurgence of the scourge are facing long lines at testing sites and going a week or more without receiving a diagnosis.
- Top U.S. allies denounced the planned pullout of the United States from the World Health Organization, with the Italian health minister calling it “wrong” and a political ally of Germany's chancellor warning that the withdrawal could make more room on the world stage for China.
- People who rent have largely been able to survive the initial months of the pandemic helped by unemployment and federal relief checks. But the extra $600 in unemployment benefits ceases at the end of July and local eviction moratoriums are expiring. There is no agreement between the White House and Congress on a second federal relief package.
- Atlanta’s mayor says she will sign an executive order mandating masks in Georgia’s largest city, defying Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to strongly encourage but not require face coverings.
- Many familiar pregame sights won't be back when baseball and the NBA return later this month. Managers won't exchange lineup cards at home plate and basketball lineup introductions won't feature special high fives. There also won't be the ritual of a gaggle of reporters crowding around a manager before the game or waiting for LeBron James or Brad Stevens to emerge for interviews after an NBA game.
- The U.S. government’s small business lending program sent pandemic relief money into unexpected corners of the entertainment industry, from a godfather of cinema to Kermit the Frog.
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