Ivy League Football’s Expected Fall Postponement Could Cause A Domino Effect, Analysts Say

Harvard football players celebrate a touchdown
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The Ivy League is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday regarding whether its member schools will play college football this fall. Several coaches that Bruce Feldman and Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic talked to expect the announcement will say they will not be playing any sports until the spring of 2021 at the earliest, Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk reported Tuesday.

“In order to have an effective season without hiccups, time is the answer,” one Ivy League coach said. “If we play in the spring, it won’t bother me.”

Gantt reported another Ivy League coach said the spring would seem to make more sense considering the way coronavirus cases are spiking.

While the Ivy League is going to make everything official later this week, Harvard made a move that some believe is a foreshadowing of what the rest of the member schools are apt to do. The school announced on Monday that all of its classes this fall will be online only. At the same time, the announcement doesn’t mean Harvard is ruling out sports altogether as Gantt said it is planning on bringing some students back to campus.

Yale football players prepare for an Ivy League game
  Adam Glanzman / Getty Images

Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald wrote that while Ivy League football doesn’t bear much resemblance to major college football if the conference decides to officially postpone football until the spring, he thinks other major conferences could follow suit.

In an article talking about the various coaches and athletes that have called for the public to wear a mask to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus, McKewon wrote college officials are likely to err on the side of caution.

“Imagine walking down a bank to a river. There are stones in the river that make it possible to cross, but the water is moving so fast that they can barely be seen. The rapids make it hard — in reality, and perception — to even make the attempt,” the analyst wrote. “What if the water slowed down, though, so that the stones could be seen? There isn’t any guarantee someone won’t slip on a rock, but if the river looks crossable, it’s much more likely to be traversed.”

McKewon also said even if the major conferences follow the expected lead of the Ivy League and postpone the 2020 season to early 2021, there are some schools that might try to forge ahead this fall on their own. The likelihood of that isn’t strong though, he added.