BASKETBALL: Due to COVID-19 concerns, Ivy League presidents cancel Ivy Madness
The league’s regular-season champions, the Yale men and Princeton women, will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament.
On Tuesday morning, the Ivy League announced the cancellation of its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
Ivy Madness, which Harvard was set to host at Lavietes Pavilion this weekend, will not occur due to concern for the health of students, general campus communities and the larger public in regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. According to the New York Times, the case count in Massachusetts had reached 41 by Tuesday morning.
As a result of the tournament’s cancellation, Yale men’s basketball and Princeton women’s basketball will receive the league’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. Both teams ended the regular season as outright champions.
“We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said in the press release. “Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.”
According to the release, University presidents made the decision to cancel the tournament.
The decision was made public just hours after Harvard President Lawrence Bacow announced that all Harvard classes would be transitioned to online platforms. In an official press release, Bacow asked students not to return to campus after spring break, which begins this Saturday.
“All options were thoroughly analyzed and discussed,” the Ivy League’s Associate Executive Director for Strategic Communications and External Relations Matt Panto wrote in an email to the News Tuesday afternoon.
Yale players and coaches directed requests for comment to the Ivy League. Eli guard Roxy Barahman ’20, who ranks third in scoring among all women’s basketball players in the Ancient Eight, called the decision “absolutely heartbreaking” on Twitter. Harvard senior guard Bryce Aiken, who was the Crimson’s leading scorer through seven games this season before suffering an injury, reacted negatively to the announcement as well, calling it a “horrible, horrible, horrible decision.” His Tweet received about 4,000 likes within the hour.
Trey Phills ’19, a starting guard on the Yale team that won Ivy Madness to advance to the NCAA Tournament last season, weighed in as well, adding that he was “really proud” of the Yale women, who would have entered the weekend as the No. 3 seed.
“Obviously great for a few, but this is yet another example of @IvyLeague administration failing to recognize the student-athlete experience in the same regard as every other student,” Phills wrote on Twitter.
In addition to cancelling Ivy Madness, the conference announced a strict “spectator limitation” for all other upcoming athletic events.
Tuesday 6:25 p.m. | This story has been updated to include additional comment from the Ivy League and reactions from players on social media.
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