Courtesy of Rich Barnes/Yale Athletics

As student-athletes’ fates remain in limbo regarding spring competition, the Yale men’s lacrosse team has officially decided that it will not play this season due to an insufficient number of players enrolled, according to an email sent from head coach Andy Shay to some alumni of the program. Shay also confirmed in the email obtained by the News that TD Ierlan ’21 will transfer to the University of Denver.

“The team had to choose to enroll and quarantine on February 1, and unfortunately, they were not certain that they would be able to play,” Shay wrote in the email. The Ivy League has not yet announced an official decision on spring competition. “Since they all want at least one more guaranteed season in a Yale Lacrosse jersey, the overwhelming majority decided not to challenge it. They have been incredibly resilient throughout this entire process.”

Shay continued to say that faceoff specialist Ierlan will graduate from Yale but complete his final season at the University of Denver. Ierlan will be a significant addition to Denver, which narrowly won its first game on Saturday. He will be reunited with former Bulldog Jackson Morrill ’20, who captained Yale last season until its cancellation. Former Yale midfielder Lucas Cotler ’20 is also currently on the Denver roster.

Ierlan, perhaps the most decorated collegiate faceoff specialist in history, broke numerous NCAA records during his time manning the X at Yale and was given several All-American honors. The transfer from Albany earned first-team All-American honors in each of his two seasons at Yale and helped lead the Bulldogs to its second consecutive NCAA championship game during his tenure. He announced last Wednesday that he had entered the transfer portal. 

Ierlan — who faced a similar situation in 2020 when the Ivy League canceled spring competition midway through the season — told the News last spring, “If I play again, it’ll be at Yale.” But 10 months later, he’s changed his mind.

“Due to the current state of the Ivy League, I had to enter the [transfer] portal as a backup measure in case they do not feel comfortable with allowing spring sports,” Ierlan said last week. “We have received limited information from the Ivy League. … It would be devastating to everyone [if they] decided to cancel.”

Shay emphasized that Ierlan would have played at Yale if it were at all possible, but the team did not meet the minimum of having at least 10 players enrolled. Ierlan said the Ivy League’s lack of a decision and little hope for spring competition is what first drove him to enter the transfer portal. Despite transferring to Denver, Ierlan will transfer his credits and graduate with a Yale degree.

Nearly two weeks ago, the Ancient Eight released the first update on athletic competition since its November statement that officially canceled winter sports and postponed any semblance of a competitive spring season until at least the end of February. However, the league refrained from making an official decision on the status of competition. It acknowledged that its athletes may need to make enrollment decisions without a concrete plan in place for spring competition, yet the Ivy League Council of Presidents stated that “significant changes in the state of the pandemic” would be necessary before competition can be considered. 

Yale Athletics did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.

Akshar Agarwal | akshar.agarwal@yale.edu