Courtesy of Yale Athletics

On March 15, Yale Athletics progressed to Phase II of the Ivy League’s plan for the resumption of athletic activities.

In Phase II, group sizes and spacing between athletes during practices may be adjusted in accordance with campus policies, but the same general requirements as those in Phase I still apply: Sport-specific activity is permitted, and masks are required unless student-athletes are outdoors and spaced at least 12 feet apart.

Yale Athletics’ Director of Strategic Communications Mike Gambardella confirmed with the News in an email last weekend that the Bulldogs have been practicing in Phase II since mid-March, marking the longest stretch that Yale Athletics has spent in Phase II or higher since the Ivy League rolled out its phasing framework before this academic year. Previously, the department had been in Phase I since Feb. 15 after two weeks in Phase 0 at the start of the semester.

“It’s great to be in Phase II and getting more and more opportunities to work at our sport,” Yale baseball captain and catcher Cal Christofori ’21 said. “Seeing my teammates every day has been really nice, and it gives us something to look forward to.”

Unlike last semester, sport-specific training is allowed in the Phase I stage of the resumption of athletic activities plan this spring. Now, the difference between Phase I and II is not as significant as it was last semester, but Yale’s mid-March shift to Phase II still represents progress towards Phase IV, the new phase added this semester that would theoretically allow for athletic competition between Yale teams and local, nonconference opponents.

“Honestly for us, nothing has changed going from Phase I [to] II because there are so few of us already,” volleyball outside hitter and 2021 season captain Ellis DeJardin ’22 said, referring to the high number of teammates enrolled remotely or taking leaves of absence this spring. “It’s been super nice being able to get reps in on a regular basis — we may not have a lot of our team on campus, but we’ve been able to find ways to put work in and get better, regardless.”

The Ivy League’s phasing guidelines this spring. (Graphic: Megan Graham, Production & Design Editor)

Last semester, Yale did not reach Phase III and only spent six days in Phase II, which was then the earliest stage in which teams could participate in sport-specific activities.

But this spring, at least two other Ivy League schools — Brown and Penn — that have reached Phase IV after passing through Phase III have been approved for local competition. On March 27, Penn became the first Ivy League school to compete since the onset of the pandemic when it hosted a baseball doubleheader against Villanova and the track and field “Penn Challenge” at Franklin Field. Nine spring Quaker teams have multiple games now scheduled for this month. Brown Athletics received permission to compete beginning on April 3.

Yale’s phasing progression this semester has been far more linear than it was last semester. Teams’ phasing status changed six times over the course of last fall, usually ebbing and flowing with the status of viral transmission on Yale’s campus. This semester has been more constant, despite a spike in COVID-19 cases among off-campus students that occurred over the course of the week Yale upgraded to Phase II.

“Athletics continues to follow all guidelines and protocols in Phase II,” Gambardella wrote in an email to the News. “If Yale Team Physicians advise a promotion to Phase III and the University COVID-19 Review Committee approves it, we will inform our coaches and student-athletes at that time.”

Yale Athletics switched its phasing status 6 times during the fall semester, while this spring’s progression has been linear. (Graphic: Megan Graham, Production & Design Editor)

While most sports teams have been practicing their respective sports since the start of Phase I on February 15, there is one notable exception: the men’s golf team. The men’s golf team has not been able to get out on the course for sport-specific training because the Yale Golf Course has been closed since late last fall and is not set to open until April 13. The women’s golf team would be suffering from the same problem, but everyone on the team is either enrolled remotely or currently taking a gap semester, according to women’s golfer Kaitlin Lee ’24.

Yale teams began the semester in Phase 0 with no in-person activity until they transitioned to Phase I on Feb. 15.

Eugenio Garza García | eugenio.garzagarcia@yale.edu