Courtesy of Yale Athletics

After more than three seasons of canceled games, Yale and its Ivy League opponents are set to return to regular athletic competition in the fall.

In an email obtained by the News sent to Yale student-athletes Tuesday at 11 a.m., Director of Athletics Vicky Chun shared a joint statement from the Ivy League Council of Presidents announcing their expectation for the resumption of Ivy League competition across all sports starting in fall 2021. The presidents cited the national decline in COVID-19 infections and the availability and uptake of vaccinations in their statement, writing that they are “optimistic that our campuses will be back to something close to normal by this fall” with in-person learning and students enrolled in residence.

“I’ve been on the edge of my seat all year waiting to hear that we would have the opportunity to compete at school again,” Yale women’s golfer Ami Gianchandani ’23 told the News. “Competing for our schools is an experience like no other and we are thrilled to hear the optimism for the fall season. I can’t wait to get back to training and competing alongside my teammates.”

The return to Ivy League competition in fall 2021 will mark the first Ancient Eight contests since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. After the spring 2020 season was cut short, the Ivy League has canceled competition in all three athletic seasons this school year, though individual schools have had the option to engage in local, nonconference competition this spring if they reach Phase IV of the conference’s plan for the resumption of athletic activities.

In recent weeks, five Ivy League schools — Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton — have had at least one spring team play against a nonconference opponent after progressing to Phase IV.

“We very much look forward to a return to spirited athletics competition and to the Ivy League rivalries that make our conference so special,” the eight presidents wrote in the statement. “Barring unanticipated circumstances, such as a dramatic increase in infection rates from a variant in the virus, we look forward to welcoming our teams back to intercollegiate competition this fall.”

Chun added that she “cannot wait for the fall” in her email.

“I’m sure I can speak on behalf of my whole team when I say that we are so grateful and excited to have the opportunity to return back to normal play in the fall,” Yale volleyball captain Ellis DeJardin ’22 told the News. “This past year has definitely been an interesting experience trying to still train under COVID conditions, but we are so excited to get to return to some sort of competitive normalcy.”

Yale’s last athletic competition occurred on March 12, 2020, when Yale women’s lacrosse defeated Fresno State 13–12 in overtime.

Eugenio Garza García covers baseball, golf and athletic phasing. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, he is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Economics and English.
James Richardson is a former staff reporter. He previously covered athletic administration, men's basketball and squash.