William McCormack, Contributing Photographer

The Yale men’s basketball team’s third straight Ivy League game is being postponed due to “COVID-19 concerns and safety protocols” within the Yale program.

Yale, Harvard and the Ivy League will now reschedule what would have been a Sunday 2 p.m. tipoff between the two rivals in Boston. The game was also set to be nationally televised on ESPNU. Both programs and the conference announced the postponement in press releases Saturday afternoon.

“Due to COVID-19 concerns and safety protocols within the Yale men’s basketball program, Yale’s game against Harvard on Sunday, Jan. 9 at Lavietes Pavilion has been postponed,” the Ivy League wrote in a statement.

Both Yale’s Jan. 2 game vs. Columbia and its Jan. 7 contest at Dartmouth were postponed for the same reason. While the Bulldogs’ game at the Big Green was postponed on Monday, days before the scheduled contest, the announcement of the Yale–Harvard game’s postponement came more abruptly, occurring less than 24 hours before tipoff. Both Harvard and Yale’s athletic departments published official previews for the match earlier on Saturday.

If the game had taken place Sunday, Yale would have been opening its Ivy League season against Harvard for the first time since the 2000–2001 season, when the Bulldogs beat the Crimson in overtime, 85–83, on Jan. 12, 2001.

Ivy League play started on Jan. 2 this season, two weeks earlier than it typically has in the past. The new format distributes each team’s slate of 14 league games over 10 weeks instead of eight and reduces the number of back-to-back Friday and Saturday matches Ivy squads play. But Yale’s third postponement means the Ancient Eight’s revised scheduling format will not feel all that new for the Bulldogs, who must now play their 14 games — 11 originally scheduled and three postponed — over the usual eight weeks. 

Yale’s COVID-19 pause comes as New Haven and the country experience high transmission of the coronavirus and its Omicron variant. The University, which publicized arrival quarantine plans for undergraduates this week, recorded more COVID-19 cases in the first six days of 2022, 597, than it did in the first seven months of 2021. With most undergraduates not in New Haven during winter break, the large majority of positive cases have occurred among faculty and staff and professional and graduate students. Between January 1 and January 6, the most recent day when data is currently available, 29 undergraduates tested positive, according to Yale’s public COVID-19 dashboard.

Yale Athletics announced Wednesday that the Bulldogs’ game vs. Columbia will now take place on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in New Haven. New dates and times for the Elis’ games at Dartmouth and Harvard have not yet been announced.

Yale is next scheduled to host Cornell Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m.

WILLIAM MCCORMACK
William McCormack covers Yale men's basketball. He previously served as a Sports and Digital Editor for the Yale Daily News and also reported on the athletic administration as a staff reporter. Originally from Boston, he is a senior in Timothy Dwight College.