TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — In addition to the Fall 2020 return to campus plans, local institutions begin to release their Fall 2020 season plans for athletics, with Cornell University and Ithaca College suspending their seasons and Tompkins Cortland Community College postponing certain sports to the spring season. 

Cornell University, as a joint decision with Ivy League, announced that they will not be competing in Fall 2020 athletics. While activities such as practices and athletic training can be permitted under specific health and safety guidelines, all Ivy League institutions decided that they will be canceling the sports season for the upcoming Fall due to not being able to safely enforce guidelines such as travel restrictions and social distancing. 

With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall,” said the Ivy League Council of Presidents in a joint statement. 

Student-athletes will be also held to the same responsibilities as their peers when it comes to following guidelines such as mandatory quarantines, according to the press release. 

How practices and training will be held depends on each institution’s policies and Cornell adds that they are coming up with such plans. 

“While extremely disappointing that our student-athletes will not have the opportunity to compete for the Big Red this semester, I am assured this decision was deliberated by the Ivy presidents with much care and thoughtful discussion,” said Andy Noel, the Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Cornell University. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, families, and the entire Cornell community will always be the paramount consideration.”

Rescinding their previous decision, the Liberty League Council of Presidents announced yesterday that they will cancelling competitions and championships for the Fall 2020 sports season, in light of the rise in COVID-19 numbers.

Previous guidance released by the Council had stated that the League would start later than usual but would take place with specific guidelines.

“With institutions and conferences, both regionally and nationally, making the difficult decision to cancel fall competition, our announcement to cancel Liberty League competition and championships will likely not come as a surprise,” said Tracy King, the League Commissioner. “Nevertheless, I understand the deep disappointment that many of our student-athletes, who have trained and prepared for competition, will feel with this decision. Moving forward, our members will continue to work together to provide meaningful athletic opportunities to support our student-athletes.”

If this decision was not to be set in place, the Ithaca Bombers would have played against Bard College, Clarkson University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Rochester Institute of Technology, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, University of Rochester, and Vassar College.  

Rochester Polytechnic Institute and Union College, who are both parts of the Liberty League, had announced that they will not be competing in Fall 2020 athletics prior to the league cancellation. 

“Our internal Safe Return to Sport Task Force, along with campus and Liberty League partners, has explored every possible avenue for a way for Ithaca College to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition,” said Susan Bassett, the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and recreational sports at IC.”The health and safety of our students, coaches, and entire campus community is our top priority. The measures required to enhance safety, which include social distancing policies, reduced off-campus travel, and restrictions on visitors to campus, prohibit our ability to provide intercollegiate athletics competition this fall. We took a thorough, process-oriented approach to our decision-making and were guided by the most current scientific and medical information in reaching this disappointing conclusion.”

While the League will not take place, Bassett noted that the athletes will be provided opportunities to engage with each other and train, under the guidelines released by the institution. 

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) announced that they will be postponing some of their Fall athletics to the spring season. While Cross Country can still compete in Fall, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, and basketball have been moved entirely to spring. 

The Athletics Department will be holding meetings with the student-athletes regarding returning procedures, health and safety guidelines, and schedules. This will also give the families a chance to have some of their questions answered, noted the TC3 press release. 

Athletic training, practices, and conditioning will still be available to all teams to prepare for the spring season and build team chemistry, said  Mick McDaniel, Director of Athletics at Tompkins Cortland.

“When we had to shut things down in the spring, I said it was a necessary step to take so we could look forward to taking to the fields another day. I feel the same about this change,” added McDaniel. “ It is disappointing, but a needed action to get us back to where we want to be.”