After careful review of the health and safety needs of the Ithaca College campus community, the evolving landscape in NCAA Division III, and the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases around the country, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has come to the difficult decision to suspend all fall competition for the 2020 season.
The Liberty League, of which Ithaca College is a member, has also just announced that the league’s Presidents Council has voted to cancel all league competition and championships through Dec. 31, 2020.
“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 ’79, associate vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports. “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.”
The affected sports are men’s and women’s crew and sculling, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis (fall season), women’s golf (fall season), and volleyball.
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is committed to providing constructive opportunities for student-athletes to have a safe and meaningful experience during the fall semester. That includes the ability to practice and train, as well as to take part in team-related activities. All activities will proceed under the guidance of the college’s sports medicine team and the IC Health and Safety Committee.
“Though this was an incredibly tough decision by the college and by the Liberty League, it aligns with everything we are doing to prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty, as well as our local communities,” said Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado, who serves on the Liberty League Presidents Council. “I have had the tremendous privilege over the past three years of cheering on our talented scholar-athletes, and I know how much heart and soul they pour into their sports and into their studies. This is undoubtedly disappointing for them, but I am confident that these student leaders will step forward with the same grit and determination they demonstrate in competition to model a deep commitment to wellness, discipline, and the public good for all members of our IC community at a time when we need it most.”
As with the decision to suspend the fall athletics season, IC will take an analytical approach to determining whether competition will take place in the winter season. Both winter and spring sport student-athletes will have the opportunity to practice and train on campus in the fall. Recreational and club sports will also have the opportunity to engage during the fall semester.
“President Collado and I have been working closely with the college’s athletics and health staffs, and with the Liberty League, to determine how we can best support the well-being of our student-athletes and coaches during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life. “That work will continue, so that a comprehensive plan for managing health and safety is in place for when we are able to once again engage in intercollegiate athletics competition.”
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to President Collado and Vice President Ferro, team physician Dr. Andrew Getzin, head athletic trainer Mike Matheny, associate directors of athletics Erienne Roberts and Will Rothermel, faculty athletics representative Barb Belyea, strength and conditioning head coach Vic Brown, and medical director Dr. Ellyn Sellers-Selin, along with the Safe Return to Sport Task Force and IC Health and Safety Committee, for their tireless advocacy and pursuit of a path forward for athletics engagement,” added Bassett.