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As Coronavirus Spreads, Harvard Cancels Athletics

3.13.20

After University administrators informed College students that they must move out of their dorms by 5 p.m. on Sunday, Harvard Athletics began to make its own cancellations—a prudent decision, but a brutal blow to athletes, coaches, and staff.

On Tuesday, the Ivy League decided to cancel the Ivy League Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments (scheduled to take place in Lavietes Pavilion), but didn’t unilaterally end competitions across the league. The League selected Yale and Princeton, the regular-season men’s and women’s winners, to represent the league at their respective NCAA Division I Basketball Tournaments. Two days later, the NCAA canceled the tournaments altogether.

The initial lack of clarity frustrated athletes who were set to compete in postseason championship events. Kieran Tuntivate ‘20, who had run a Harvard-record 3:57 mile earlier in the season to qualify for the NCAA Division I Indoor National Championships, detailed on Instagram how the College had removed him and his teammates from the competition minutes before they were set to leave campus for Albuquerque, New Mexico. Anna Juul ’21 and Abbe Goldstein ’21, who also qualified for the event, expressed similar sentiments on the site.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Kieran Charles Tuntivate (@kierunner) on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:07pm PDT

Harvard’s cancellation proved fortunate, as the entire championship was later canceled. “Actually thanks to Harvard I’m not stuck in Albuquerque now,” Tuntivate posted on Instagram.

By Wednesday at 3 p.m., the scope of the cancellations was clear. Every Ivy League spring sporting event was canceled, and the University declared that no Harvard athlete would participate in any individual or team postseason competition. The ECAC Hockey men’s quarterfinal, between Harvard and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutepreviously scheduled to be played this weekend without an audiencewas canceled, too. 

“We understand the disappointment that will be felt by many of you and many in our community,” wrote Harvard Athletics director Robert L. Scalise in a statement to coaches and staff, “but we must be guided by what is best for the health and safety of all.”

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