As decisions are being weighed about the fate of the college football season this fall, the Ivy League may not be affected by them.
In a recent conference call with congressional leaders and sports executives, NCAA President Mark Emmert said that the season could look drastically different, with conference championship games being played before Thanksgiving.
Emmert also said that it was possible that some schools will not field a football team this fall, although he remained confident that those that do will start on time.
The Ivy League does not have conference championship games because of a league rule that limits each team to only 10 games per season. This rule also means that their season starts in mid-to-late September, as opposed to the traditional Labor Day start date of other schools.
As NCAA President, Emmert does not have the capacity to alter schedules, but his warnings suggest that despite the optimism of fans and executives alike, there are serious doubts of a normal season this fall.
Professional sports leagues, such as the NBA, have already announced plans to return to play in the absence of fans. Many collegiate football teams have already invited players back to campus for training, but multiple have resulted in athletes contracting the coronavirus.
Given that the Ivy League was one of the first sports bodies to cancel seasons due to the coronavirus, it would not be surprising if either the League or its members decide to postpone or cancel the fall sports season altogether.
Sporting events are not consistent with President Amy Gutmann's plan for a reopening in the fall, as sports require significant traveling in and out of Philadelphia and extensive human contact.
However, the late start date and early finish of the Ivy League make it possible that any decisions made by the NCAA or individual schools could not result in a loss of games for any members of the Ancient Eight.
Penn’s first football game of the season is currently scheduled for Sept. 19 at home against the Bucknell Bison.
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