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lehigh-university-football-stadium
Lehigh University is a member of the Patriot League. (Photo by Zeete | CC BY-SA 4.0)

On the heels of the Ivy League’s decision to cancel fall sports, other NCAA athletic conferences have begun to follow suit.

The Patriot League decided on Monday that teams would not engage in competition during the fall season, but athletes are still permitted to practice. Decisions about the winter and spring seasons will be made at a later date.

“The collegiate athletics experience at all Patriot League institutions is valuable to fulfilling our educational and developmental missions, and the League recognizes that any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to our student-athletes, coaches, and fans,” the Patriot League Council of Presidents stated, in a joint announcement. “However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority.”

Notably, the United States Military Academy and Naval Academy are exempt from the decision, with their seasons left up to the schools’ superintendents.

The cancellation makes the Patriot League the first to cancel after the Ivy League’s decision a week ago. Since the Ivy League’s decision, which was fueled by a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases, the number of new daily cases in the United States has only increased. Especially as many other universities are going online for the fall semester, the Patriot League may not be the last conference to cancel its fall athletics.

While no other conferences have canceled their seasons, some Power 5 conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision have begun to announce restrictions on fall play.

On July 9, the Big Ten announced that all play, including football, was to be conference-only. One day later, the Pac-12 also moved to a conference-only system.

Other conferences have yet to release a decision. Out of the remainder of the Power 5, the Big 12, ACC, and SEC plan to release statements later in July. The ACC has indefinitely postponed its media days, which were originally to be held from July 21-23.

“Over the last few months, our conference has prepared numerous scenarios related to the fall athletics season. The league membership and our medical advisory group will make every effort to be as prepared as possible during these unprecedented times, and we anticipate a decision by our Board of Directors in late July,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.

As the Patriot League had initially decided in late June to proceed with a shortened season with restrictions on travel and inter-conference play, the plans for all the conferences are still subject to change, especially with the rapidly changing landscape of COVID-19.

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