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If the reports are true, the Ivy League will be the first Division 1 athletic conference to cancel all fall sports.

Credit: Chase Sutton

The Ivy League announced Wednesday that it has canceled all competitive sports until January 1, making it the first NCAA Division I athletic conference to enact such a policy.

A decision on whether or not the canceled sports, including football, will be made up in the spring has not yet been made.

"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," the Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a joint statement.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports initially reported the decision Wednesday afternoon before the decision was confirmed.

Players and teams will be allowed to practice as long as the training stays within each institution's procedures as well as state regulations.

Fall sport athletes will not lose a year of eligibility regardless of their decision to enroll, but it is unclear if the Ivy League's rule prohibiting graduate students from playing has been altered.

A decision on the status of winter and spring sports will come at a later date, but winter sports must also wait until at least the start of 2021 to begin competition.

The decisions were made after a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases in July, and after several members of the Ivy League revealed plans for online classes and reduced student density on campus in the fall. Only Penn and Cornell are allowing the entire student body to return, while the other six schools are rotating which classes can come back.

The Ancient Eight's announcement may produce a ripple effect across all of college sports. It briefly received significant criticism as the first league to cancel its basketball conference tournaments in March, but virtually every other sports body in the world followed suit within a week as the magnitude and seriousness of the coronavirus became clear.

Although Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour has called a spring football season a “last resort," the reality is that the pandemic is still rampant and the activities involved with a college athletic season are not consistent with public health guidelines. 

The postponement of collegiate seasons would likely need to come from conferences, as the NCAA does not have control over scheduling. Power 5 commissioners are reportedly waiting to see the coronavirus case numbers post-Independence Day before making their decisions, which will likely come no later than early August.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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