After more than a year without Ivy League athletics due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league is expected to resume a full competition schedule in fall 2021, the Ivy League Council of Presidents announced in a joint statement Tuesday.
The presidents convened last week to finalize their shared aim of returning to regular competition for the upcoming fall season, “barring any extraordinary circumstance” surrounding the pandemic, according to an emailed statement Harvard’s Athletics Director Erin McDermott sent to student athletes on Tuesday.
The presidents cited marked improvements in infection case numbers nationally as well as vaccination rollouts as drivers of their decision.
“[G]iven the current steady decline of Covid-19 infections in this country, and the broad availability and uptake of vaccinations, we are optimistic that our campuses will be back to something close to normal by this fall, including in-person learning with students in residence,” the presidents said in their statement. “And this includes our expectation for the resumption of regular competitive schedules for Ivy League athletics across all sports beginning in fall 2021.
Harvard announced in March it plans to invite all undergraduates back to campus to live and attend in-person classes for the fall semester. University President Lawrence S. Bacow also wrote to affiliates on Wednesday that Harvard will require all undergraduates living on campus in the fall to get inoculated against the coronavirus.
Harvard men’s soccer player Maximillian J. “Max” Goeggel ’24-’25 said he is excited to compete for Harvard in the fall. Goeggel added that time away from the field was valuable.
“I wouldn’t say I had burnout, but I definitely lost a little bit of the passion for [soccer], and taking a break from it and getting some time to do some other things allowed me to find the hunger to get back into it,” Goeggel said.
Goeggel, who worked at an architecture firm during a gap year, said he anticipates leaving his job shortly to rededicate himself to training.
“I need to focus on getting physically fit after not playing really organized soccer for a year,” he said.
Football player Brock A. Locnikar ’24 said he is excited to embrace the intensity of Division I football after spending his first year at Harvard participating in socially-distanced practices.
“As a linebacker, I really love the intensity and physicality of football,” he said. “But last year being a socially-distant practice, it was very hard for me to play to my strengths.”
Though she is excited to take the field for the fall season, field hockey player Siena C. Horton ’24-’25, who is from England, wrote in an email she has concerns about being able to enter the country, which include securing a visa.
“I think it will take me actually standing on campus for me to realise that there is no longer anything to worry about,” she wrote.
Following Harvard’s announcement that it will hold an in-person fall semester, international freshmen reacted with similar excitement and concerns.
In their joint statement, the Ivy League presidents anticipated a return to “spirited athletics competition and to the Ivy League rivalries that make our conference so special.”
Locnikar said he welcomes the competition.
“The Crimson are going to take the Ivy League next year,” Locnikar said.
—Staff writer Benjamin L. Fu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenFu_2.