Over the course of a few days this spring, student-athletes saw their worlds turned upside-down. With athletic competition canceled until at least 2021, there is still significant uncertainty about when and how athletics will resume at Princeton. Check out the timeline below to see how the spread of COVID-19 disrupted Princeton Athletics.
March 9, 2020
It Begins: The Ivy League announces the cancellation of the men's and women's basketball tournaments
"Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision," Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris stated via the press release. Princeton women's basketball automatically received the League's NCAA spot in the national tournament.
March 11, 2020
Ivy League Presidents agree to cancel spring sports, leaving winter sports post-season decisions up to individual schools
Just days after cancelling the Ivy League basketball tournaments, the presidents of the Ancient Eight announced they unanimously decided to cancel all spring athletic practice and competition. Each Ivy League university was left to determine whether or not winter sports athletes and teams who qualified for post-season matches or championships could continue.
March 12, 2020
Women's basketball was set to make their ninth NCAA women's tournament appearance. Other winter sports also had their successes suddenly ended. "It is devastating to have a historic season for our program come to an end in this way, but I am proud of my team and confident we have set a new standard for Princeton Wrestling," wrote head wrestling coach Chris Ayres in an email to the Daily Princetonian.
March 30, 2020
NCAA grants an extra year of eligibility to spring sport athletes, denies it to winter sport athletes
The NCAA announced it was giving schools the ability to grant spring-sport athletes who had their seasons eliminated due to Covid-19 an extra year of collegiate athletic eligibility. It didn't extend the relief to winter-sport athletes.
April 2, 2020
The Ivy League says its athletes won't receive an extra year of eligibility despite NCAA relief
The Ivy League reaffirmed that, consistent with their existing policies, graduate students will not be able to participate in varsity athletic events. The decision extinguished the possibility for spring-sport athletes to regain a year of competition as graduate students.
April 9, 2020
"[D]ue to the University's strong belief that all students should remain in school now more than ever," Princeton Athletics director Molly Marcoux Samaan '91 wrote, "Princeton has decided that it will not approve the necessary waivers for students who withdraw from the Spring '20 semester to use their 5th year of eligibility at Princeton." The ultimate decision was not made by Marcoux Samaan or anyone in athletics — instead, it fell to University President Christopher Eisgruber '83.
April 10, 2020
Student-Athletes speak out against the University's decision to deny eligibility to athletes who withdraw
A group of Princeton athletes publish an op-ed expressing their disappointment and opposition to the University's decision to deny spring-sport athletes the ability withdraw and use their fifth year of eligibility next school year.
July 8, 2020
Princeton Athletics director Molly Marcoux Samaan told student-athletes during a Zoom call that the "The Ivy League presidents have determined that while they fully understand the value of the Ivy League athletic experience, what they anticipate conditions being in the months ahead will not allow us to compete in any intercollegiate athletic competition during the fall semester." Practices and training can still happen, given they follow University-specific and governmental guidelines, the Ivy League Presidents decided.