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Princeton Athletics and COVID-19: A Timeline

The football team, like other fall athletes, saw their season canceled.
Jack Graham / Kenny Peng / The Daily Princetonian

Over the course of a few days of spring 2020, student-athletes saw their worlds turned upside-down. Even in the new year, 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. 


Originally published on July 23, 2020. Last Updated on Jan. 17, 2021.

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

NCAA cancels all remaining winter and spring championships, including March Madness

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

Princeton announces spring-sport athletes who withdraw will not be allowed to preserve eligibility

"[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 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 made by University President Christopher Eisgruber.

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.

April 14, 2020

COVID-19 and student athletes: Response from President Eisgruber

President Eisgruber responds to student and alumni concerns and defends the Univeristy's decision regarding eligibility.

July 8, 2020

The Ivy League cancels all fall athletic competition

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.

July 27, 2020

Princeton will not cut any varsity teams

Princeton Athletics confirmed to The Daily Princetonian that there are no plans to eliminate varsity teams, amid news of other Ivy League institutions announcing cuts.

August 7, 2020

Princeton switches to entirely remote fall

Fully-remote classes and few student on campus meant no on-campus varsity athletic activities, though some other Ivy League schools permitted low-contact training.

November 12, 2020

Ivy League cancels winter athletic competition

The Ivy League Council of Presidents made the unanimous decision that they will not be conducting athletic competitions for winter sports. Details on intercollegiate athletics competition for spring sports have not yet been finalized.

November 24, 2020

Princeton to invite all undergraduates to campus this spring, with most instruction remaining online

The University announced that all undergraduate students are invited to campus in the spring. Student-athletes who return to campus will be able to practice according to the guidelines for phased activity implemented by the Ivy League in the fall 2020 term. Spring guidelines will be updated based on school and state regulations.

January 16, 2020

Carousel: Arriving at Jadwin Gym

Under a year ago in Jadwin Gym, the women's basketball team hoisted a regular season championship trophy. As students move in for the spring semester, the gymnasium is now an arrival testing center. Click to visit our Instagram to see what that looks like.