Some Princeton athletes will compete this spring, after all.
Princeton Athletics has entered Phase IV, the final stage of the Ivy League’s four-phase plan which allows for “local non-conference competition,” a spokesperson for Princeton Athletics confirmed to The Daily Princetonian this evening. Additional details were not provided by the time of publication.
The Ivy League said previously that it would not be holding any official conference competition during the 2021 spring season.
Princeton athletes began the semester in Phase 0, which allowed for virtual meetings only. After the end of the quarantine period, teams moved to Phase I, which allowed for 12 hours of in-person, socially-distant practice per week. As the teams progressed through Phase II and Phase III during the semester, they were allowed to increase practice sizes, and some social-distancing protocols were relaxed.
In a February announcement, the Ivy League said that if the state of the pandemic “substantially improve[s],” competition may resume for each institution in accordance with state and local guidelines.
As of April 19, nearly half of New Jersey adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the seven-day rolling average of daily cases in Mercer County has dropped below 100 multiple times in the months of March and April. Prior to this March, it had not been below 100 since November.
At least one Princeton team is looking to return to competition later this month. The track and field team plans to have their first meet in late April, according to an email from a coach obtained by the ‘Prince’.
It is unclear whether other spring teams — baseball, softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, men’s volleyball, and women’s water polo — especially those with significantly-smaller roster sizes this semester, will compete this spring. According to one student on the women’s lacrosse team, official lacrosse practices end next Tuesday before reading period, and no games are scheduled to take place this season.
A spokesperson for Princeton Athletics was unable to provide details regarding which teams will and will not compete by the time of publication.
Princeton is not the first in the Ivy League to progress to Phase IV.
In late March, Penn made headlines when it became the first Ivy League school to participate in competitions since the start of the pandemic. Penn’s track and field team hosted an invitational for local schools such as Rider, Villanova, St. Joseph’s, and Temple shortly after.