All athletics suspended due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts

The Lafayette athletic department released a statement on Wednesday explaining how the college’s decision to shut down for the next three weeks due to coronavirus concerns will affect varsity sports teams. 

Not only will the teams not continue with their scheduled matches, but the athletes will return home and will not attend practice or other team activities.  

Lafayette President Alison Byerly announced Wednesday in an email to the community that “from March 16 through April 5, all college events and all non-essential Lafayette sponsored travel will be cancelled.” 

In a separate email, Byerly specified that the requirement that students leave campus “includes student-athletes.” 

“We understand the disappointment student-athletes will feel at missing opportunities for practice and competition, but the health of the entire community, and our prospects for resuming normal operations, depends on minimizing contact among all students,” she wrote.

Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman emailed the athletic community, stating that academics continue to be the priority above athletics at Lafayette, and that “continuing to hold athletic contests while making significant adjustments to our delivery of the academic program would be inconsistent with who we are as Leopards.” 

“While I share the disappointment of our student-athletes and coaching staffs, this is part of a broader action aimed at protecting the health of our students, faculty and staff as individuals, as well as protecting the health of our entire community when all of us return to campus,” she wrote.

The decision comes after the Ivy League canceled all spring sports for the semester.

The National Basketball Association also suspended its season after a player was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Byerly added that “additional guidance” regarding events such as athletics will be “forthcoming.”

UPDATE: The Patriot League canceled all sports for the rest of the spring, effective March 16, and it is up to teams’ discretion if they play up to that date, according to Patriot League Assistant Commissioner for Communications Ryan Sakamoto.

“There won’t be playoffs. There won’t be anything beyond what may happen this weekend,” Sakamoto said.

Hours after, the Patriot League canceled the conference tournament, which was set to play semifinals yesterday.

The NCAA put an end to any and all of the tournaments shortly thereafter.

About AJ Traub

AJ Traub '20 is the assistant sports editor of The Lafayette. He studies geology and French.

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