Patriot League is Cancelling Fall Sports

No Lehigh vs. Lafayette football this year, at least not in the fall.

The Patriot League announced today that it won’t play fall sports, following similar decisions by the Ivy League and other smaller conferences.

Here’s the press release:

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Recognizing the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to present significant challenges to our campuses and communities, the Patriot League Council of Presidents announces the following decisions regarding Patriot League competition:

  • Patriot League teams will not engage in competition in the fall season (championship and non-championship);
  • Decisions surrounding winter and spring sport competition will be made at a later date; and,
  • The opportunity for conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities in all sports will be permitted provided health and safety conditions support such activities.

Because the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy are unique in their environments and their missions within higher education, the Council of Presidents agree that the academies may continue to engage in competitive opportunities as considered appropriate by their respective Superintendents.

The collegiate athletics experience at all Patriot League institutions is valuable to fulfilling our educational and developmental missions, and the League recognizes that any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority.

The League is committed to exploring creative approaches and alternatives to providing future competitive experiences to our fall sport student-athletes, including the possibility of conducting fall sport competition and championships in the second semester.

They leave open the possibility of playing football in the spring, which would be better than nothing. Lehigh and Lafayette have played 155 times dating back to October of 1884, so it would be a bummer to see a tradition like that fall by the wayside entirely. This also affects Villanova, who had two Patriot teams on the non-conference football schedule this season.

Bucknell is the other conference member located in Pennsylvania, and in basketball they typically play other regional teams out of conference. Right now winter sports remain intact, so we’ll see if that holds, or if they end up in a situation like Penn, who is restricted from doing anything until 2021 at the earliest.

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