CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Patriot League Council of Presidents announced on Monday morning the cancellation of the fall 2020 sports season, citing concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a news release, league officials are leaving open the possibility of playing some fall sports in the spring 2021 season.
"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," the announcement read. "However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority."
Locally, Lehigh University and Lafayette College compete in the Patriot League.
It'll be the first year since 1896 that Lehigh and Lafayette don't face off in football.
"I'm disappointed for our athletes, who surely are eager to compete," Lehigh Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett said in a statement. "Yet I fully understand and support the difficult decision made by our league presidents."
"They properly placed the health of our communities above all else and the trends in health metrics create less optimism than we once held for being able to manage the health of our teams, especially given the travel and direct contact involved in most sports activities. We are and will remain committed to doing all we can to provide a healthy competitive opportunity for fall sport teams, perhaps in the spring."
Additionally, Monday's news release noted that decisions have not been made yet about the upcoming winter and spring sports seasons. Those decisions "will be made at a later date."
The Ivy League announced last week that it too would cancel all fall sports. In making last week's announcement, league officials said the return of winter sports won't be entertained until January.