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Ivy League cancels competitions, Harvard athletes kept from NCAAs

Harvard's rules on coronavirus will keep three track athletes from competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships

The NCAA’s Ivy League announced yesterday that all of the conference’s competitions are cancelled for the remainder of the academic year. Officials voted unanimously to cancel the rest of the athletics calendar, but they left the decision regarding out-of-conference competitions up to individual institutions. This means that, if athletes had already qualified for their postseason, each school could decide whether or not to let them compete. Harvard track athletes Abbe GoldsteinAnna Juul and Kieran Tuntivate qualified for this weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships, but they learned last-minute that their school had decided not to let them travel to the meet.

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The three athletes all qualified for the mile at the NCAA Indoors, which are set for March 13 and 14 in Albuquerque, N.M. They each took to Instagram yesterday to voice their displeasure with the decision made by Harvard.

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“We just found out 50 minutes ago10 minutes before leaving for the airportthat the university administration … scratched us from the meet against our will,” Goldstein wrote. “I have personally never been more disappointed in Harvard and its total lack of care for its athletes.”

Juul echoed Goldstein’s words, writing that she was “beyond disappointed in this institution which seems more interested in liability and haphazard policy than the lives and wellbeing of its students.” Tuntivate posted a photo from the Ivy League Indoor Championships with a caption that read, in part, “I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my last race for Harvard.”

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Harvard’s spring break starts March 15, but the school announced that students were not to return to campus following the week off and that classes would be continued remotely. Tuntivate wrote that he and his two teammates were “packed up for the semester, moved out of the dorms and about to load the van” and head to the airport. That was when they got the news that Harvard had cancelled their flights to New Mexico.

The decision clearly upset the three Harvard runners, and it has people questioning the school’s decision.

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“This doesn’t make much sense,” Jonathan Gault of Lets Run wrote on Twitter. “I can understand Harvard closing its campus, but if these athletes aren’t returning to campus from NCAAs, who, exactly, is their participation at NCAAs hurting?” 

This would have been Goldstein’s first time competing at the NCAA championships. Juul raced the NCAA’s outdoor and cross-country championships in 2019, and Tuntivate ran cross-country nationals last year as well.

The NCAA Indoor Championships are still set to go ahead this weekend, although fans will not be permitted to spectate.