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Lacrosse teams call for opportunity to compete in spring season

Teams release joint statement noting every Division I league other than Ivy currently competing

The men’s and women’s lacrosse teams released a joint statement Thursday afternoon requesting that the Ivy League allow them to compete this spring. 

The statement was posted on both teams’ Instagram pages and addressed to Executive Director of the Ivy League Council of Presidents Robin Harris. In the letter, the athletes argued that a sports season could be completed safely despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, citing the experiences of other collegiate sports leagues that have already returned to competition. 

“Many completed seasons, with no evidence of on-field transmission, indicate that it is possible to safely complete,” the statement reads. The statement also mentions that the Ivy League is the only Division I athletic league not currently competing. 

The statement arose from a Jan. 14 Zoom call in which the women's lacrosse team was informed that the Ivy League had decided that “unless things change(d) drastically, we weren’t going to have a season yet again,” according to women’s lacrosse goalkeeper Erin Tucker ’22. Following this meeting, captains and seniors on both teams drafted a statement, received approval from their teammates, and released it.

“We are confident that together we can craft a solution to safely conduct spring athletics,” the statement reads, noting the “plethora of COVID-19 resources” available to Ivy League students. “We are aware of and engaged with the protocols surrounding COVID-19 and the implications of the disease,” the athletes added.

Athletic Director Jack Hayes noted that it is not Brown’s decision whether or not sports will compete in the spring. “Decisions regarding (a) return to competition in this extraordinarily difficult time rest with the Ivy League,” he wrote in a statement to The Herald. “We know our colleagues at the Ivy League and each of its member schools continue to monitor the state of the pandemic with the hope that the public health environment will improve and support a return to normal campus activity.”

Hayes added that “we recognize and appreciate the passion that our student-athletes have for their athletic experience, and in Brown Athletics, we share their hope of returning to athletic competition as soon as the public health situation allows.”

The athletes also pointed to mental health as another key justification for the return to sports competition in the spring and urged Harris to “consider the mental well-being of the Ivy League’s student-athletes.” 

“Athletics, namely lacrosse, have served as our outlet, consistently supporting us in times of distress,” the statement reads. “Providing an opportunity for us to compete would restore this outlet and help our mental health significantly.”

Several of Brown’s peer institutions outside of the Ivy League, including Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University, are currently competing, as well as many colleges near Ivy League campuses, the statement notes. Bryant University, Providence College and University of Rhode Island, the other three Division I schools in the Ocean State, are all currently competing in their winter seasons. 

The Ivy League cancelled all winter sports Nov. 12, The Herald previously reported. The League will make a decision regarding spring sports before the end of February. 

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the Jan. 14 Zoom call included both the men's and women's lacrosse teams. In fact, only the women's team was present.



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