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Coaches prepare to move to Ivy League Phase One of athletic participation

University has not yet announced move; all head coaches met Monday morning to prepare for possible return

The Department of Athletics is planning to move into phase one of the Ivy League’s COVID-19 restrictions surrounding athletic activity on Thursday, according to a head coaches meeting held Monday morning with Interim Athletics Director Colin Sullivan.

The University, which will make the ultimate decision on whether Brown will step into the Ivy League’s phase one, has not yet officially announced the move. But three coaches present at the meeting told The Herald that they were instructed to prepare for a return to limited in-person participation on Thursday.

Returning to practice Thursday “is the plan,” said Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Head Coach Felix Mercado, who was present at the meeting. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed until I hear officially.”

The Ivy League’s phase one allows groups of up to 10 athletes to gather together for socially distanced conditioning for up to one hour a day. The restrictions within each phase are uniform throughout the League, but individual institutions have the ultimate say on whether to move up or down phases as local health conditions permit. 

Brown is currently in phase zero, in which virtual team meetings are the highest level of sanctioned athletic activity. The final decision to move to phase one ultimately rests with the University’s COVID-19 Campus Activity Level Review Team, which The Herald previously reported has no representatives from the Athletics Department. 

Some coaches are treating the tentative re-entry as more of a certainty and beginning to make concrete plans for practice. “We’re supposed to get started this Thursday with phase one. So, we can’t play five on five or anything like that,” said Women’s Basketball Head Coach Monique LeBlanc. “But when we do get on the court … we can get on the court with three players who are spread out. They can all even have their own hoop. We can get some shots up, and that is just going to feel incredible.”

According to Women’s Tennis Head Coach Lucie Schmidhauser, this was not the first the coaches had heard of a potential Thursday return to practice. 

“We had been operating under the premise (of moving to Ivy League phase one on Thursday), but it hasn’t been confirmed,” Schmidhauser said. 

“The official decision rests with the administration,” she added. “We are not privy to any of those details.” 

The Ivy League is currently the only Division I league abstaining from competitive play, having cancelled its winter season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a developing story. 


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