Cambridge, Mass. (July 7) -- MIT today announced its plans for the fall 2020 semester in an email from MIT President L. Rafael Reif. The plans will have a direct and immediate impact on the MIT Athletics fall seasons for varsity sports.
Due to the limited cohort of students who will be permitted to return to campus in the fall and the unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, MIT has decided to cancel all fall varsity sports. A final decision about winter sports has not been made yet. Winter sports athletes and coaches should be aware that, if the winter season does in fact move forward, it would begin no earlier than January 1, 2021. "Given the restricted number of students who will be invited back to campus, as well as health and safety concerns, we will be unable to field teams sufficient for competition," said G. Anthony Grant, MIT athletic director and head of the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER). "This was a difficult, but responsible decision given the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to present health and safety risks throughout the fall. This is a disappointing outcome for the DAPER community - especially our fall athletes and coaches - but we will persevere, find ways to support one another, and move forward with planning for the possibility of winter and spring athletic seasons," Grant added.
At this time, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) has not announced its plan for the fall 2020 athletic season. Nonetheless, MIT will continue to follow guidance from federal, state and local public health authorities and MIT Medical, along with any directives from the NEWMAC and the NCAA.
"Intercollegiate athletics is a critical part of the MIT experience for many of our students, and it is the goal of the Institute to provide the best athletic experience possible this year while also doing so safely and responsibly," said Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life. "We understand the disappointment that the fall student-athletes and the coaches are feeling and are here to support them. We also remain committed to resuming our varsity athletics programs as soon as it is safe to do so."
As a result of today's announcement, all fall club sports competition and travel will also be cancelled. On-campus offerings for both club sports and intramurals will be reviewed based on student demographics and health and safety guidelines. Physical Education and Wellness classes will be offered in the fall, with a likely combination of virtual and in-person learning as the exact curriculum is still being developed.
Recreation will be opening the DAPER outdoor facilities beginning on July 13 with Steinbrenner Stadium, the Sherie and Don (1961) Morrison Track, Jack Barry Field, the duPont Outdoor Tennis Courts and the Walter C. Wood Sailing Pavilion opening. In addition, the reopening of the DAPER indoor facilities, including the Zesiger Center, Johnson Athletic Center, the J.B. Carr Tennis Bubble, duPont Athletic Center, Alumni Pool and Wang Fitness Center will continue to be evaluated as part of the overall phased reopening of the Institute in the fall. In addition to the facility updates, Recreation will continue to offer a wide variety of virtual programming and activities for the MIT community throughout the academic year.