MIT will not compete in varsity sports during Spring 2021

Teams will be allowed to participate in modified in-person training and conditioning

Director of Athletics and Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER) Head G. Anthony Grant announced that MIT will not compete in varsity athletics during Spring 2021 on account of health and safety concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, DAPER announced Feb. 11. All spring club sports competition and travel will also be canceled.

The cancellation will impact “baseball, men’s heavyweight crew, men’s and women’s lightweight crew, women’s openweight crew, men’s and women’s lacrosse, sailing, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field and men’s volleyball.”

The decision to cancel spring semester sports competition “was very difficult, but we made it after much deliberation, consideration of federal, state, local and MIT Medical guidelines, and discussion with other stakeholders,” said Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life. Student athletes’ and the community’s “health and well-being are our paramount concerns,” Nelson said.

The department is “currently working with MIT Medical and other campus partners on a plan to allow teams to participate in modified in-person training and conditioning during the semester,” consistent with National Collegiate Athletic Association health and safety guidelines, according to DAPER’s announcement.

The COVID-19 considerations for intercollegiate sports on the MIT Athletics website include testing and attestation consistent with campus expectations; voluntary participation, staggered start times for practices, physical distance of six feet minimum, hand washing, face coverings, no provided water, and minimized use of shared equipment for in-person team activity sessions, strength and conditioning sessions, and Equipment Room access; remote team meetings; and suspension of locker room and laundry services.

The Sports Medicine Center will require appointments for routine care, virtual appointments where appropriate, and on-site temperature checks where appropriate.

For club and intramural sports, on-campus offerings will continue, consistent with state, local, and institutional guidelines while being subject to review. Club sports will employ physically-distant skill drills and introductory activities for new members. An in-person intramural weekly league has been introduced for “cornhole, tennis, badminton, Kan Jam, soccer volley and a three-point shooting contest.”

DAPER “will have competitive leagues on, as well as a casual drop-in every night from Monday-Friday” on the Intramural Discord server for students who want to play esports, the DAPER website writes.

DAPER is “committed to providing a meaningful athletic experience for our student-athletes while adhering to the most up-to-date health and safety guidelines,” Grant wrote in the announcement. “We are very much looking forward to the time when all of our student-athletes are back on campus striving for excellence in the classroom, in the community and in competition.”