In its latest response to rising COVID-19 cases in New York City and within the Columbia community, Columbia Athletics announced a temporary ban on spectator attendance at home sporting events through Jan. 18, the date spring semester classes begin. Effective immediately, athletics events will proceed as scheduled, but fans will be unable to cheer on the Lions from their home stands.
“This decision was made after consulting with the University’s COVID-19 task force, medical professionals, and in accordance with campus leadership,” Athletic Director Peter Pilling said. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans, Columbia University campus, and greater New York City community is our top priority.”
The move affects 12 upcoming home events, including basketball, wrestling, and swimming and diving. The women’s basketball team (9-3, 0-0 Ivy) will open its Ivy League home slate in an empty Levien Gymnasium, as the Lions are set to play Yale (7-5, 0-0 Ivy) on Jan. 2. The spectator ban follows Columbia’s cancellation of men’s and women’s games scheduled for Dec. 28 due to COVID-19 concerns. Home athletic events for the sixth-ranked squash teams will also proceed without fans in the stands, including the women’s (3-1, 1-0 Ivy) Jan. 7 matchup against No. 10 Stanford University (0-5), as well as both teams’ Jan. 15 and 16 contests against Trinity College and Yale.
As students will attend classes virtually for the first two weeks of the spring semester, fans will also have to access Columbia home sporting events in a virtual format. ESPN+ will continue to broadcast previously scheduled basketball and wrestling events, while SNY and ESPNU are also slated to broadcast select women’s basketball games through Jan. 18. The full broadcast schedule can be found here.
Attendance at each event will be limited to “participating players, coaches, and officials, as well as athletics administrators and essential personnel required to conduct an NCAA Division I contest,” Columbia Athletics said in a press release. Columbia Athletics will contact ticket holders regarding refunds, and the ticket office can be reached at lionstickets@columbia.edu for further inquiries.