The University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics said Friday it is continuing to evaluate whether to conduct the 126th Penn Relays next month in the wake of cancellations of the collegiate spring sports seasons and a 30-day ban by the city of Philadelphia for gatherings of more than 1,000 people because of concerns over coronavirus.
The event is scheduled to run from April 23 through 25.
The annual carnival took a hit earlier this week when the government of Jamaica instituted a travel ban prohibiting all schools from traveling to the relays. Jamaican high schools have competed at Franklin Field every year since 1964 and sent more than 30 schools to the carnival last year.
Since the government announced its decision, the NCAA has canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as well as other winter and spring sports championships, and conferences have announced there would be no spring sports competitions.
“Although the 2020 Penn Relays is more than 30 days away, the health and safety of our participants, spectators, officials, volunteers, sponsors and staff are our utmost concern,” the university said. “While the evolving situation is fluid, we remain hopeful that there will be a result which allows for a safe Penn Relays.”
The Penn Relays, the world’s oldest and largest relay competition, annually draws more than 15,000 athletes and 110,000 spectators to Franklin Field, with events involving contestants from elementary-school age to senior citizens.