Credit - Big Ten Conference

Big Ten in the process of changing its forfeiture policy for winter sports

As it stands, Big Ten teams who cannot play league games due COVID-19 are forced to forfeit the contest and take a loss.

With the efficacy of vaccines on the decline and new variants more transmissible, the conference announced on Wednesday it is reconsidering that policy.

“The Big Ten Conference is in the process of evaluating its 2021-22 Forfeiture Policy for conference contests, including whether a contest should automatically be considered a forfeit,” Big Ten Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Borchers said on Wednesday in a release.

“The health, safety, and well-being of our student-athletes and our campus communities is our top priority. We will continue to work diligently and collaboratively with the Big Ten Conference Administrators Council, Chancellors and Presidents, the Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the Sports Medicine Committee to determine next steps.”

The Big Ten is widely expected to change its policy and allow for games to be rescheduled with certain caveats.

Other leagues have already made the move.

In the ACC, games that cannot be played will now be rescheduled if possible. If those games can’t be rescheduled, they will be considered a “no contest” that doesn’t affect a team’s record. Additionally, men’s and women’s teams must have a minimum of seven available players and one coach to play a game. If a team elects not to play despite having that available number, the game would then be considered a forfeit.

Similar rules have been adopted in the Big 12.

Last week The Daily Hoosier asked Trayce Jackson-Davis if the Big Ten should change its forfeit policy in light of the changing conditions.

“I don’t really think it’s necessarily fair for us to cancel or forfeit if we have the boosters and we’re trying to do everything to not get the virus and it just happens,” Jackson-Davis said.

Big Ten league play resumes on Jan. 2.  No games have been forfeited to this point.

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