Big Ten: Teams unable to play a 2021-22 game due to COVID-19 must forfeit and cannot reschedule

With several sports about to commence, the Big Ten has finally announced its policy for teams that cannot play a game due to COVID-19.

The league announced on Monday morning teams that cannot play a game due to COVID-19 must forfeit the contest and such games will not be rescheduled.  The rule applies to all sports for the 2021-22 athletic year and is similar to the approach being used by other major conferences.

“The conference has determined that if one of its member institutions is unable to play a conference contest due to COVID-19, that contest shall be declared a forfeit and will not be rescheduled,” the Big Ten said in a release.  “That contest shall be considered a loss for the team impacted by COVID-19 and a win for its opponent in the conference standings. If both of the two competing teams are unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and as a result the competition is unable to occur on the calendar day on which it is scheduled, the competition shall be considered a “no contest.”

In one notable case the Big Ten established rules in 2020 related to COVID-19 that it ultimately reversed.  The league established a minimum games played requirement that would have prevented Ohio State from participating in the Big Ten football championship game but later eliminated the rule to allow the undefeated Buckeyes the chance to represent the Big Ten East in that contest.  The new guidance is labeled interim guidance, which could mean that subsequent judgment calls similar to that 2020 decision could be made.

Here is the complete 2021-22 Big Ten conference forfeiture policy.

2021-22 BIG TEN CONFERENCE FORFEITURE POLICY

Interim Guidance for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

(Adopted and effective from 8/20/21 until rescinded by the Administrators Council.)

Competition Involving Two Teams. If a team is unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and as a result the competition is unable to occur on the calendar day on which it is scheduled, the competition shall be considered a forfeit by the team unable to participate and shall not be rescheduled. In such case, the team unable to participate shall be assessed a “loss,” its opponent a “win,” and Conference standings shall be adjusted accordingly.

Competition Involving Two Teams. If both of the two competing teams are unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and as a result the competition is unable to occur on the calendar day on which it is scheduled, and is unable to be rescheduled, the competition shall be considered a “no contest.”

Competition Involving Three or More Teams. If a team is unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and team performance in the competition impacts Conference standings, a team unable to participate due to COVID-19 will be considered to have forfeited the competition. In such case, a team unable to participate shall be assessed a “loss,” each of its opponents a “win,” and Conference standings shall be adjusted accordingly. If team performance in the competition does not impact Conference standings and/or the involved sport is one in which there are no Conference standings, no further action shall be taken.


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