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Big Ten announces forfeit policy for 2021-2022

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How COVID-19 impacts the year ahead remains to be seen but the conference announced how it will proceed.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Conference Media Days Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Just days away from the first Big Ten meeting between member schools with Illinois hosting Nebraska on Saturday, the conference announced its forfeiture policy for the 2021-2022 athletic year. With COVID-19 continuing to disrupt normal life around the world, the Big Ten announced how it will handle potential issues with teams being impacted and unable to play any games during the season.

Here is the full statement issued by the Big Ten on Monday:

“In collaboration and communication with the Big Ten Conference Athletic Directors, Chancellors and Presidents, the Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the Sports Medicine Committee – effective today – 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. 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.”

The PAC-12 announced a similar policy last week.

A key part of the Big Ten policy is that conference games would not be rescheduled if they are unable to be played on their scheduled date. Also, wins and losses applied by forfeit do count towards the conference standings.

In addition, the policy states that any competition involving three or more teams, a team unable to participate because of COVID-19 will be given a loss and each of its opponents a win. The policy adds that 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 action will be taken. This part of the policy could be utilized during multiple team meets in sports such as cross country, gymnastics, wrestling and rowing.

No criteria for what determines whether a team is able to play or not is mentioned in the policy.

Another important note is that wins and losses via forfeit are not counted as official by the NCAA.

For the complete policy, click here.

Rutgers, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State and Michigan are requiring students to be vaccinated this school year while the other five Big Ten schools do not.

The first conference game in any sport kicks off this Saturday, August 27 with Illinois hosting Nebraska in football.