Big Ten’s Covid Policy Will Disadvantage Unvaccinated Teams
The Big Ten Conference announced its COVID-19 forfeiture policy on Monday, stating that conference games would not be rescheduled if teams are unable to play on their scheduled date. This policy will certainly have major implications for the upcoming season.
“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,” the league said in a recent announcement.
According to the policy, the contest will be considered a loss for the team impacted by the virus, and a win for the opposition in conference standings. If both teams are unable to participate because of COVID-19, the game will be declared a “no contest.”
Teams fully vaccinated and prepared for the virus now have a competitive advantage in the world of college football. For competition involving three or more teams, the policy states that a team unable to participate because of COVID-19 will be given a loss and each of its opponents a win, with updated conference standings reflecting those results.
The NCAA also released updated COVID-19 guidance on Aug. 4. It said unvaccinated college athletes should be tested weekly for COVID-19, wear masks in most situations and go into quarantine if exposed to the virus. Vaccinated individuals should not be tested routinely.
The Big Ten’s announcement comes as the conference’s schedule is set to kick off Saturday, when Nebraska takes on Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.