Big Ten Football will require teams with COVID-19 outbreaks to forfeit instead of reschedule games

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – DECEMBER 19: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

ROSEMONT, Ill. (NewsNation Now) — Big Ten Football announced it will not allow games to be rescheduled if a team is impacted by COVID-19, a change to the way sports teams navigated playing during the pandemic.

The organization’s new policy will be that if one member institution is unable to play due to COVID-19, the game will be considered forfeit and a win for the other team. It will also impact official conference standings.

If both teams have an outbreak, then the game will be considered no contest.

The Big Ten Football Network which includes Penn State, Illinois, Michigan State and Rutgers, dealt with case outbreaks and games being canceled as teams attempted to navigate the pandemic.

Multiple games were canceled during last season due to COVID-19 outbreaks on the team. At least 15 players and 12 staffers on the Wisconsin team alone tested positive in a November 2020 outbreak.

Last year, the Big Ten season began in October after being delayed initially in August. The tightened season had teams each play eight games and all opponents were other Big Ten members.

Eight universities including Maryland, Michigan State and Northwestern are conference members with vaccine mandates. The remaining five do not.

This year’s Big Ten season is expected to kick off on Aug. 27 with Nebraska taking on Illinois.


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