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Covid-19 forfeit policy for Big Ten Conference in 2021

After last year’s controversies and outbreaks, the rules for teams regarding the virus this season have been established.

The Big Ten Conference logo is seen on the field during the Big Ten Football Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Big Ten is the latest FBS football conference to have a no-tolerance policy for schools that are forced to miss games due to COVID-19 in 2021.

Today the league announced that teams which miss games and are “unable to play a conference contest due to COVID-19, that contest shall be declared a forfeit and will not be rescheduled.”

Last season’s league-only slate of games had several teams miss extended time due to the pandemic, including signature games such as Michigan vs. Ohio State to end the season. While the Buckeyes were the No. 1 team in the league and the conference champion, they were just 5-0 with three games missed due to the virus.

The Big 12 was first out with their policies, and the ACC’s rules were very similar.

While it’s much less likely as vaccination rate rise that teams won’t have the depth at a position where player safety is involved (offensive line, particularly), it’s still a rule that could be implemented at any time, and one to be aware of as the season progresses.