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Covid-19 forfeit policy for SEC Conference in 2021

The biggest college football conference makes the rules for teams that have an outbreak of Covid-19, and there’s financial penalties as well.

Quarterback JT Daniels of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after a touchdown during the second half of the G-Day spring game at Sanford Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

While the Covid-19 pandemic rages on with a more ubiquitous presence across the Southeast region of the country, today the Southeastern Conference stated in no uncertain terms that there will be no wiggle room for schools that miss a college football game due to the virus.

Last year teams created rules that allowed for games to be rescheduled or missed without penalty to the school involved. But now that vaccines are available for all Americans, there will be no tolerance from the Birmingham-based conference for canceled games.

From the SEC:

In the event a team is unable to begin or complete a regular season Conference event due to the unavailability of participants (due to COVID-19, injuries or other reasons), that team will forfeit the contest and will be assigned a loss in the Conference standings. The opposing team that is ready to play will be credited with a win in the Conference standings. Both teams will be deemed to have played and completed the contest for purpose of the Conference standings.

If both teams are unable to compete due to the unavailability of participants (due to COVID-19, injuries or other reasons), both teams shall be deemed to have forfeited the game, with a loss assigned to both teams and applied to the conference standings. Both teams will be deemed to have played and completed the contest for purpose of the Conference standings.

That’s basically in-line with the stated policy of every other league such as the Big 12, who was the first to go public with their rules, and the ACC policy is very similar. But the particular emphasis on potential financial reimbursement is new.

Any direct financial loss on the part of the school that was able to play a cancelled event may be submitted for consideration for reimbursement subject to approval from the SEC Executive Committee.

So if a team can’t get a game in due to a lack of players or coaches or an outbreak of the virus, they’ll also get hit with having to pay the opposing school for the lost cash. It provides quite an incentive for schools to get as many players and staff vaccinated as possible.

Some schools are taking this even a step further, with LSU requiring vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test for all ticketholders over age 12 this season.