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Big Ten Teams Will Forfeit Games If They Can't Field A Squad Due To COVID-19

Indiana head football coach Tom Allen.

Indiana coach Tom Allen watches over practice outside Memorial Stadium last week. (Indiana University Athletics)

08-23-2021 IU FOOTBALL PAT BEANE  

 

Getting athletes vaccinated could be a competitive advantage in the Big Ten this year. 

The conference announced Monday if one university is unable to play a conference game due to COVID-19, the game will be declared a forfeit and 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,” the league said in a press release. 

At the Big Ten Media Days in late July, Indiana coach Tom Allen said more than 90 percent of the team had been vaccinated.  

“I would have been surprised if we didn’t come up with this policy as a conference,” Allen said Monday. “At the end of the day, it’s become a variable in the preparation process that two years ago, we never even though about anything like this.

“Obviously, last year was what it was, and now this year, it continues to be a variable.”

Allen said teams have to have 74 players on the roster for road games in the conference and making sure the Hoosiers hit that number is a “big deal.”

Because the option of not having enough players could go in the loss column.

“I want to do everything we can to keep our team healthy,” Allen said. The fifth-year coach said this summer he had been vaccinated.

Indiana postponed, then cancelled its final regular season game last year against Purdue as both teams were experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19. 

This year, if both schools are unable to participate, the game will be considered a “no contest.” 

The policy applies to all Big Ten sports. 

Nebraska plays at Illinois in the Big Ten football opener Saturday. Indiana opens its season next Saturday at Iowa. 

At Indiana, vaccinated students and staff are not subjected to COVID-19 testing, but unvaccinated ones are tested weekly. 

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