Big Ten: COVID-19-related game cancellations in 2021-22 will not be rescheduled, will be ruled forfeits or 'no contests'

The Big Ten conference announced its COVID-19 forfeiture policy Monday, saying that conference games would not be rescheduled if they are unable to be played on their scheduled date.

In a statement, the Big Ten said, "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."

According to the policy, the contest would then 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, it would be declared a "no contest."

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 policy also says that if team performance in the competition does not impact conference standings and/or the involved sport is one in which there are no conference standings, no action will be taken.

The NCAA 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 be quarantined if exposed to the virus, while 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.