Big Ten updates policy on COVID-19 forfeitures

Staff Reports
The Columbus Dispatch
Commissioner Kevin Warren and the Big Ten Conference today announced an updated policy on COVID-19 forfeitures.

With an increasing number of COVID-19 cases nationwide, the Big Ten has updated its policy on games that cannot be played as originally scheduled due to the virus. 

In short, all options are on the table. Those competitions may be rescheduled or declared a no contest or a forfeiture, depending on a review by the conference office.

“The well-being of our student-athletes and our entire athletic communities is our top priority and we are updating our forfeiture policy to support their health and safety as well as the integrity of conference competition," wrote commissioner Kevin Warren in a statement. 

The release also said that the forfeiture policy applies to all remaining 2021-22 conference contests across all sponsored sports, effective immediately.

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The conference office will be responsible for rescheduling competitions postponed due to COVID-19. Postponed competitions that do not result in forfeiture but are unable to be rescheduled will be declared no contests.

In men's and women's basketball, there will be a baseline of having seven scholarship student-athletes and at least one countable coach available, but teams may decide to play even if they are below those numbers. And they will not necessarily forfeit if they are above those numbers, so long as they can demonstrate to the league that playing the game would be unsafe.

Ohio State men's basketball is 2-0 in Big Ten play with a tipoff at Nebraska scheduled for Sunday at 8 p.m. OSU has had its last three games canceled by COVID-19, and the last time the team was on the court was in a 73-55 victory over Wisconsin Dec. 11. 

The Buckeye women are 1-1 in the league, have had one game shelved this year — a Dec. 19 contest against UCLA — and they are scheduled to face Michigan in a road game Friday at noon. 

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