Big Ten updates forfeit rules, Illini football will have all but three double vaccinated before season opener

Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Big Ten released its updated COVID-19 forfeit policy on Monday and it looks a whole lot different than it did last season. Any team that is unable to play a conference game due to COVID-19 will be forced to forfeit. It will be up to the team to decide whether it’s able to take the field or court for competition, depending on its number of eligible healthy players. If a team can’t go, it will be a loss on their record, there will also no longer be rescheduled contests. If both teams are unable to participate, the game will be ruled a no contest.

(Adopted and effective from 8/20/21 until rescinded by the Administrators Council.)

  1. Competition Involving Two Teams.  If a team is unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and as a result the competition is unable to occur on the calendar day on which it is scheduled, the competition shall be considered a forfeit by the team unable to participate and shall not be rescheduled.  In such case, the team unable to participate shall be assessed a “loss,” its opponent a “win,” and Conference standings shall be adjusted accordingly.
     
  2. Competition Involving Two Teams.  If both of the two competing teams are unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and as a result the competition is unable to occur on the calendar day on which it is scheduled, and is unable to be rescheduled, the competition shall be considered a “no contest.”
     
  3. Competition Involving Three or More Teams.  If a team is unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and team performance in the competition impacts Conference standings, a team unable to participate due to COVID-19 will be considered to have forfeited the competition.  In such case, a team unable to participate shall be assessed a “loss,” each of its opponents a “win,” and Conference standings shall be adjusted accordingly.  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 further action shall be taken

Illinois football coach Bret Bielema announced on Monday all but three of his players will be completely vaccinated before Saturday’s season opener against Nebraska in a nationally televised noon game on FOX. Of those three players, none are on the two-deep, meaning the first or second string.

“You know if we protect one another and I think we have been trying to sell that to our guys, I think that’s why you saw so many of our guys get vaccinated, obviously they are trying to protect themselves but they are trying to protect their teammates and also if they’re a starter and they can’t be out there that’s 10 other guys they let down on the field but also an entire sideline,” Bielema said. “I couldn’t be more pleased to come in last year and realize they had no games canceled due to COVID when everybody else was and then as an athletic department to have no contests canceled due to COVID, it just speaks volumes as to what this place is all about.”

The Bret Bielema officially begins in earnest Saturday with the first game. After getting hired in December, it’s been an eventful year putting in new schemes and revamping the roster.

“We’ve had a really good camp, the kids have worked their tails off,” Illinois offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said. “Taking them from what we did in the spring and then into the summer and now into fall camp. And now its time to go out there and get out on the field on a Saturday and see what we can do.”

“I’m excited for the guys you know, see them just go out and compete and have fun doing so in front of a crowd,” Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said. “To kickoff this season I’m excited for them, for them to be in that moment.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.