The Big 12 Conference on Tuesday announced a big change for the 2021 football season related to its threshold policy. The change, which differs from last season on cancelations and forfeitures, sets a standard that might ultimately incentivize inoculations because of the repercussions of not having enough players.
For conference games, a team that does not have enough student-athletes to compete (due to COVID-19 or for any reason) will be required to forfeit the game and be handed a loss. The opponent will be credited with a win. Both teams will be deemed to have played the game for conference standing purposes.
Should both teams be unable to compete, a No Contest would be declared. If needed, an unbalanced tiebreaker would be used to determine league championship participants.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has the discretion to declare a No Contest if extraordinary circumstances warrant it.
The policy differs from last year to this year. Last year there was a shortened schedule and flexibility if teams did not meet the threshold, allowing for potential disruptions via postponements and rescheduling. OSU last season had to deal with that early in the season after Baylor had an outbreak, forcing it into an awkward two-week-long bye during the season.
OSU should be in good shape this season to avoid any forfeitures. About 83% of the team is fully vaccinated, Mike Gundy said last week.
“I want to get as many players vaccinated as we can get to protect the team and other people,” said Gundy. “We want to educate them and give them quality information and then allow them to make a decision based on what they think is best for them, their family, friends and our team.”
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