Explaining All The COVID-19 Regulations
All of the NCAA’s major conferences’ COVID-19 policies were formally released after the Big Ten announced theirs. Said protocols almost match those the NCAA put out early this month. A team that is unable to field a team due to the virus will forfeit that game. This means said school will be credited with a loss on their season record. Their opponent who could do so will be given a win for that game. If both schools are incapable of fielding a team, it will result in a no-contest. This means that neither team will receive a win or loss. That game will not be rescheduled. It will essentially be like the game never occurred.
The only conference that goes against this is the ACC. Both teams would receive a loss if this were to occur during conference play according to their policy. This goes against the Big 12, Pac-12 as well as the SEC’s regulations. All of which are almost identical to the Big Ten and the NCAA’s in this regard.
Things get a bit more detailed when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination status. Team personnel who receive the shot, in general, will be much better off. Those players will not need to be tested regularly for the virus. They will also not need to be quarantined should they be in close contact with someone who tests positive. Things will be much more regulated for those who elect not to get the vaccine. They may be subject to getting tested for COVID-19 up to three times a week. Those will also need to be isolated in certain situations. That is not all though. They must also wear masks during any team activity while not wearing a helmet, eating, or drinking.
Implications COVID-19 Might Have on College Football Playoffs
The COVID-19 policies will not just affect conference championships. Those will potentially have massive impacts on the College Football Playoffs. Only four teams make it into this bracket each year in its current layout. There is already a lot of criticism for the picking of the schools that get in. Adding in some new variables will only put more pressure on the committee to get the teams right. There have been talks about expanding the playoffs to more teams in the past. Those discussions have reportedly stalled recently. The reason for this delay is the Rose Bowl. That game has been played on the same date for over a century. It would be a major blow to the bigger playoff model if this were to remain the same.
There is another potential issue with this coming year as well. Let us say that Ohio State was forced to forfeit a game during its conference schedule. That contest ends up being against Penn State who ends up going undefeated the entire season. The Buckeyes would then be ineligible for the championship game. The teams are in the same division of the Big Ten and only one team from each gets to play for the title. The selection committee would be put in a bind in that situation. Should they put in Ohio State since they were unquestionably better than the Nittany Lions? The conference had to make adjustments last year just to make the Buckeyes eligible for the game. They could also stay true to the rules and leave them out of the championship. This would upset fans no matter what the decision is on the scenario.
The Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC Alliance Impact on COVID-19
A new alliance between three conferences was announced earlier today. The Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC have reportedly agreed to work together to navigate the evolving NCAA landscape. The agreement will allow the conference a chance to collaborate on academics as well as athletics. This would allow them to schedule non-conference games between them. Spokesmen for the alliance said this is not a reaction to the new SEC expansion. It is simply aligning colleges with shared core values. The timing could have been a little better if this is true, but I support collaboration in any academic or athletic environment.
One thing I did not like about this agreement is the exclusion of the Big 12. This all but guarantees the conference will have less impact after Oklahoma and Texas leave. It would take a minor miracle to save the struggling Big 12 at this point.
It is unclear if this will affect the conferences’ COVID-19 policies. This would be highly unlikely. The college football season is right around the corner. This leaves extremely little time for adjustments prior to its start. Maybe as the situation evolves with the virus they can work together to adjust their policies. This of course will be tough as state and local regulations might get in the way for changes to happen.
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