ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Pac-12 announces COVID-19 cases could lead to forfeitures

Aug 12, 2021, 9:26 AM

The Pac-12 Conference announced Thursday that its loosened forfeiture rules changed during the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2020-21 school year will no longer apply.

Reverting back to the pre-pandemic policies could lead teams to take losses if they are not able to field a roster for a game.

In 2020, games were either canceled with no change to either teams’ record or rescheduled due to positive coronavirus tests hitting players and staff.

“Following consultation with the Pac-12 Athletic Directors Committee, the Pac-12 has determined that its prior longstanding game forfeiture rule, that was temporarily modified for this past season due to COVID-19, shall once again be applied for this coming athletic season,” the conference’s statement read.

“In accordance with that rule, if an institution is unable to play a contest through its own fault, it shall forfeit such contest to its opponent. Any forfeited contest shall be regarded as a conference loss for the team making the forfeit and a conference win for its opponent. The Pac-12 rule provides the Commissioner with discretion to determine whether an institution is at fault or primarily at fault for an inability to play a contest based on the facts of the situation.”

New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff indicated in a July interview with ESPN that the conference was considering penalizing teams for not being able to compete due to COVID-19 reasons.

“I will tell you that I’m leaning towards going back to the pre-COVID rules that had a team that was not able to field enough players to forfeit the game,” Kliavkoff said. “Part of that is around the financial implications and who bears that.

“We read with interest the notes from Commissioner [Roger] Goodell to the NFL teams that they’re going to treat it as a forfeit and financially penalize the team that is unable to play. I don’t know if we end up there or not, but that’s where we’re leaning. We’re not going to make any decisions without input from the ADs and football coaches.”

The Pac-12’s formal policy about unusual circumstances impacting a game being played, rescheduled, canceled or forfeited reads as follows:

If problems arise regarding any Conference regular-season competition (e.g., transportation, facility, equipment, officials), the following procedures shall be followed: (10/00)

  • a) When the problem is recognized, the appropriate administrative representatives from the participating athletics departments shall communicate immediately and work toward a mutual agreement.
  • b) If the athletics administrators from the participating institutions cannot resolve the problem, the Conference office shall be contacted for assistance. Until the Conference office has been notified and a solution has been achieved, the two teams shall remain at the competitive site. If the matter cannot be adjudicated, the Commissioner shall rule on the matter with the primary goal to be the maintenance of competitive equity among all Conference members.
  • c) Under step b, if the Commissioner determines that one of the institutions is at fault or primarily at fault and an immediate decision is necessary, the Commissioner may direct that it forfeit the contest(s) to its opponent(s).
  • d) If an institution’s representatives do not abide by a decision of the Conference Commissioner, such action may be grounds for forfeiture of a contest(s).
  • e) A written report of the incident shall be submitted to the Conference office within five days by representatives of the participating institutions, subsequent to the resolution of the problem (through steps a and b). This report shall state all relevant facts pertaining to the incident and the decisions made. The Commissioner shall forward those reports plus his own written report and decision to the appropriate Administrative Committee for review per step f.
  • f) The forfeiture (declared by the Commissioner) of any contest shall be reviewed by the appropriate Administrative Committee. (A two-thirds majority vote will be required to reverse the Commissioner’s decision.) Any apparent violation of Conference regulations shall be referred to the Compliance and Enforcement Committee for its review.
  • g) Any forfeited contest shall be regarded as a loss for the team making the forfeit and a win for its opponent. (12/86)

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