The Big 12 won’t be rescheduling games for teams who are unable to play due to COVID-19 cases this season. 

The conference announced its updated forfeiture policy on Tuesday (August 17), according to Sports Illustrated. The policy states that if a conference game is cancelled because there aren’t enough players to participate, whether it’s due to positive COVID-19 cases or any other reason, the team will automatically forfeit the game. 

A statement from the Big 12 says that teams can forfeit at any time prior to the completion of a game. In the case of both teams being unable to compete, a No Contest will be declared: 

In the case where both teams are unable to compete, a No Contest would be declared and, if needed, an unbalanced tiebreaker would be used to determine conference championship participants in football or championship seeding in other sports. The Big 12 Commissioner retains discretion to declare a No Contest if extraordinary circumstances warrant.

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During Big 12 Media Days in July, commissioner Bob Bowlsby urged all players to get vaccinated, saying it is shortsighted to not get vaccinated, especially with the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus going around the country. 

The commissioner is clearly sending a message with the new forfeiture policy. He told Sports Illustrated at least 75% of the athletes were vaccinated in most programs in the conference. 

The new policy may be the measure that will push all programs to be fully vaccinated.

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