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On the same day that an NFL memo was made public showing that the league can enforce forfeitures and include game checks if a game cannot take place this season, as scheduled, due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated workers, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN’s Heather Dinich that he is considering adopting a policy that includes forfeitures for canceled games.
“I’ll tell you that I tend to go back to pre-COVID rules with a team that was unable to bring enough players on the field to lose the game,” Kliavkoff said during the conversation. “Some of that is about the financial implications and who is carrying that. We read with interest Commissioner’s notes [Roger] Goodell told the NFL teams that they will consider it a forfeit and financially punish the team that cannot play. I don’t know if we end up there or not, but that’s where we’re leaning towards. We are not going to make decisions without input from the ADs and football coaches.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Monday that his league will not reschedule games due to coronavirus-related absences or other setbacks. “And so, to get off the game, the word ‘forfeit’ comes up at this point,” Sankey added at the time.
ACC commissioner Jim Phillips and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren both explained this week that those leagues are unlikely to confirm procedures for handling potential football postponements and cancellations until next month. Kliavkoff takes a similar approach.
“We’re not going to make a decision until August because with the delta variant out there, you never know how things will change, not even in the coming weeks,” Kliavkoff said. “We don’t benefit from making a decision earlier, so we wait with that decision.”
On Wednesday, Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich announced that he will participate in the Pac-12 media day remotely on Tuesday because he has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The conference requires all in-person participants to be fully vaccinated.
Later on Wednesday, Washington State President Kirk Schulz appeared to send a strong message via a tweet and a prepared statement:
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