SEC teams that are unable to play in a match due to COVID-19, injuries or other reasons will lose and lose in the conference standings, while the opponent ready to play gets a win, the conference announced on Monday.
If both teams cannot play due to COVID-19 or other reasons, they will have to retire and each team will lose in the conference standings. Commissioner Greg Sankey may declare a “no contest for any event if extraordinary circumstances warrant it,” a press release said. If necessary, tiebreaker procedures will apply to determine the conference championship match and the division winners.
If a playable school incurs an “immediate financial loss” from a cancellation, it can file a refund request for consideration by the SEC’s executive committee.
The SEC was the last Power 5 conference to announce its forfeiture policy after a 2020 season that was continually disrupted by cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the highly contagious delta variant remains a concern, the majority of FBS commissioners have chosen to use the lump sum rule as a way to encourage teams to get vaccinated.
The Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, Mountain West Conference and American Athletic Conference have also determined that if a team cannot play a game because of COVID-19, they will lose the game and not be rescheduled.
The Pac-12 is similar, with a bit of nuance in the wording. Rather than directly referencing COVID-19 as the reason a team could not play and be forced to lose, the Pac-12 rule states: “If an institution is, through its own fault, unable to to play a match, it shall forfeit such a match to his opponent.”
The rule gives Commissioner George Kliavkoff the freedom to determine, based on the facts of the situation, “whether an institution is guilty or primarily guilty of inability to play a match.”
If both teams in the Big Ten and Big 12 are unable to play due to COVID-19, it will be declared a no-contest. The ACC is like the SEC, where both teams have to retire and take a loss in the conference standings if they can’t play because of COVID-19.