Pac-12 Announces Football Forfeit Policy This Season

SAN FRANCISCO – The delta variant of the Covid-19 virus is trying its best to wreak havoc on the upcoming college football season, but unlike last season, teams have vaccines available to help reduce risk of exposure.

The Pac-12 Conference announced today teams with coaches or players unwilling to be vaccinated will pay a price for their choice should it lead to a team missing a game.

“Following consultation with the Pac-12 Athletic Directors Committee, the Pac-12 has determined that its prior longstanding game forfeiture rule (set forth in 2021-22 Pac-12 Administrative Policies referenced below), that was temporarily modified for this past season due to Covid-19, shall once again be applied for this coming athletic season. 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.”

In other words, if an outbreak happens on teams that are fully vaccinated and took the required precautions, they will be treated differently than teams such as Washington State. Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich remains committed to not becoming vaccinated.

Ultimately, new commissioner George Kliavkoff will have discretion based on each team and game situation. Teams were put on notice today: they better have their Ducks in a row.

The following is from the 2021 Pac-12 Conference Handbook’s Administrative Policies:

2021-22 Pac-12 Administrative Policies: Unusual Circumstances 

  1. Unusual Circumstances.

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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If problems arise in Conference championship competition, the Conference staff member present at the event and representatives of the participating institutions shall confer to determine the course of action to be followed. No team may leave the competitive site until that course of action is identified and communicated to representatives of all participating institutions. (10/00)