The Big Ten isn’t playing any games with their teams this season.
After months of a readily available COVID vaccine, the conference is not cutting these programs much slack when it comes to viral outbreaks.
The conference announced on Monday that teams that are unable to play conference matchups due to COVID will be forced to forfeit games. The conference also said that if both teams are having COVID issues then the game will be ruled as a no-contest.
In July, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said that the majority of his players were vaccinated.
Indiana’s team is 90 percent vaccinated, according to head coach Tom Allen. Other teams like Purdue, Maryland, Northwestern, and Illinois were all hovering around the 90 percent mark as well.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said the Hawkeyes were 70 percent vaccinated in late July. That number has likely increased since the beginning of fall practice.
The Big Ten’s newly implemented policy is something that the SEC has also flirted with, and similarly to the programs up north, players across many SEC programs are mostly vaccinated.
This is another approach taken by some of the highest powers in college football to get players and faculty vaccinated against this virus so they can ensure that play will resume this academic year.
It’s easy to conclude that they are only doing this for money and players’ safety is just secondary in the decisions these conferences are making. But honestly, I don’t care at this point as long as these young players are being protected against this virus that continues to put people in hospitals and coffins. If getting money has to be the motivation for protecting faculty and players then so be it.
Every conference should follow suit and take an additional step in keeping as many people safe as they possibly can.
The increased pressure from these conferences will result in a safer playing environment for athletes.